Originally posted by Marcellus
I’ve been asked by a friend who runs a restaurant to make some after-dinner truffles on a regular basis. About four different types.Can anyone suggest what might be a good “set” to make (say for a table of four) and which to avoid as an after-dinner truffle.
There’s really no types you should absolutely avoid – truffles are classic after-dinner items virtually no matter what. However, the mainstay should always be the plain dark truffle, just chocolate and cream, no other flavourings involved. That’s the classic that people will be familiar with if they’ve eaten in France.
Once you get beyond that, experimentation is the key. Part of it, though, depends a lot on what kind of position in English cuisine the restaurant has – really avant-garde, simply modern and interesting, classical, or genuinely traditional. In the really avant-garde category, select unusual, exotic flavours that people haven’t necessarily seen before in a truffle, e.g. cardamom, chile, marjoram, or something else like that (and I’ve not even gotten really adventurous here). In the modern and interesting, select flavours that will be familiar to some degree but still excite interest, e.g. lavender, ginger, or anise. In the classical, select basic and well-established flavours such as currant, coffee, or cinnamon. And in the traditional, select flavours that are time-honoured such as mint, caramel, or hazelnut.
Having a white truffle isn’t necessarily a bad idea, but it’s important that guests aren’t trapped into that option (or for that matter, any other) when all the diners are big chocoholics. Otherwise somebody’s going to be disappointed, so that for a table of 4 there needs to be enough selection that no one will feel left with the reject – thus for 4 people I might have 8 total truffles. It’s critical that the coatings (assuming these are the rolled kind rather than the dipped kind) convey what the flavour is. For some, that’s obvious – for instance, for all the spices you can roll them in the spice itself (or it mixed with cocoa, because spices are strong) and for coffee you can roll in finely ground coffee. But for other flavours creativity may be necessary – e.g. mint truffles might be speared with a mint leaf, or caramel might have a thin rolling in demerara.
Later on, if this is successful, you can try more advanced ideas like rotating flavours with the seasons, using combination flavours, pairing truffles against meals had, etc. etc. Good luck!