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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Your Artisanal Easter Candy Taste Test

Posted By on Tue, Apr 3, 2012 at 9:00 AM

L to R: Neo Cocoa, Socola, Artisan Candies,Clairesquares,poco dolce,Coco Delice Christopher Elbow. - BEN NARASIN
  • Ben Narasin
  • L to R: Neo Cocoa, Socola, Artisan Candies,Clairesquares,poco dolce,Coco Delice Christopher Elbow.

Easter is coming. We'll admit to enjoying the sweet, syrupy goo of Cadbury Creme Eggs and the back-in-the-day memories a Reese's Peanut Butter Egg might stir, but today we're focusing on special Easter offerings from artisanal producers. There's a lot of deliciousness there, some of which you need to eat now as these are limited, seasonal editions, and some which you can enjoy long after the rabbit is gone.

Claire has started packaging her shortbreads on their own in cello-bags and 10 piece tins. Combine these with her Ferry-Building-only Brandy Butter, and you've got a morning treat that could make any day feel like a holiday.

Buttery Shortbread Squares

The butter from the shortbread greases your finger, coats your tongue, and creeps down your throat. The bite is crisp, dense, and thick, shattering like shale with each bite. Crisp, creamy, dense and delicious.

Brandy Butter
A compound butter incorporating sugar, brandy, and salt for a stellar outcome. The butter has a sweet nose from the brandy, a pleasant graininess from the sugar, and a glorious brandied sweetness, all combining perfectly with the shortbread to create a modern local take on scones and clotted cream that would impress even the Irish from which Claire sourced her original recipes.

Eat these long after Easter, and think about them again for your Mother as the shortbread will become available at Pete's in time for Mother's Day.
Clairesquares Gift Tin $19.99 Brandy Butter $8.99

poco dolce: Raspberry Bunnies
Inch long, polished, dark chocolate, bunnies filled with raspberry ganache. The flavor of the ganache is 70% dark, almost dusty, chocolate and 30% raspberry. There's even a bit of grit that feels like raspberry seeds, as if raspberry preserves were lightly interlaced in the filling, though the overall texture, flavor, and appearance puts the chocolate first.
Box of 8 for $20.

Coco Delice: Peanut Butter Filled Bunnies

A fatter rabbit than the Poco's but packed three to a box instead of 8. Dark chocolate over thick, peanut butter cookie dough textured ganache made from peanut butter and white chocolate. The combination of flavors, so ingrained in our palate, is a touch subtle for the assertiveness of the dark chocolate. A solid, though not exceptional, pairing. If traditional artisan peanut butter cups are too sweet for you, you'll likely like this one.
$12.50 for a box of 3

Neo Cocoa: Espresso-Dark Chocolate Marshmallow Truffles

Christine's version of a "neo" peep. A chewy-spongy sandwich of thin and thick chocolate with marshmallow in between, coated in a hearty dusty of cocoa. The rich chocolate offset with espresso powder gives an assertive contrast to the soft chewy mildness of the marshmallow.
8 pieces for $12

Socola: PB & J Truffles
Peanut butter and jelly -- dense, semi crunchy peanut butter and a pate fi-like gel of jelly. "A new invention for an old treat" says my daughter Electa. 
$9.95 for box of 4

Artisan Candies: Chocolate Orange Marshmallow Egg
The orange marshmallow center is brighter in color than flavor. A bit of baby aspirin, and a generally mild flavor in spongy marshmallow.
$3.5 each

Christopher Elbow: Easter Collection
Beautiful presentation of jeweled eggs filled with the equally bright flavors we expect from Elbow. Each is fresh, pure, and well integrated into their chocolate ganache and caramel fills.

A yellow-gold egg yields passion fruit flavors first, followed by caramel, and finishing with chocolate truffle. Purple provides lavender notes with pleasant sweetness and herb.

Speckled-brown is a wonderful blend of citrus cooked into caramel -- notes of tangerine, orange and grapefruit combine for a finish of kumquat in caramel. Blue-speckled egg is a straight shot of lush chocolate, delicate and delicious.
9 pieces $24

Contact Ben Narisin at Follow us on Twitter at @sfoodie, and like us on Facebook.

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