Monday, September 8, 2008

Basil-Absinthe Truffle

Continuing my foray into my pantry cabinet for ingredients too expensive for their own good, this week I am finishing up a ganache for a lovely little ditty I am calling Basil-Absinthe.

Absinthe originally became popular in the late 19th- and early 20th-centuries in France, particularly among artists and writers like Charles Baudelaire, Vincent van Gogh, and Oscar Wilde. Absinthe was portrayed as a dangerously addictive and psychoactive drug due to the presense of the chemical thujone. Although Absinthe was vilified, no evidence has shown it to be any more dangerous than ordinary liquor. Its psychoactive properties, apart from those of alcohol, had been much exaggerated.

By 1915, absinthe had been banned in the United States and in most European countries due to the temperance movement. A revival of the Green Faerie began in the 1990s, when countries in the European Union began to reauthorize its manufacture and sale, and in 2007, various brands began to infulitrate the American market when it was legalized here, too. It was about that time that I also became fascinated by it.

The herbal flavors of aniseed, star anise, and fennel is pretty intense, so I decided to showcase the liqour on a palate of 61% dark chocolate ganache. Becuase it is 100 proof, Absinthe is never drank straight up. It is usually enjoyed poured over a sugar cube and diluted with water. Following the same idea, I chose to finished this truffle with a coating of more dark chocolate and a healthy garnish of a house-made basil sugar. It's a neat addition with an intense aroma of basil that you perceive well before any chocolate actually meets your palate.

It's a limited edition flavor, so come get it while it lasts.

1 comment:

AnnaM said...

The joys of being so close... I was able to pop over on my lunch break and try the Basil-Absinthe Truffle.

I thought that it had a very noticible flavor, but not so much as to be overpowering.
The basil sugar was lovely, but did not detract from the Absinthe in the least.

Try it before it's gone!

Also loved the cranberry lemon brownie!

and my sandwich, and the host, and the company... I could go on, but I wont.