Local chocolatier Valerie Confections offers plenty of dainty heart-shaped options for February 14, along with some cliche-busting chocolate creations. "Because my homme has a significant love of Scotch," explains co-owner Valerie Gordon, "I integrated single malt scotch truffles" into the holiday gift sets. (Gordon operates the business with her partner, Stan Weightman Jr.)
Valerie's slate of products offers a refuge from the pink bow and floral-festooned onslaught of sweets that's come to be associated with the faux-mantic holiday. Valentine's Day gift packages comprise assortments of chocolates, toffees, farmers' market fruit jams, the aforementioned single malt scotch truffles in the Pour Homme collection, and champagne truffles in the Pour Elle set. Customers can take a slightly more traditional route, with delicate but hearty (so to speak) sweets, such as rose petal petit fours. And on the other end of the spectrum, the D.L. & Co. skull chocolate sets are apparently popular around this time of year, too. (Never underestimate the power of goth love.)
But back to the middle, there's always those heart chocolates with almond toffee pieces, bittersweet ganache, and gianduja rocher. It's at least nice to hear folks not balk at the word "bittersweet" when talking about Valentine's Day products.
Gordon has kindly provided Squid Ink a recipe specially adjusted for home chefs to integrate Talisker, Macallan, Oban and the like with favorite chocolate products for a memorable homemade Valentine's Day gift. (It's probably advisable, however, to save the 30-year-old Scotch for actual drinking.)
Or you can stop by the shop and pick up pretty boxes of truffles made by the pros. Online shopping bonus: to get 15% off purchases over $30 through Thursday, February 11, enter the code LOVE15 at checkout.
Single Malt Scotch Truffles
From: Valerie Gordon of Valerie Confections
Yields: Approximately 30
10 ounces of bittersweet chocolate (61-63 percent cacao), chopped
7 ounces of heavy cream
1.5 ounces of unsalted butter (Plugra suggested), at room temperature
2 ounces of single malt Scotch
1 teaspoon of salt
6 ounces of Dutch process cocoa powder, sifted
1. In a small heavy bottomed pan, heat the cream over high heat until it just beings to boil.
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2. Place the chopped chocolate in a medium bowl. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and stir until the chocolate is completely melted. Incorporate the butter.
3. Refrigerate ganache until firm, at least one hour.
4. Sift the cocoa powder into a large bowl. Using a melon baller or small scooper, form small balls of ganache and drop them into the cocoa powder, coating them thoroughly.
5. Refrigerate the truffles until ready to gift or serve.