Ever gobbled down a chocolate truffle — then wished that truffle had been bigger? If size matters, try Coco-Zen
’s large dessert truffles — giant choco-orbs of organic, fair trade goodness.
Coco-Zen makes bite-sized truffles too, but the large dessert truffles in the company's fancy gift section — dubbed Truffles To-Go — really are quite massive. I bit into the balls in the new vegan 4-Tier Signature Sampler
— and because I wanted to try each of the four flavors, I couldn’t finish any single truffle. Yes, those are my teeth marks below!
The big balls come from a small company. Founded by Joyce Kushner, who makes all the truffles herself in a small kitchen in northern California, Coco-Zen
is a cute chocolate confection company that creates its concoctions from Sweet Earth
’s fair trade and organic bulk chocolate.
The 4-Tier Signature Sampler packs 20 large dessert truffles into a reusable four-tier Indian tiffin — thereby encouraging your giftee to start using the tiffin to pack a zero-waste lunch — once done with the truffles. Each tier contains five truffles of a different flavor — all now also available in vegan versions, which replace organic cream with organic coconut milk — a switcheroo that coconut-lovers like me will especially enjoy.
In fact, my favorite flavor was the Dark Chocolate truffle — an intense, rich coconut-infused chocolate experience. The Chocolate Mint Bliss was refreshingly cool — with none of the synthetic taste some artificial mint chocolates tend to have. The Chocolate Chai Spice had a powerful kick of spices, and the Chocolate Orange Blossom was a milder truffle, with a more muted orange taste topped with crunchy almond slices. All flavors were more lightly sweetened, relying on the chocolate and other quality ingredients to enrich the sensory experience.
Because the vegan truffles are still new, some shipping kinks are still being worked out. Joyce put little chocolate dots atop the vegan versions to distinguish them from the non-vegan ones — but the dots actually gave the truffles too much height, which meant a few of my truffles arrived cracked. That will change with future shipments according to Joyce, who also says she’s happy to replace any goods damaged in shipping.
While I loved biting into these decadent truffles, I honestly found these big truffles — dare I say it? — too big! Each truffle seems almost like a meal; eating one will have you bouncing off the walls if you’re caffeine sensitive. More importantly, the huge size of the truffles made for a too-imbalanced choco-coat versus flavored-middle ratio. My favorite bite of the Chocolate Orange Blossom, for example, was the nibble off the top, when I got a satisfying bite of the almond topping crunch along with the dark chocolate coating and orange-infused middle. After that, the rest of the truffle — and really, I still had 80 percent of the truffle to go — felt like overkill.
That’s just to say I’m glad Coco-Zen also makes smaller truffles, too! For the Zen-curious, there’s the Truffles-To-Go: Signature Sampler
— a tin of eight, bite-sized truffle cup that lets you sample all four signature flavors — for just $8 a tin.