Thursday, December 17, 2009
Weinrich Trüffel: Marc de Champagne
Whilst browsing in my local German deli, I came across a collection of Weinrich Trüffel bars, all filled with a variety of liquors and liqueurs -- so naturally I had to buy them.
I opted to start with the Marc de Champagne bar because I have a slight addiction to Champagne truffles. But what exactly is Marc de Champagne? Well, it's a brandy-like liquor that is distilled from the seeds and skins of the grapes used in Champagne production...sort of the hot dog of the Champagne world, if you will. I admit I have never tried it. But if it has any Champagne notes to it -- as grape based, distilled liquors such as brandy, Cognac, etc often bear a faint family resemblance to the wines they are derived from -- I expect I would like it. And I always seem to forget how much I like Champagne or sparkling wine until I actually have a glass (which is not that often). Also, there is something about Champagne mixed with chocolate that really raises my bubbles. Incidentally, I did not inherit my love of the "Champers" from my parents...
...One Thanksgiving, my brother and I were especially mortified by our father; in that special way that only siblings can share. That night, we'd gone to the fanciest-schmanciest restaurant in our 'hood. It's a restaurant that is widely known for its extensive wine cellar. And when the wine steward inquired as to my father's choice for the table, he was rather horrified when my father chose to lecture him on why the place should carry Martini & Rossi Asti Spumante! Now to be fair, it's not that there's anything particularly wrong with M&R's Asti. It's decent stuff. It's just that in this case, it was like walking into Peter Luger's (or even Ruth's Chris) and telling them they should serve the sirloin just like they do down at the Sizzler. Yeah, just another one of those times when it's so close, yet so far away... anyway, magical holiday family fun aside...
The Weinrich Trüffel has a milk chocolate shell that encases the truffle filling. Taking the chocolate out of the wrapper, you immediately notice an aroma that I could best describe as "boozy." But, it is a Marc de Champagne truffle after all, so let's call that a good thing.
The smooth outer shell is thin and the center truffle filling is a soft creme. The actual flavor of the truffle reminded me more of Turkish delight than Champagne or anything related to it. There is a soft, sweet rose note -- not as strong as in Turkish delight, but very similar. There is also definite fruit flavor in the background. I want to say it's grape...mostly because my brain is still trying to pin down something Champagne-like being the source of the flavor. But in reality, the best I can tell you is that it's fruity. The filling is sweet, but magically it never gets too sweet. There is just the tiniest amount of alcohol bitterness (whether it's actually alcohol, I don't know -- the label lists both Champagne and Marc de Champagne as flavors, but leaves it at that). It's actually the perfect amount, because it just keeps everything in check. And it was fantastic. I want vats of this filling. I want to put it on everything.
The milk chocolate that the bar is molded with is soft and melty, but held the molded design beautifully. (And did I mention how pretty the molding is? It really is a very nice looking bar.) It's creamy and you can taste the generous amount of dairy in the chocolate. On its own it might be a little bland, but it pairs with the truffle filling perfectly.
It's hard to rate this one. On the one hand, it didn't remind me of a Champagne truffle in the least. On the other hand, the filling is just so darned delicious that they could have called it Gebeizt Seife Trüffel and it would still taste great. (I will save you the Googling; that means "Pickled Soap Truffle.") It kind of goes against my standards in a way, but I am still scoring this one an 11 -- because even though it does not taste of anything akin to Champagne, it is still 17 kinds of awesome. Maybe even 18. Or maybe more than I could count.
Find it. Buy it. Eat it. You will be very glad you did.
The German Deli (Upland, California)