Thursday, July 17, 2008

Cacao Cubano

Last week I found myself watching a Food Network show called "Recipe for Success" , which chronicles the personal stories behind the launching of indie restaurants and food-businesses. I've always enjoyed this show, even in it's current syndication where I have pretty much seen each episode. It's interesting to see the struggle of other's as they launch their own foodie dreams and draw parallels to my own experience. This particular episode was about a young lady and her interest in an Internet-based artisan cookie company. Frankly, she was a bit of a weirdo, and one of her signature flairs was to invent a cookie flavor for each of the boyfriends she has had. At the time, I thought it was a pretty stupid idea.

Well... once upon a time, when Eclipse was barely cocoa-conceived and my life resembled nothing like what it is today, I was dating a Cuban. While he didn't paddle across the Gulf to Democratic freedom (it was his parents that weren't American-born), I sometimes wonder if his ego did. Having grown up in Miami he was certainly of strong Cuban persuasion, complete with all the pride that comes along with his heritage.

We were chatting about exotic chocolate one day (as all exotic chocolatiers are wont to do) and he suggested trying to infuse cigars into ganache for a Cuban-inspired truffle. I think I must have looked at him as if he were an idiot and I quickly dismissed the idea to the same mental filing cabinet that held each suggestion made by stoners who suggest the same with Marijuana. Not for me, I convinced myself... Blah... Gross!

Well low and behold... two years after that initial suggestion I have created two cigar-infused concoctions. Banana Rum Cigar, one of the cupcake flavors, was popular enough to make the cut to the top eighteen, but the real star on this exotic flavor concept is my Cacao Cubano. And while I didn't create the flavor profile to as an homage, I certainly owe him credit. Thanks, Miguel!

And it doesn't get much more exotic than this. This 61% dark chocolate ganache truffle is made with a Brown Sugar Banana Rum Compote and infused with high-quality cigars. After being enrobed in a dark chocolate shell, it's then topped with a dried banana chip.

I find its dark and foreboding flavors to be quite intriguing. At first bite, the banana is most evident and deepened by a subtle hint of rum. Following that is a fiery, charred aroma that is certainly secondary, but strong enough to announce that this isn't your ordinary truffle. On the finish, you're left with a subtle smokey aftertaste that, while I have actually never smoked tobacco in any form, I would imagine would be quite familiar to those who have. All in all, one of my deepest and darkest truffle infusions. But don't take my word for it, stop in and mention this blog post and try one of these guys for free!

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