donna toscana balsamic truffle. photo courtesy of donna & company.
|vanilla grapefruit truffle. photo courtesy of donna & company.|
During our visit, Diane urged me to try myriad exotic chocolates and caramels. I had never experienced any of these combinations of flavor- mini flavor revolutions. From the Donna Toscana line, I tested the classic Olive Oil and Sea Salt Truffle, the Balsamic Truffle and the Red Raspberry Wine Truffle.
I ate a Carrot Cake Truffle that blew my mind. (Truly. And these are not chemically-induced flavors. Diane infuses the cream center with pure organic carrot juice, raisins, toasted walnut, and cinnamon.)
We tasted a new bite Diane concocted for her seasonal Valentine's Day chocolate mix, a Vanilla Grapefruit Truffle. At the center of the milk chocolate heart lies a combination of white chocolate and heavy cream infused with vanilla bean, fresh grapefruit juice, and a splash of bitter Campari.
cocoabee blood orange and almond caramel. photo courtesy of donna & company.
The CocoaBee line consists of chocolate-covered caramels that employ honey from New Jersey apiaries rather than corn syrup. I taste-tested the Blood Orange and Almond Honey Caramel and it constituted one of those rare flavor epiphanies. The honey gives such a warm depth to the caramel and the layers hit your tongue one at a time, each stealing the spotlight from the last element. First you are struck by the rich honey, then the buttery caramel, and then tendrils of the blood orange infused through the caramel begin to drift to the fore. Finally, you bite down on a solitary almond at the center of the bonbon, bringing the entire piece together with a resounding crunch.
fundamental chocolate line. photo courtesy of donna & company.
Diane's third and newest line is called Fundamental. Based on the paleo-diet, Diane is going into uncharted territory here with chocolate made of three simple ingredients and nothing else. She uses organic cocoa butter, organic cacao from South America, and gathers honey from local apiaries. That's it. The chocolate recipe is that simple, but the process is a trade secret. There's Simply Chocolate as well as the portioned chocolate slabs with additional dried raspberries or pistachio and sea salt on top. They're all good although I was partial to the Real Raspberry variety. The unsweetened raspberry provides the perfect kiss of tartness to the bite. This is really smooth decadent chocolate and it melts so quickly in your mouth it feels more like a fudge than solid chocolate bar.