What is a Chocolate Truffle?

What is a box of assorted chocolates without a truffle? This tasty confection is traditionally filled with chocolate ganache and coated with chocolate or cocoa powder. Truffles are usually shaped like a sphere and can have other centers besides ganache, such as caramel, nuts, nougat, toffee, mint, marshmallow, berries, and even liqueur.

Different Types of Truffles

The credit for creating the first chocolate truffle goes to M. Dufour of Chambery, France in 1895. However, recognition of the sweet treat didn’t truly spread until the establishment of the Prestat chocolate shop in London, which to this day, still sells the original recipe for ‘Napoleon III’ truffles. Today, you can choose from three main types of chocolate truffles in the world: American, European, and Swiss.

The “American truffle” typically uses a blend of dark or milk chocolates with butterfat. It comes in a half-egg shape coated with chocolate. In Canada, graham cracker crumbs and peanut butter are added to what is called the “Harvey truffle.”

Cocoa powder, milk powder, fats, and other ingredients are paired with syrup to create the “European truffle.” At least 10% of the truffle should include butter, which is then mixed with ganache cream. Butter creates an enhanced flavor and a melt-in-the-mouth experience.

Melted chocolate combined with a boiling mixture of dairy cream and butter creates the base of the “Swiss truffle.” The mix is then poured into molds to set. A sprinkling of cocoa powder finishes off the confection. It is a must to eat this kind of truffle within a couple of days.

Ways to Vary Your Truffles

If you are interested in making chocolate truffles from scratch, there are plenty of ways to spice up your recipe. Add Frangelico to your chocolate and cream mixture to create a hazelnut-flavored truffle, and then coat with chopped hazelnuts. Truffles with a coffee flavor are achieved with the addition of one tablespoon of espresso powder into heated cream, and Kahlua to the truffle mix. Adding two tablespoons of fruit puree or jam to a recipe will make fruit-flavored truffles.

Bittersweet Origins – Valentine’s Day Chocolate Gifts

Chocolate gifts for Valentine’s Day are a  traditional sign of love and affection, and this year Bittersweet Café, the Bay Area’s bean-to-bar Bittersweet Origins chocolate maker and chocolate cafés, has a full array of its own chocolate collections and special gift packaging ready for your special Valentine sweetheart.
Bittersweet’s three Bay Area locations are a Valentine gift central with delicious, high quality chocolate gifts ranging from $4.95 to $34.95.

Valentine tins, Share the Love tins and Big Love Pails are popular Bittersweet signature gifts.  The Mint Tin includes Dark Chocolate Holland Mints and Dark Chocolate Peppermint Shortbreads while the Fruit and Nut Tin features Dark Chocolate Dried Strawberries, Dark Chocolate Cherries and Dark Chocolate Pistachios.

The Share the Love Tin provides a quarter pound each of Mint Mix (Dark Chocolate Holland Mints, Dark Chocolate Peppermint Shortbreads) and Fruit and Nut Mix (Dark Chocolate Dried Strawberries, Dark Chocolate Cherries, and Dark Chocolate Pistachios), Solid Milk Hearts and Solid Dark Chocolate Hearts.

Fabulous handmade Bittersweet truffles are available in a variety of flavors, from hand-rolled dark, Fleur de Sel, raspberry liquor-spiked Framboise, and the scintillating Spicy, to the elegant finish of heart-shaped Blood Orange, Passion fruit and Cinnamon.

Other unique Bittersweet Valentine offerings are the Love Letter and the Tasting Tins.  The Love Letter is a modern-retro envelope, enclosing a note card, one New Tree Alpha Disc (an unusual and incredibly delicious bar -flax seeds give it an unusual crunch and make it rich in anti-oxidants) one of their best-selling Vosges Mini Bars and a $10.00 Bittersweet Gift Card.

Tasting Tins include How Many Ways Do I Love Thee (a wide selection of small bits of some of the world’s most delectable chocolates) and the popular Heart of Darkness Collection.   The collection also includes an outline of the most recent findings about the health benefits of chocolate with high cacao content.

And, for those quick and inexpensive gift needs, Bittersweet is offering Chinese Take-Away Valentine Boxes with Solid Dark and Milk chocolate hearts, along with Raspberry Cream, Caramel and Mint Crunch Hearts.

About Bittersweet  Origins and Café
Bittersweet Origins is a manufacturing and retailing company which creates craft chocolate and coffee in handmade, micro-batches to engage the senses and the mind.  Bittersweet Café retail stores’ ambience and furnishings reflect the one-of-a-kind nature of its chocolate bars, chocolate drinks and coffees.  The warm and welcoming spaces furnished with unique tables, benches, carts and artwork from local craftspeople and artists create a gathering place for the community to savor locally made chocolate delicacies, coffee and tea.  The Bittersweet Cafes are located in San Francisco on Fillmore Street, College Avenue in Oakland and the Rose Garden Shopping Center in Danville.  For more information, visit www.bittersweetcafe.com/ or call 510-705-1860.

Chocolate Manufacturers – Guide for Chocoholics – Chocolate Inked Sweet Shoppe

We have featured Chocolate Inked Sweet Shoppe in our Chocolate Manufacturers – Guide for Chocoholics.

ciss_trufflesChocolate Inked Sweet Shoppe is located in the historic Village of Metamora, MI. Metamora dates back to the 1800’s and is also known as “horse country.” The building that CISS is located in was built over 150 years ago and has quite a history. It was recently purchased by friends and has been in the process of a complete renovation, the chocolate shoppe is located in the back half of the building. The outside of the building is in the process of being completed now, though when you walk into the shoppe  you will be taken back to years gone by. It gives you a quaint, warm and cozy feeling when you see the signature colors of teal and brown. The fireplace will make you want to sit at one of three tables that remind you of a old fashioned ice cream shoppe. You can enjoy the warmth of the shoppe as you wit with your laptop to access the only shoppe in the village with WiFi or you can relax as you watch a favorite program on the large plasma T.V. 
Sharon and Kevin make a variety of handmade chocolates, which include their signature handmade salted caramels, molded caramels, molded chocolates, truffles, specialty chocolates, nutty and krispy barks, dipped nuts, fruits, pretzels, cookies, and so much more. They offer muffins, cookies, brownies, cupcakes, and even Sharon’s signature cake that will truly bring you back. The signature cake can be ordered in any flavor with infused ganache, a chocolate whipped cream, or a fruit filling. Each cake is then drizzled with dark, milk and white chocolates. It is a mouth watering cake that will have you wanting more. “CISS” also does gift baskets for all occasions. One unique product that they have is chocolates that can be printed with photos, logos, and text. These chocolates are not made by Sharon and Kevin, they are made by their supplier in a nut free facility. They do personalized chocolates for all occasions, weddings, graduations, birthdays, funerals, etc. “CISS” also offers Cook’s Farm Dairy Ice Cream. Cook’s is a  working dairy farm and is well known in the Metamora area. You can order ice cream cones, handmade waffle cones and bowls that are dipped in chocolate, great tasting shakes, smoothies, sundaes, parfaits. Coffee, sweet tea, lemonade, canned soda, bottled water are other items that are available. You never know what may be available on any given day, there is always something different.
cissChocolate Inked has a website for the personalized chocolates and you can call them with any questions and to place your orders. You can access the website at: www.chocolateinked.com
You will be pleasantly surprised when you enter the world of “CISS.”  With a tag line of “Have you been CISS’d today?” first time customers will leave with a special chocolate “CISS” so that they too,  “Have been CISS’d today!”
Chocolate Inked Sweet Shoppe
70 E. High St.
Metamora, MI. 48455
Fax: 810-678-2022

Chocolate Manufacturers – Guide for Chocoholics – Chocolations

We featured Chocolations in our Chocolate Manufacturers – Guide for Chocoholics.

About Chocolations

Founder Maria Valente opened Chocolations in December of 2006.  Located in Mamaroneck, NY Maria Valente creates these local sweets by hand from local and fresh high quality ingredients. Maria’s creations include hand dipped truffles, creative barks, cheerful pops, cupcakes, and beautiful holiday figures such as bunnies and hens.  Her newest creation, rice crispy cakes!  You have to see it to believe it!

photo courtesy of Chocolations.com

Maria’s creations are award-winning. Westchester Magazine named Valente’s truffles best in Westchester in Febuary 2008. In November of 2008, Maria Valente’s antioxidant rich Good For You bar (with dark chocolate, dried blueberries and almonds) won as one of the top three chocolate bars in the United States.

Chocolations – Mission Statement

Create fine affordable chocolates using excellent ingredients. Give entrepreneurial woman or those with a socially conscious focus a showcase for their goods, and share my resources with them. Model an environmentally friendly, socially conscious business.


Crispy Cakes:

One of the latest specialties out of Chocolations,  is their Crispy Cake.  It starts with their homemade Crispy Treats shaped in a number of different ways.  Delicious butter cream is then added to decorate, and it’s finish with solid chocolate pieces to enhance the effect.  This is more than just a cake, it is the centerpiece, and a conversation piece all in one.  Great for weddings and parties.

Truffles Available:

Caramel, Peanut Butter, Classic Milk, Amaretto, Ginger Honey, Hazelnut, Jasmine, Latte, Bailey’s Irish Cream, Toasted Coconut, Concord Grape, Cappuccino, Classic White.

Good for You Bar:

Chocolations Good For You Bar’s are delicious candy bars filled with health benefits. The bar is a combination of dark chocolate, dried blueberries and almonds. All of which are an excellent source of antioxidants, which protect the body against free radicals. Aside from it’s defensive capabilities, the Good For You Bar is a combination off your favorite flavors in a tasty little convenient bar. This “Not-So-Guilty” pleasure is easy to fall in love with, but of course,  in moderation!

Contact Infomation:

914.777.3600 ph.
914.777.2948 fax

Enter to Win 12 Months of FREE Lindor Truffles

I was browsing the net the other day and guess what I found out! Lindt (the very famous Swiss chocolate company that we mentioned in our Chocolate Manufacturers – Guide for Chocoholics) is giving away 12 months of Lindor Truffles!! I had to share this, my friends! I have to confess: Lindor Truffles are my weakness… or at least, one of them :D 

For those of you who have never seen Lindor Truffles, I attached an awesome image from flickr.com.

Giveaway Details:

Lindor Truffles; photo courtesy of mai-ke
*The 12 Months of Free Lindor Truffles Giveaway contest is open for entries from July 27, 2009 through August 31, 2009. No purchase is required for entry. There will be one winner chosen on September 1, 2009 from all online entries submitted via this website. This giveaway is also available in Lindt Chocolate Shops, where one winner will be selected per location. The winners will be contacted by a Lindt representative and provided with detailed information on how to receive their prize. Store location winners will receive a redemption booklet for 12 consecutive months of (1) free 28-count Lindor Truffle bag to be picked up at the store location per month. The online winner will be shipped (1) 28-count bag of Lindor Truffles per month for the next 12 consecutive months.

If you are interested, you can visit their contest page for more info. Good luck! I hope one of you wins!

Chocolate Manufacturers – Guide for Chocoholics – Gail Ambrosius

We featured Gail Ambrosius Chocolatier in our Chocolate Manufacturers – Guide for Chocoholics.

About the Company:

Gail Ambrosius founded her chocolate business in 2004, based on a deep love of dark chocolate and all of its richly complex and flavorful possibilities. She holds monthly tastings in her shop and encourages you to drop by and learn more about the distinct flavors of single-origin chocolate.

Gail Ambrosius Chocolatier
photo courtesy of Gail Ambrosius Chocolatier

Gail Ambrosius Chocolatier specializes in creating deliciously exotic dark chocolates in her Madison, Wisc., shop daily for legions of loyal fans in the area and around the country. Much like coffee, fine chocolate takes on the characteristics of the regions where the cacao beans are grown. Gail uses single-origin chocolate for most of her truffles, meaning that the unique flavors of a particular region’s cacao are melded with the finest spices, fruits, teas, nuts and other natural ingredients for the ultimate chocolate experience.

Gail and her staff are constantly tasting, adjusting and concocting new signature truffles and treats, bringing in fresh seasonal flavors to their handmade chocolates. At the same time, Gail is involved in every step of the process from ensuring the cacao farmers receive fair payment to powering her shop with solar and wind power.

About the products:

Looking for a small, simply divine pleasure for a gift, a special occasion or to savor in a rare moment of pampering? Gail Ambrosius Chocolatier has a constantly changing assortment of flavor options that fits the bill. Below are just a few of the possibilities:

Gail Ambrosius Chocolatier
Gail Ambrosius Chocolate. photo courtesy of Gail Ambrosius Chocolatier

Boxed chocolates: Truffles are available in beautifully designed boxes in a variety of flavor assortments and sizes. Flavor assortments include: Travel, Teas and Liqueurs. You can also select your own flavor combinations from our wide variety.

Price per box: $4.25 for two-piece; $11.00 for six-piece; $21.50 for 12-piece; and $40 for 24-piece box.

Twelve on the twelfth: You can order their box of twelve chocolates to arrive on the 12th of each month (or as near as possible). This makes a great gift anytime or as a convenient way to keep yourself in chocolate each month. You can select the flavor and length of time you want them to deliver.

Price: $64.50 plus shipping for three months, billed in monthly installments.

Hot chocolate: Warm your senses with this small batch, shaved 65 percent dark Columbian chocolate. Melt into warmed milk or enjoy European style in hot water. Thick and decadent. One bag makes 25 eight-ounce servings.

Price: $15.00

Chocolate sauce: A chocolate sauce for grown-up tastes. Dark and thick, it’s perfect on fruit, ice cream or just treat yourself to a spoonful. Made with Rainforest Certified Ecuadorian chocolate.

Price: $9.00

Shipping: Gail Ambrosius Chocolatier chocolates are made by hand in small batches to provide the freshest chocolate experience. Chocolates should be eaten within two weeks of purchase or refrigerated.


Chocolates can be purchased at their retail store at 2086 Atwood Avenue, Madison, Wisc., or purchased online at www.gailambrosius.com.

Chocolate Manufacturers – Guide for Chocoholics – Bissinger’s

We featured Bissinger’s in our Chocolate Manufacturers – Guide for Chocoholics.

The Story of Bissinger’s

In a small kitchen in St. Louis, there is a place where tradition and quality are still the most important ingredients in the making of the world’s finest chocolate confections. This special place is Bissinger’s Handcrafted Chocolatier, one of the last handcrafted chocolatiers in the world. Bissinger’s has been making fine confections for more than 350 years taking pride in the fact that it has not sacrificed quality ingredients, taste, or craftsmanship to produce more candy at a lower cost. Even today, in an age of high tech production and immediacy, Bissinger’s remains committed to the high standards, heritage and traditions that have made the company what it is today.

bissingercaramelsBissinger’s History

The name Bissinger has been long linked to fine confections. In fact, in the early 1600’s, the Bissinger family was named Confiseur Imperial, or “Candy maker of the Empire” for excellence in the confectionery arts by Emperor Louis Napoleon.

Karl Frederick Bissinger left France in 1863, bringing his loyal candy maker and all of the Bissinger family making-secrets to the United States near Cincinnati, Ohio. In 1927 his son, also name Karl, opened the Bissinger’s candy-making kitchen and first Bissinger’s shop in St. Louis on McPherson Avenue. Today, the retail business has expanded to include three stores in St. Louis and one in Minneapolis. The Maryland Plaza store in St. Louis is a particularly fun place since it is a chocolate lounge where small plates of chocolates and chocolate desserts can be paired with special teas, coffees, wines and ports.

Handmade Confections

Bissinger’s chocolate confections are still made in the St. Louis kitchen, many using original recipes from the Bissinger family cookbook, dated 1899. Bissinger’s candy makers oversee every detail of each delectable treat. Hand-dipped and hand-decorated, Bissinger’s confections are made the old-fashioned way in copper kettles, on marble slabs with wooden ladles, and each box of chocolate is hand-packed and wrapped for delivery or sale. Bissinger’s only uses the finest ingredients in its family recipes, and continues to produce over 400 confections by hand. Bissinger’s is a company that always strives to provide its customers with unique and innovative confections. Seasonal specialties have been added to the Bissinger’s collection throughout the years, such as Chocolate-Covered Raspberries and Blackberries, both only available in July / August / September.

bissinger3More recently, Bissinger’s has focused their energies on making all-natural contemporary products which taste great and are good for you. Bissinger’s Naturals (black sesame, pumpkin seed, sunflower seed, almond, walnut), adult gummies (pomegranate white tea, blueberry acai, gogi guava camu camu, pink grapefruit with grapeseed extract), high antioxidant chocolate bars, olive oil truffles, porcini mushroom truffles, etc. are treats perfect for chocolate-lovers with a healthful eating plan.

Bissinger’s, based in St. Louis, is a leading confectioner of fine chocolate products, distributing to more than one million customers worldwide through retail, catalog and online sales. Bissinger’s products can also be found at upscale retail locations throughout the United States. For most chocolatiers, Valentine’s Day is the leading holiday. However, at Bissinger’s, the company has nine major seasons that require the company to be busy all year long: Valentine’s Day, Easter/Passover, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Chocolate-Covered Raspberry Season (July), Chocolate-Covered Blackberry Season (August/September), Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas/Hanukkah. This consistent seasonal demand allows them the opportunity to search the world for the finest packaging and gift ideas to marry with Bissinger’s fine chocolate.

Bissinger’s Corporate Gifts

Bissinger’s has a corporate gifts line designed to meet the needs of today’s busy executives. From the Business Card Folding Box to the Corporate Truffle Box to the Corporate Deluxe selections, Bissinger’s Master’s Reserve Corporate line has a gift for everyone on your customer list!

Bissinger’s Online

In 1999, Bissinger’s launched its full-service e-commerce Web site at www.bissingers.com . Today the site generates more than 20% of total revenues for the company and has over 25,000 visitors each month.

The Chocolate Catalogue

Bissinger’s distributes eight catalogs annually, with unique items including hand-crafted chocolates, hand-roasted nuts, fresh and glaceed chocolate covered fruits, decorated mints, edible table decorations, fabulous gift-giving ideas for children and adults, and great confections to complement a new wine or dinner as a delectable dessert. For more information on Bissinger’s exquisite chocolate confections, please visit Bissingers.com.

Huge Chocolate Giveaway!! – CLOSED

This giveaway is open to US residents only.

How to enter (required): Visit a chocolate manufacturer’s website from the ones listed below and then come back and leave a comment telling us the name of the chocolate manufacturer you visited and the name of your favorite product! Leave a new comment for each chocolate manufacturer you visit.

Example: “MARS: I love Fling Chocolate in hazelnut.” 

The giveaway ends on August 25, 2009 at 8pm, Pacific Standard Time. 


UPDATE: are you one of the winners? check out the list!


IMPORTANT: Due to hot temperatures, some manufacturers will have to wait till the end of September to send out the prizes.

*Please make sure you leave a comment for each additional entry so you get credited.
*Also, please make sure you typed in the correct email address.
*The winners will be announced via e-mail and have 2 days to get back to us or other name will be chosen.
*Incomplete entries will be disqualified & deleted.

I just want to say THANK YOU to all our sponsors for offering these delicious chocolate prizes! I listed them below in random order. Good luck, my friends! And tweet about this giveaway to the ones you love!




Winners: 3

Prizes: one 12 pc. box each; the box is comprised of a dozen assorted handmade chocolate truffles, a good cross section of Roxy Chocsmith’s most popular and unique flavors.

Website: RoxyChocsmith.com


Chalmers Ganache Trio Set


Winners: 4

Prizes: 1 trio set each. The stylish set includes three 8.25 oz. jars of Chalmers Ganache – may include: original Luxe Dark, Ultra Mint, and Mucho Mayan Spice [flavors may vary], all made with the finest European cocoas and natural ingredients and presented in a lush brown sueded gift box tied with Chalmers blue grosgrain ribbon. Suggested retail price for the set is around $30. The set makes a perfect hostess or business gift or treat for your favorite chocoholic.

Website: ChalmersGanache.com


navitas naturals


Winners: 3

Prizes: 1 package (8oz) of the organic Sweet Cacao Nibs each. Navitas Naturals’ Sweet Cacao Nibs are a delicious snack and they also add bold flavor and crunchy texture to recipes. The organic cacao beans are hand-selected for quality in the rainforests of Peru and then peeled and partially ground to form small “nibs.” The nibs are rolled in Cacao Paste and lightly mixed with organic sugar cane juice. Raw cacao is one of the world’s best sources of antioxidants, the richest food source of magnesium, and offers an array of essential minerals and nutrients. All ingredients are certified organic, kosher, vegan and raw.

Website: NavitasNaturals.com






Winners: 5

Prizes: a 2 bars sampler set each.

Dr. Chocolate is all natural premium Dark chocolate 55% cocoa. Emergency Chocolate is all natural premium Milk chocolate 34% cocoa.

Website: Bloomsberryusa.com



bittersweet origins




Winners: 5

Prizes: Puerto Plata. Bittersweet makes microbatches of chocolate, starting from roasting of the beans.  This 75% bar from the Dominican Republic is simply the organic cacao plus organic cane juice, creating a bar with a subtle berry flavor.
50 grams
ingredients: organic cocoa mass, organic evaporated cane juice

Website: BittersweetOrigins.com













Winners: 1

Prizes: 3 of the FLING Chocolate multipack boxes in milk chocolate, dark chocolate and hazelnut. 

Website: FlingChocolate.com








Winners: 6

Prizes: 1 tin per winner. Each tin holds two full size chocolate bars and the tin itself has a copy of the original work of the artist and makes a nice collectible.

Website: VivaniChocolate.com