At last Monday’s Chocolate and Wine Class, each guest was given a box of Vianne chocolates as a parting gift. I tasted Vianne chocolates for the first time and met owner and chocolatier Valerie Conyngham at the New England Dessert Showcase last fall. This box featured four flavors, one of which is her signature burnt caramel cup.
A dark chocolate shell holds a very fluid burnt caramel. The cup is topped with coral colored alaea sea salt. I had my reservations about the burnt flavor, but any such sentiment was quelled once I bit into it. The coarse salt tempers the slight bitterness from caramel and brings out its subtle sweetness. Mixed with the chocolate it produces the most lovely and complex sweet and salty flavor combination.
The orange + clove chocolate is filled with a clove and Grand Marnier dark chocolate ganache and topped with a square of candied orange peel. Valerie does not overwhelm her chocolates with added sweetener, which allows the subtle flavor of the spices to come through. The cardamom + coconut chocolate, with a cardamom ganache and a sprinkling of coconut on top, was similarly modest in its sweetness.
My favorite of the selection by far was the white chocolate square with pink peppercorns and sea salt. White chocolate has grown on me immensely over the past few years. The milder white chocolate provided the perfect base for the pungent peppercorns and the salt contrasted beautifully with the sweetness of the chocolate.
Within Boston, you can find Vianne Chocolat at City Feed and South End Formaggio. To see the rest of the Vianne Chocolat offerings or to buy online, visit her website.