The history of the chocolate truffle
The history of the chocolate truffle and a great chocolate truffles recipe
The year 1828 was deemed to be the greatest year in the history of chocolate-making, due to a new innovation called the cocoa press, which solidified chocolate by removing the cocoa butter, however, the most important period in the history of the chocolate truffle was 1879, the year Henri Nestle created the first milk chocolate.
Soon after, experiments on this milk chocolate conducted by chocolate producers in France and Switzerland led to the creation of the Ganache, which is essentially a combination of cream and solid chocolate melted together to form a smooth, velvety mixture. In the modern era, this ganache has become the inner core and heart of the chocolate truffle.
Since the origins chocolate truffles were in France, it follows logic that the name should be French too! The truffle is a small wild mushroom found growing near tree roots in the forests. Since the chocolate truffle resembles this little mushroom so much, the creators of this masterpiece decided that it should be named after it.
The actual truffle was an exquisite dish, very expensive and eaten only by the royals and the extremely wealthy people of France. Giving the new chocolate creation this name automatically elevated it to that status. And until today, the chocolate truffle was associated with wealth and luxury.
The chocolate truffle soon found its way past the borders of France, into Europe and it was also soon introduced to North America, and most other parts of the world.
By the early 1900s, many chocolate producers worldwide had begun making their own chocolate truffles to compete with the originals. There are many different types of chocolate truffles out there today, ranging from the original basic ones to the semi-sweet to the liquor-based. The difference in the making of the ganache leads to the extreme varieties of the chocolate truffle.
How many types of chocolate truffles are there?
There are three main types of chocolate truffles: American, Swiss and European. These types vary both in the method of producing the ganache, as well as in the basic ingredients used for the ganache.
The American chocolate truffle is reputed to be a mixture of milk or dark chocolate with butterfat and, in some caswes, hardened coconut oil.
The Swiss type is completely different and makes use of dairy cream and butter which is combined with melted chocolate. These truffles have a very short life and must be consumed within a few days of making.
The European version uses syrup and a base made up of cocoa powder, milk powder and butter.
How to make chocolate truffles at home.
Makes about 50 and takes about 30 minutes to prepare.
- 340g plain chocolate, (preferably 70% cocoa solids)
- 60g softened butter.
- 200ml double cream
- 50g caster sugar
- 2 tbsp cocoa powder
- 2 tbsp icing sugar
- Break up the chocolate, chop finely and put into a mixing bowl with the butter.
- Place the cream and sugar in a saucepan and bring just to the boil. (Be careful not to over boil). Pour the cream onto the chocolate and butter and beat until it is smooth and shiny. Freeze for a few hours, until firm enough to shape.
- The truffle mix is now ready to be rolled into balls. Mix the cocoa powder with the icing sugar. Dust your work surface with half of the mixture . Dust your hands with the rest of the mixture and roll out the small balls of truffle mix.
*You can also add 2 tablespoons of Cointreau, amaretto, rum or Malibu to the truffle mix, if you like. The truffles will keep in an airtight container for up to 1 week.