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The History of the Chocolate Truffle

The chocolate truffle is one of the most popular and fascinating of all confections. As much as we love to eat them, many of us have no idea what exactly makes them so incredibly good. In honor of National Truffle Day this May, we decided it’s time to lose some of that mystery, so when you take your next bite of a decadent truffle, you can appreciate the taste even more! Here’s a brief history of the chocolate truffle:

What is a Truffle?

The word “truffle” actually has several meanings. Similar to the praline, the truffle means different things to its various countries of origin. The word “truffle” itself is derived from the Latin term tuber, which means “lump,” and is actually named after the truffle mushroom (mostly found under Oak, Hazel, and Poplar trees) due to its striking, irregularly-shaped physical resemblance.

The original chocolate truffle was a ball of ganache, or a whipped chocolate and cream filling, often flavored and enrobed in cocoa. Now, the term is often used to describe any type of filled chocolate, but the ganache is what really gives the truffle its true distinction- sorry other cream centers. However, today’s truffles do come in a lot of different shapes and can be coated in a variety of flavorful lusters like peppercorns, sweet curry, and paprika, etc.

Where Did the Truffle Come From?

Back in the 1920s, an accident in the kitchen of a French chef named Georges Auguste Escoffier was responsible for the creation of the truffle. While one of his apprentices was attempting to make pastry cream, he mistakenly poured the hot cream into a bowl of chopped chocolate instead of a bowl of sugar and eggs. Out of frustration, Escoffier yelled “ganache” (meaning fool) as an insult to the apprentice. But as the creamy mixture began to harden, he realized he could work the paste in his hands into a bumpy, walnut-sized ball. He then continued to roll it into cocoa powder which he realized looked remarkably similar to the luxurious truffle mushrooms from the French Perigord region and Piedmont, Italy; hence, the truffle.

In the years that followed, the ganache center was rolled in a number of different finishes to create different tasty truffle textures, like confectioners sugar or finely chopped nuts. It has also enjoyed a variety of flavorful mix-ins like champagnes and liqueurs, caramel, nougat, fudge, and more to give each one a unique taste. But the real secret of a great truffle is knowing the right ratios of chocolate to the hot cream and the different styles of ganache they create.

So there you have it! The mystery of the great chocolate truffle is solved. So next time someone you know tries to call their fruit-filled chocolate ball a “truffle,” you can politely tell them how wrong they are. For all the premium chocolates you need to create the most decadent chocolate truffles or for an extensive selection of truffles from the top brands in chocolate, we’ve got you covered!

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