When I heard that Hershey’s would be closing down two of it’s subsidiary artisanal chocolatiers, I knew I had to make the effort to try them before it was too late. The two companies facing extinction are Scharffen Berger and Joseph Schmidt Confections, both of whom were independent until Hershey’s bought them out in 2005. The whole thing is quite sad really.
I could go on a rant on my extreme distaste of this situation, but I’ll save my breath and your time. You can read the history of the company here at Wikipedia, who does it more succinctly than I could here.
I was lucky to find this collection of Joseph Schmidt’s truffles at Wegman’s during their big post Valentines Day sales. Since they were on sale, I figured it was a good of a time as any to give this dying breed of chocolate a taste test. I would have been tow lazy to put an order in on the website as it is, so it works out better this way.
The truffles (I’d prefer to call them bonbons, but the website refers to them as truffles, so I digress) are gorgeous to look at. The box protects each one beautifully, with each having it’s own well to sit in to keep the pieces of shuffling around. They are all unique, no two look alike. The only similarities they share are the shape: a large sound dome with a flat bottom. The tag lists the flavor, but no key saying which was which.
All Dark: Plain looking with dark cross-crossed lines on them. It’s just a dark creamy bittersweet chocolate with nice notes of cream, caramel, raspberries and coconut.
All Milk: Milk chocolate with white lines and dots on top. The milk chocolate is awesome: sweet, creamy, with nice notes of caramel, coffee. The ganache echoes the flavors to the shell, but is much milder and creamier. Loved this one, so delicious in its simplicity.
Champagne: Milk chocolate with a creamy colored spot on the very top. It immediately has an sweet, alcoholic flavor to it: tasting lightly of grapes and strawberries that mixes in with the smooth milk chocolate ganache. Something about the flavor reminds me of chocolate ice cream.
Sea Salt Caramel: Dark chocolate with a little hollow in the very top filled with salt crystals. The inside tastes more fruity than of caramel. It’s very rich and interestingly has plum notes to it.
Wild Strawberry: Milk chocolate with a pink dot on top. The flavor is immediately fruity and jam-like. It’s very sweet yet has a nice tart edge to it.
Dark Raspberry: Plain with multiple white lines crossing at the top. The ganache has a wonderfully tart, strawberry jam flavor to it. It’s really more tart than sweet and it really overpowers the chocolate. I’m surprised at the tartness of it. It’s very flavorful ad juicy and pairs well with the chocolate shell.
Hazelnut: The easiest of them all to distinguish: milk chocolate with a raw hazelnut plopped on top and drizzled with lines of chocolate. The milk chocolate is smooth, creamy and sweet. The ganache has a nutty, almost alcoholic flavor. I expected something more like Nutella, but it’s so far from it. It’s more roasted nut flavors and cream, like a hazelnut coffee.
Grand Marnier(r): The shell is dark chocolate with the design of a white chocolate X on top. The dark chocolate is deep, rich and sweet. The ganache center is smooth and creamy, and I get a nice, mellow orange flavor to it. No hint of alcohol of all.
Irish Cream: Mottled with white chocolate and darker chocolate flecks on top, so it reminded me of a bird’s egg. Quite pretty. The ganache inside is perfectly smooth and carried the Irish Cream flavor slightly. It doesn’t has a slight alcoholic burn to it, and that nice, lightly coffee boozy flavor I associate with Bailey’s. Lovely, really nicely balanced with the flavors of the smooth chocolate.
Tiramisu: Milk chocolate with white chocolate and dark chocolate lines and dots. This one I couldn’t tell if it was meant to be tiramisu or champagne, but this had a tinge more coffee flavor to it, so I decided it must be the former. You taste the alcohol with this fruity bitterness and a hint of coffee. It pairs beautifully with the dark chocolate ganache and the milk chocolate shell.
Double Latte: Beautiful white chocolate shell with a large milk chocolate spot on top. Smells extremely milky. The flavor is strong of coffee with the ganache tasting of a smooth, creamy, medium-bodied roast. So fresh and terribly flavorful.
Pomegranate: This one is creamy and milky looking on top, like cream just poured into coffee. The milk chocolate shell is hard with a nice creamy, sweet flavor. The ganache is smooth and chocolatey, and has a nice, lightly tart red fruity flavor to it. It’s hard to really identify pomegranate as an iconic flavor, but this does read a fruity and exotic, so I think the essence here is nicely captured.
Even though this is a Valentines Day box, you can find the same flavors in the Easter assortments. The 30th of June will be the last day of sales, with Easter being their last season. If my descriptions enticed you in the least, I recommend giving them a try before they disappear forever.
Rating: Will Buy Again
Links Joseph Schmidt Website