You may be wondering how this is, in any way shape or form, the match made in heaven that it has turned out to be. Leave it to the daring chocolate mixologists at Vosges Haut-Chocolate to come through again with the Collezione Italiana. Featuring five exotic truffles that showcase ingredients that are Italian in origin and customary use, the collection is a surprise masterpiece. The most impressive of the selection are the truffles whose flavors morph during their time in your mouth. I mean that completely literally. The Balsamico (which features 12-year aged Balsamic vinegar, dark chocolate and sprinkled with Scicillian hazelnuts) starts off crunchy and nutty, then becomes fruity and rich with chocolate and finishes off with the slightly sour balsamic vinegar. The Rooster (Taleggio cheese, organic walnuts, Tahitian vanilla bean and bittersweet dark chocolate) is similar, although the experience begins with the bitter, creamy chocolate with the hint of vanilla, and finishes with the fruity cheese and smooth, buttery taste of walnuts.
Our least favorites of the collection were the Polline di Finocchio (Wild Tuscan fennel pollen with dark chocolate) simply because the fennel was overwhelming and the Olio d’Oliva (First press extra virgin olive oil with white chocolate and topped with dried kalamata olives) simply because white chocolate is not my favorite sweet. The Sale del Mare with Sicilian sea salt caramel, milk chocolate and a pine nut is a classic, well done confection.
Overall the collection is an exercise in mind-opening when it comes to chocolate pairings. There is a small booklet that comes with the collection that has tasting recommendations, and what to pair the chocolate with. Be sure to restrain yourself and read the book before you begin tasting, to decide whether you want the “full” experience.