Never too Much of a Good Thing
Even the most dreamy tasks can be daunting at times. When I occasionally have to leave the Vosges kitchen on a spice hunt or a visit to our New York or Las Vegas boutiques, my awesome team must execute my recipes in my absence. Upon my return, I am faced with a sea of truffles to taste. I ensure that each and every batch meets our strict standards before chocolates are placed in purple boxes or go into your lovely mouths.
Because we use all natural products and because much of our process is done by hand, there will always be natural variance. I taste to be sure the chipotle is smoky enough, the Maldon salt crystals are big enough and the Hungarian paprika is ground fine enough.
After my most recent excursion, I came home to find about 35 truffles awaiting inspection. I like to taste them first thing in the morning when my palate is most fresh, working my way from white to milk to dark chocolate. I start by cutting each truffle in half and looking for smooth texture and a maximum shell thickness of 2 millimeters. Consistency in chocolate deposit temperature is crucial to a nice, thin shell.
Although I don’t look forward to problem batches and errors, they do not anger me. Each misstep is an opportunity for improvement or a honing of our process. After all some of the best inventions are born out of mistakes, tarte tartin for example.
One of the most frequent comments I hear from people is, “If you need someone to help taste chocolate, I would be happy to volunteer.” Well, there is no denying that there is a lot of it to be done in my line of work. Although facing dozens of truffles at a time can be daunting, I prescribe to the saying there is no such thing as too much of a good thing.