Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Joseph Schmidt

Joseph Schmidt is a high-end chocolatier based in San Francisco and known for their stunningly beautiful sculptural creations of chocolate. I went to their shop and picked up the ugliest chocolates I could find, cuz I’m like that.


Okay, maybe they’re not the ugliest chocolates I’ve ever had, certainly some of my homemade creations have been pretty homely. The candy above is a strange disk of chocolate referred to as a Batik Slick. Sounds as good as it looks, eh?

It’s simply a very flat truffle. The disk has a little batik-inspired pattern on the top and a lightly flavored ganache in the center. It’s a lot of chocolate and very little filling.


They came in a box of four, weighed in at 3 ounces and had a strange design of bats made from artisan paper and gold googly eyes on the outside. (I bought them on November 1st ... they were from Halloween and 25% off). I have no idea what the different flavors are.

Dark Chocolate with Yellow Tulip may have been rum. Sweet and mellow, a bit creamy and with no real notable flavor except for maybe a hint of bubble gum. Milk Chocolate with Full Moon tasted a bit like coconut. Very sweet and a little greasy. Red-Centered Chocolate Blob had a nice milk chocolatey taste, smooth and creamy. Yellow Burst with Green tasted like lemon. How nice! I like lemon. The dark chocolate was very sweet but creamy and set off the zesty taste.

imageThe truffles are a bit more traditional, except for the fact that they look like the nose cone of a missile. I’ve never been fond of molded chocolates, for some reason I prefer enrobed or dipped chocolates. I don’t know if it’s the rustic look or there’s actually some difference in the chocolate structurally. I’ve had Joseph Schmidt truffles before a few times but I’d never been able to pick them out myself. So at the store I picked the “mini” version because I thought the large ones were just so freakin’ huge that I’d want to eat them with a knife and fork ala Mr. Pitt.

This one is Raspberry Brandy and is nice and dark with a soft and flowing ganache. The shell cracks and falls apart quite easily but has a nice mellow and smoky taste to go with the raspberry infusion.


The other flavors were just as acceptable though nothing thrilling. Pecan Praline was sweet and woodsy, but more maple flavor than nutty. All Dark gave me a good sense of the chocolate, which is Belgian and smooth but the ganache was more buttery than chocolatey. Grand Marnier was ordinary, a touch of orange but it seemed lost in the butter and underwhelming chocolate.

I guess I just don’t understand the fuss about Joseph Schmidt. They’re interesting and certainly less expensive (about $25-$55 a pound) than some of the upscale chocolatiers out there makin’ noise. I have nothing against the tried-and-true flavors either (I’m a See’s nut, remember?) I just wasn’t satisfied after eating them.

Name: Batik Slicks & Assorted Mini Truffles
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 4 BENIGN
Brand: Joseph Schmidt
Place Purchased: Joseph Schmidt (San Francisco)
Price: $11.00 & $1.00 each
Size: 3 ounces & unknown
Calories per ounce: 133
Categories: Chocolate, United States, Chocolatier

POSTED BY Cybele AT 8:27 am Tracker Pixel for Entry    

  1. Hey Cybele, I read your blog daily.  Keep up the great work, and give us info on your novel when it gets published.

    If I have a complaint about this site, it’s that you review a lot of upscale chocolates that are both prohibitively expensive and largely unavailable to people who don’t live in the area.  (I’m not willing to pay that price, plus mail-order for stale chocolate, every city has their own up-scale chocolate places.)

    I guess I would like to see more cheap and widely available candy/chocolate.  Of course, it’s your blog and I’ll continue to read it regardless.

    Comment by Helen A. Handbasket on 1/09/07 at 8:51 am #
  2. I met Joseph Schmidt recently when he was doing a tour around the area and he was really nice and I really enjoyed the Batik Slicks. I like them better than his normal truffles because I feel like those have too large and hard of a chocolate coating.

    BTW I don’t think you cover too many upscale chocolates - I’ve seen you do Kit Kat and other Hershey stuff more than the truffles. Great job!

    Comment by Elspeth on 1/09/07 at 9:52 am #
  3. I like the “up scale” reviews a tone, because it lets you see the chocolates and read proper reviews about each chocolate before forking out a small fortune on what might not be worth it.

    Comment by A on 1/09/07 at 10:13 am #
  4. oh i also just have to say i agree about the molded chocolates im not a fan either, i think something just seems cheep and uninteresting about them :o\

    Comment by A on 1/09/07 at 10:18 am #
  5. as far as upscale chocolates are concerned, i’ve always found joseph schmidt to be lacking.  the flavors just don’t… “pop”? 

    honestly, the only $$$ chocolates i’ve had that consistently surpassed good ol’ See’s were from Harrod’s.

    Comment by ruffy on 1/09/07 at 10:57 am #
  6. Hi Cybele,

    I’m always happy to see a lackluster review of upscale chocolates—helps me feel like I’m not missing out on anything. 

    I know you have a lot of righteous candy on deck to review, particularly in the midst of “candy season,” but I wondered if you’d be willing to give the “fruit snack” type candies a whirl?  Do you know what I’m talking about?  They’re basically a gummi-bear type candy injected with vitamin C and sold in boxes of 8 - 12 single-serving packages for parents to buy as snacks for their kids—usually situated in the vicinity of the granola bars and pop-tarts. I know Brach’s does them, but I think some other companies do, too—all of whom try very hard to make these seem like real food.  Still, they’re basically candy (which was why my daughter’s preschool banned them from lunches). 

    I’d be interested in your expert opinion on these kinds of snacks.  Are they tasty and pleasurable enough to justify the sugar intake (for those of us who’d rather see our kids get their vitamins from real fruit but appreciate the fun and convenience of these kinds of prepackaged snacks now and then)—or are we better off just buying our kids regular candy every once in a while?

    Comment by good enough cook on 1/09/07 at 11:07 am #
  7. Hi Cybele,

    I agree with you on the molded chocolates—they tend to be really hard as Elspeth noted. I envy the shiny appearance sometimes. I have to admit I haven’t tried using molds much. I think they have promise when really gooey fillings are concerned, especially if you want to layer more than one filling. Molds also offer different ways to decorate, I’m just tired of the warhead shape.

    Comment by brian on 1/09/07 at 11:20 am #
  8. i also feel that joseph schmidt truffles are way overrated. his creations are beautiful, but i find that the outer shell is too hard, and inner filling is too goopy in contrast. i’d much rather have see’s!

    Comment by carol on 1/09/07 at 12:01 pm #
  9. Not to jump on the bandwagon or anything, but I bought a selection of the truffles a year or two back and found them to be a big disappointment.  They were good but I was expecting something a bit more spectacular.  And the thick shell with it’s thick base just takes a pet peeve of mine to a new extreme.

    Comment by william on 1/09/07 at 5:13 pm #
  10. Tulip? Since these are a halloween assortment, maybe it was a squash blossom (before it turned into a pumpkin squash…) Actually, I thought it was a squirrel at first, and I thought “Red-Centered Chocolate Blob” was a turkey… (looking at the photo, before I read the ‘halloween’ part)

    Comment by Tricia on 1/10/07 at 5:26 am #
  11. Cybele's avatar

    Helen - thanks for the note about my review choices. I try to make the high end proportion about 1 in 10 (two posts a month). Maybe on those days I’ll throw in an additional consumer candy.

    Elspeth - I put you on my vox neighborhood!

    A - I think the molded chocolate thing may be part of what’s always bugged me about Godiva too.

    Ruffy - exactly, it’s that they’re not so flavorful ... or that I didnt’ pick out the flavorful flavors.

    good enough cook - it’s weird that you ask about fruit snacks and such, because I actually eat those kinds of things quite a bit. I’ll try to scare up some consumer ones (not the weird stuff in the bulk bins that I can’t figure out). I was a huge fiend for apricot fruit rollups as a kid. I’m of the mind that small amounts of real candy (especially when it’s good quality chocolate with nuts) can be just fine for kids. SweeTarts and other pure sugar snacks are probably the ones to avoid.

    Brian - yeah, the shiny uniformity is appealing, especially when in the store looking at the case.

    carol - yeah, I just ate the last Awesome Nougat bar on my holiday trip ... I’m missin’ my See’s.

    william - I’m glad to hear your opinion, William, cuz I worry that sometimes I take the money part into account too much.

    tricia - a turkey? I dunno, maybe it’s a chocolate snowman with a large surgery scar.

    Comment by Cybele on 1/11/07 at 11:46 am #
  12. Hi,

    This is a new comment to an old post, but it caught my eye. Many years ago, I worked at Joseph Schmidt (also Ghirardelli and some non-local choc places) just as sales and packaging staff. Before Hershey purchased Schmidt, they had these amazing little handmade chocolates called Europas. I always preferred them over the slicks and dome truffles, and hope they’ll bring at least a few of the favorites back some day.

    Thanks for keeping this blog. I just set up a feed, so I can keep up with your findings.


    Comment by Lilli on 11/09/07 at 10:45 am #
  13. I just tried a Joseph Schmidt truffle in the red wrapper and it is the best chocolate I have ever had. I’m an avid See’s fan, but in my opinion, this surpasses anything See’s has made. Can I order candy online or do I have to drive into the city to purchase these?

    Comment by Colleen Pratt on 10/05/09 at 6:36 am #
  14. Cybele's avatar

    Colleen - Joseph Schmidt was bought out by Hershey’s several year ago. Earlier this year they announced that the company was to be shut down. They closed their doors in June.

    Comment by Cybele on 10/05/09 at 6:44 am #
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