Friday, January 8, 2010

derry church artisan chocolates

Derry Church Chocolates
Sampling a collection of Chef Eric Cayton stunning creations posed a tantalizing chocollectual dilemma: is chocolate greatness achieved by height of taste, balance of flavor, or richness of texture?

Rome, a cappuccino and milk chocolate truffle, started the discussion. Initially, savor the rich espresso flavor—Ah, TASTE! Then, subtly, the creamy white chocolate mousse cap adds depth and BALANCE, and you pause, enjoying—you guessed it—a combination of superb TEXTURES which suspend the experience in your mouth. And so it is with each Derry Church Artisan Chocolate.

But Cayton is clearly not afraid to take chances! Take for example the Palermo truffle, which features lemon juice, Italian Limoncello liqueur, bittersweet chocolate and white chocolate ganache, topped with thin roasted almonds. Can you imagine? It’s marvelous! And sure to extend your flavor universe.

We also thoroughly enjoyed Cairo, the result of smooth medjool date paste meeting aged balsamic vinegar reduction in a bittersweet chocolate ganache. This is not your standard truffle. Rather, it is a delicacy which makes one wonder what they just experienced. Was that for real? Did I just taste dates and vinegar and chocolate and love it? I did!

And then there are also the (almost) traditional chocolates. Caramel lovers will swoon over the Derry Church as we did. London presents crisp butter toffee underneath a crust of roasted and crushed almonds. Dublin mixes Bailey’s Irish Crème, Arabica coffee, and milk chocolate ganache. Each of these borders on mainstream, but somehow accomplishes just that much more than you expect. Why? We suspect it’s because Chef Cayton gets it. Taste, balance, and texture!

Derry Church ChocolatesWe end our journey with a few of the most creative and provocative chocolates you will find anywhere. New Orleans will captivate, as it offers Bananas Foster ganache (fresh banana puree, brown sugar rum sauce, a splash of cinnamon) with two chocolates. Forget about it! This is greatness! San Francisco proves that Mother Nature can participate in the Derry Church adventure very well, thank you: think Northern California Black Mission figs, organic molasses, roasted walnuts, bittersweet chocolate and bittersweet chocolate ganache topped with sugar crystals. And Savannah may have won our Blue Ribbon, combining peach jam in white chocolate ganache inside a bittersweet cup, topped with toasted oat/brown sugar, cinnamon crisp, and a drizzle of white chocolate.

After tasting so many of these chocolates, it did not surprise that Mr. Cayton has chosen only the finest ingredients, sourced from around the world, and fresh local butter and cream, for his creations. What did surprise was how marvelously each works together, without a hint of gratuitousness or pretense. The result is some of the most distinctive chocolate treats that we know of, which we intend to enjoy often! And who knows? Maybe help us understand if we’re drawn to Derry Church Artisan Chocolates mostly because of their taste, balance, or texture.

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