One of my favorite things about visits with my best friend is that she is an amazing shopping partner. I can’t say perfect because she always wants to spend just a little more time in any store than I do. Since she moved to a smallish town in Georgia four years ago, her shopping choices have been somewhat limited, so every time she comes to visit, we spend hours shopping. Trips to Anthropologie, her favorite store, can be a bit brutal because she looks at EVERY SINGLE ITEM in the store. Sometimes twice. She also tries on just about everything she looks at because she knows it will be 6 months to a year until she’ll get to do it again.
These shopping trips also mean trips to fun little local places for homemade jewelry, quirky cards and posters and general oddities found a bit off the beaten path. It was during one of these fun side trips to Homespun on her recent visit that we had a chance not only to pick up fake pixelated Harry Potter pins and really cool Wonder Woman style wristlets with tigers on them, but also a glance into another local store with handmade wares: The Best Chocolate in Town.
Since we had time to kill and a need not only to satisfy our sweet tooths, but also to bribe my children who had to come on this retail excursion with us, we skipped across the street for a taste (or a dozen).
I’ve been to TBCiT before. Now, I think the name is a bit of a misnomer. I’ve had far better chocolate in this town. However, they are a local chocolate shop that also promotes other local small businesses like Lick ice cream and Gelato Da Vinci, so I think it is important to support them as well. It didn’t hurt that not only could I get a dozen interesting truffles (there are about 50 truffle flavors at the store), but my best friend and I could also get some amazing lemon curd gingersnap ice cream to split after the kids went to bed.
Although I did get the lovely package of 12 truffles featured in the picture at the top of this post, for this review I decided to focus on the four truffles from their seasonal collection. Their seasonal collection seems to be quite spicy since it includes chai tea, raspberry hibiscus, ginger wasabi, barbeque, dreamsicle, strawberry rhubarb, cherry chipotle and buffalo flavored truffles. I decided on two spicy and two sweet.
These truffles are fairly big. They are about double the size of the average Godiva truffle. There is no way to eat this big boys in a single bite (not that I can really do that with Godiva either, but I’ve seen it done). In fact, unlike other truffle companies, the idea of eating more than one in a sitting is a bit daunting.
First up for me was the buffalo truffle. I am still not sure what drew me to this one. I think it really had to be the shear oddity of someone deciding to pair any sort of buffalo flavor with chocolate. Sure, I’ve had chocolate and chilies before, but chocolate and hot wings? That’s, well, strange. However, I simply adore nearly everything buffalo flavored. Aside from hot wings themselves, my favorite road trip food would have to be Blue Buffalo Combos. I also greatly enjoy a variety of buffalo flavored chips and crackers. So this truffle had to be right up my alley, right? No…no it wasn’t. I really liked the the look of the candy. The sprinkling of chili powder on the top was cute. I even really like that the inside of this piece has a slight orange color to it. Visually it gives me the idea of hot wings dipped in blue cheese. But, once it hit my palette, it was just too sweet. There was no real spicy punch to it. The white chocolate was artificially sweet in a way I do not appreciate. I couldn’t finish it so I gave the second half to my kids. My daughter liked it, but my son thought it was just ok.
I had slightly higher hopes for my second truffle: chai tea. Chai happens to be my absolute favorite drink to get at any coffee shop. Since it generally has a spicy pumpkin flavor to it, it usually blends well with chocolate. I’ve had few chai chocolate combos I have not enjoyed. The cinnamon powder on the top of the truffle is strong and spicy. The chocolate inside is creamy and has just a slight hint of cinnamon and cardamom. It’s not overpowering in any way, just sweet, simply and pretty good. I also shared this one, not because I didn’t want it, but because after offering them half of the buffalo truffle, they were now circling me like vultures, just hoping for some scraps. My son said this one was “way better.” My daughter just said, “yum!”
I’m a “save the best for last” kinda gal, so the third truffle I tried in this seasonal collection was the cherry chipotle. Much like the buffalo truffle, I was hesitant on this one. One one hand, I ADORE just about anything cherry. On the other, I have been burned by chili in chocolate before. Yeah, yeah, I know, bad pun. But, I loved the jaunty little dried cherry on top of this piece, so I had to try it. Unlike the buffalo truffle, this one did not really have an overly sweet flavor to it. Also unlike the buffalo truffle, I could feel a bit of heat in this one. Right at the back of my throat I got the taste of chili. A teeny, tiny bit of burn. On the first bite, however, I didn’t get much cherry, which was a disappointment. However, the second bite, which was pure truffle filling did have a slightly, sweet, slightly tart taste of cherry to it. The chili was still the dominant flavor, but there was far more balance to this piece. The more bites I took, and it did take me five bites to finish (granted, one was VERY small), the more the spice built and the more I liked it. One is definitely my limit though…that burns stays with you!
My last truffle was also a white chocolate one, which given the overly sweet nature of the buffalo truffle had me concerned. However, I love the tartness that usually accompanies anything strawberry rhubarb, so I risked it. I first fell in love with strawberry rhubarb pie when I was 10. My aunt and uncle were part of the local farmer’s grange association and had volunteered to work in their food building. That’s right, the grange was such a part of the fair that they had their own, permanent building to sell food from. I was allowed to eat anything I wanted, so I grabbed a piece of strawberry rhubarb pie. A culinary friendship was formed.
This particular version of one of my favorites has a really thick white chocolate shell and white chocolate is the only taste I got on my first bite. It was a slightly less sweet, far creamier taste than my buffalo truffle, so I didn’t mind too much. The center was mildly sweet, but lacked the tart rhubarb usually provides. Honestly, the biggest taste with this truffle was the very, very thick white chocolate base. I actually took the picture of the truffle upside down just so you could see how thick the white chocolate is. Sadly, this was a disappointing truffle.
Value: 5/10 (at $2.25 a truffle, they are only a little more expensive than Godiva, but there’s about twice as much truffle).