21.12.08

Christmas Came a Little Early This Year

I recently joined up to participate in a Foodbuzz Featured Publisher perk called the Tastemaker Program. In essence, they send you samples of specially selected goodies, you taste and honestly evaluate them, then post about the product on your site…sounded like a pretty good deal to me! Not long after signing up, I received the first product, truffles from Cowgirl Chocolates. These little chocolate treats arrived in a festive red box, gussied up with a black ribbon and adorned with a delightfully tiny pair of silver cowboy boots.

According to their website, Cowgirl Chocolates is the brainchild of a ceramic artist named Marilyn Lysohir (“May-Lillie”), who wanted to combine her love of both art and chocolate. Founded in 1997 in Moscow, Idaho, the company touts their goods as “gourmet chocolate for adventurous chocolate lovers,” and since I would consider myself among that group, I was thrilled to be able to try them. Most of the recent press they have received has been about their Copper Kettle Brittle (which I may just have to try next), so I was curious how the truffles would measure up. I grabbed LB (always good to have a second opinion), and over the next few days, we tasted our way through the box.

Browsing their flavor guide, which accompanies the brightly wrapped chocolates, I saw they separated the truffles into “mild” and “spicy” categories. I wasn’t sure that most of the flavors lived up to the “adventurous” title, but the Raspberry Lemonade Dark Chocolate, the Spicy Cappuccino, and the Buckin’ Hot HabaƱero Caramel certainly had my curiosity piqued. First, let me say that these are not the kind of chocolate truffles that you might expect from say, Vosges – there are no crisp chocolate exteriors or luxuriously silky ganache inside, but I don’t think that’s exactly what this company is going for anyway. The packaging and the over-all feel and look of the chocolates, as well as the website, suggest more charming farm girl than elite fashionista, and they certainly blow Russell Stover out of the water and off the ranch.

There’s not a distinct difference in texture between the exterior chocolate coating of most of the truffles and the ganache inside – the mark of an exquisite truffle, in my humble opinion is a thin, crisp coating surrounding a silk interior – but the over-all texture of these truffles is still pleasing. The flavors, however, is where this company earned big bonus points. A few of flavors are not very well balanced – namely the HabaƱero truffle and the caramel, which consist of a very spicy and slightly unexpected (because it is delayed) kick in the mouth…which made me a little sad because I love the combo of hot spices and chocolate. Other flavors, however, perfectly offset the richness of the chocolate, like the Raspberry Dark Chocolate and the delicious Spicy Cappuccino, with its crunchy “biscuit bits” added for texture. Our favorite truffles were the Spicy Double Dark Chocolate, the Raspberry Dark Chocolate, the Spicy Cappuccino and the very interesting and complex Raspberry Lemonade Dark Chocolate. But you should try them and decide for yourself.

So, if you’re looking for a very last minute stocking stuffer, or even a perfect hostess gift for all those new years parties to come, Cowgirl Chocolates would make anyone on your list a happy camper – be they a cowgirl, a cowboy or a city-dweller. Even better, they offer customized flavor assortments – the mark of a company that cares about their consumers. They also have brittles, hot chocolate and truffle bars – all of which I’m sure are excellent. I’m all for supporting the little business with the good-will story and a little rustic charm thrown in (I’ve never been much of a fashionista anyhow – I grew up on a farm and shh…even had my own pair of cowboy boots at one point), so I’ll definitely be ordering from them in the near future (especially some of that brittle…). A big thanks to Foodbuzz and to Cowgirl Chocolates for the samples and this opportunity!

5 comments from you:

Nerissa said...

ooh la! Chocolate? I'll run right over ;-)

A Merry Christmas!

Marilyn Lysohir said...

Dear Michele

All the cowgirls and cowboys here at Cowgirl Chocolates thank you very much for writing about Cowgirl Chocolates on your food blog.

The very best to you and your family ..... Marilyn Lysohir the head cowgirl

Michelle said...

Merry Christmas, Nerissa! I'll save some just for you!

Marlilyn, thank YOU for letting me try your lovely chocolates! Happy holidays!

Debinhawaii said...

Hey! Where is my chocolate?! I joined tastemakers too! Oh well, at least I could live it through you! ;-)

Michelle said...

No fair! Yeah, I wonder how they do this... I'll make sure and share with you next time, like a good neighbor!