I was so sad and disappointed to miss the 2017 D.C. Chocolate Festival, but some of my coworkers were able to attend in my place. They happily sent me pictures of their loot and in person I got to sample some of their bars. Not only did I learn about La Naya this way, but I also got to try a piece of an Elements Truffles bar. It was exciting to learn about chocolate brands I hadn’t tried before through my coworkers and I knew some day I had to get my hands on Elements Truffles for myself. I managed to make an order when Chocolate Connoisseur temporarily had a sale.
If you LOVE chocolate and enjoy perusing magazines, I recommend subscribing for the Chocolate Connoisseur magazine. It doesn’t come to you in the mail (it’s their way of saving the trees), but you get email updates whenever a new issue comes out and you can read those issues after logging into their website. Thanks to the October issue, an article written by Eric Battersby (the lead writter and editor-in-chief of Chocolate Connoisseur) came out covering the story behind Elements Truffles. I believe you have to be subscribed to read the full article, so I’ll share some of the interesting points.
Alak Vasa, the woman behind Elements Truffles, grew fond of chocolate through the treats her father would bring back on his trips to Europe. Her favorite combination was chocolate with fruity flavors, like those chocolate oranges. Like many chocolate makers and chocolatiers, Alak started her career in a completely different field but had her own chocolate drawer at work to help her get through stressful times.
What also helped her get through tough times was yoga and meditation, which eventually led her to Ayurveda, a form of food science and nutrition. “Ayurveda is based on the philosophy that the universe is made up of 5 elements — fire, water, earth, space and air — and that these five elements also exist in our physical body.” Depending on a person’s personality and preferences, one or two of these elements can dominate. Meditation and Ayurveda helps the body maintain balance. As Alak created recipes to make her chocolate, she looked for balance and to help consumers experience happiness and an uplifted feeling.
Alak’s chocolate is made using Peruvian Criollo beans and sweetened with raw honey from New Jersey. What sets her apart from other chocolatiers is she uses Ayurvedic “super foods” such as beet and turmeric (which you’ll see soon). The top selling bar is the sea salt + turmeric apparently because “people are very intrigued by the infusion of healthy turmeric.”
On the back of every bar there’s a description of what Ayurveda means, as well as the specific super food in the chocolate.
I could smell both the peppermint and the lavender, though the peppermint was slightly stronger in scent and it was refreshing. I’ve usually foundd lavender to be very strong to the point of overwhelming my senses in dark chocolate, but in this experience, the peppermint was more intense yet surprisingly not overwhelming. The lavender remained relatively subtle throughout my bite.
The rose scent was amazing! It reminded me of this rose perfume my Oma (German for “grandma”) had gifted my sister and I when we were very young. The cardamom scent was subtle, as was the flavor in comparison to the rose. The dried rose bits on the back of the bar gave a touch of salty flavor, but only in fleeting moments. The overall flavor of the strong rose with subtle cardamom was intense but unique.
I could barely smell turmeric, but otherwise the bar smelled chocolatey. I tasted the salt first since I put my bite salt-side down. The sea salt was only sprinkled on the back of the bar, so it lasted for a very short time. The turmeric was subtle throughout the rest of the chocolate. I wish I could have experienced more of the sea salt, but otherwise the subtle turmeric was very nice. I can see how this bar would be the most popular. I wonder if the other bar combinations can seem daunting to consumers not adjusted to more adventurous flavors.
The scent of raspberry was amazing from this bar! It reminded me of fruit smoothies. The flavor was immediately sweet and slightly tart from the dried raspberries on the back of the bar. The beet flavor was subtle, which was a relief since I’m not a huge fan of beet. I tend to stay away from those cold pressed drinks with beet in them, but I wouldn’t mind consuming beet in this bar. Raspberries in chocolate is one of my favorite combinations and this bar fed that preference 🙂
Usually I don’t like orange + dark chocolate since it’s a common combination (you see it a lot in grocery store bars), but orange + pistachio + turmeric is new and unique. The orange scent was very present with subtle turmeric. With the pistachio-side down on my tongue, I first tasted orange followed by subtle turmeric. The pistachios gave a pleasant crunch to the bar though I didn’t really taste them. Like the peppermint in the peppermint lavender bar, the orange essential oil in this bar was refreshing.
My fiancé tried these bars with me and he liked the peppermint lavender and orange pistachio turmeric bars, but his top favorite was raspberry beetroot. My favorites were the peppermint lavender and sea salt turmeric, but my top favorite was also the raspberry beetroot.
Rather than experience an unfolding flavor story, each of the bars’ flavor profile plateaued and didn’t change from the beginning to the end of my bite. Every bar was also similar in that one flavor was dominant while the other was subtle. There was a nice balance between the two dominant flavors with no competition. The texture of the chocolate itself was smooth and it melted quickly.
My fiancé and I came to the conclusion that while these bars offered a very interesting experience, the flavors are quite intense and we’d only be able to savor one bite per day. Despite this, I’m glad to have finally tried Elements Truffles and I was able to try some unique combinations!
Elements Truffles: Made in Kearny, NJ