Monday, May 19, 2008

Lillie Belle Farms Assortment

I picked up a short assortment of Lillie Belle Farms chocolates while I was in San Francisco. I got the Cayenne Caramels, Smokey Blue Cheese Truffles, Lavender Caramel & Marzipan Fig. They each came in a set of two, just tucked simply into a cellophane bag, for the rather reasonable price of $4 per pair (except for the Cayenne Caramels, they’re small so there were three of those).

Lillie Belle Farms Chocolates

I liked the ability to pick and chose what I was going to get. I’ve see Lillie Belle Farms at Whole Foods, but usually just the blue cheese 5 pieces and for Candy Blog purposes, I really want a variety. But having two of each means I get a pretty strong sense of each chocolate.

Jeff Shepherd runs Lillie Belle Farms, and it’s a real farm in Oregon (not some made up name), certified organic,  where he grows marionberries, raspberries & strawberries. That’s another thing that sets these chocolates apart, they’re not named for the creator, one of the few chocolatiers that’s not. (Exceptions: Godvia, Vosges & Hotel Chocolat.) Well, that’s not quite true, Lillie Belle Farms was named for Jeff’s daughter, Lillie and his wife Belle.

Lillie Belle Farms Spicy CaramelsCayenne Caramels

These are adorable little chocolate buttons. The only molded chocolate in the bunch.

It has to be molded because the caramel filling is downright flowing. It’s smooth, without a hint of grain and with an authentic creamy toasted sugar taste.

And when it says cayenne, it’s not kidding. There’s the initial squeal of hot pepper and then this low lingering burn afterwards. Unfortunately I’m a bit of wuss and thought it was too strong. Perhaps if I was eating them in combination with other chocolates (and the smaller size is welcome in that respect), but as solo pieces I really only think they’re going to be loved by folks who have that iron constitution.

Lillie Belle Farms - Rum & Fig TruffleMarzipan Fig

I had no idea what this was, the package simply said Rum & Fig, which sounded like a fabulous combination in my book. Since it was wrapped in foil, I had no idea that it also included nuts. (I didn’t know what kind of nuts and didn’t have the internet handy so I made my husband eat one in order to confirm that it was almonds and not walnuts.)

Once on the internet I found that it’s rum & spice poached black mission fig which is then wrapped in marzipan and then dipped in chocolate & rolled in crushed almonds.

It was like, well, nothing else. It smells drunk, like amaretto and rum. The crunchy almonds are held together by a bit of a chocolate shell. The combination of chocolate and fig is quite difficult, as many of the fig flavors overpower the chocolate. Even though I didn’t catch much chocolate here, all the flavors worked so well together. It didn’t come off as sweet or decadent, but so complex, like hearing a song that will become your favorite for the first time and just wanting to hit replay a few times.

Lillie Belle Farms - Salted Lavender CaramelLavender Fleur du Sel Caramels

A stiff and chewy caramel, very smooth chew with a strong lavender zest to it (or whatever you call the oily essence of lavender). The chocolate and salt complement this well, I’m not sure if the caramel was too hard for me or not, it’s hard to tell when the pieces are a bit below room temperature.

It’s sweet and mellow and really the perfect texture of caramel for me, an ideal combination of sugar and cream that brings out the burnt sugar notes. That darkness combines well with lavender, which I find to be a darker essence like rosemary.

Lillie Belle Farms - Smoky Blue Cheese TruffleSmokey Blue Truffles

I believe this is what’s known as a signature piece. The ganache is mixed with Rogue Creamery’s Smokey Blue Cheese and then rolled in crushed toasted almonds. It looks kind of like a little cheese ball, and smells a bit like it too.

There is no hint of sweetness here. It’s tangy and smooth and has a bit of biting bitter hint. The nuts are probably the sweetest thing in the mix and provide a great crunch. As a piece of confection, it’s not quite satisfying since it’s rather salty. As something to just ignore labels and eat ... well, now there’s the way to wrap your brain around it. I do wonder how it would taste smeared on a table water cracker.

I’m definitely interested in picking up some more of Shepherd’s pieces, I chose the ones that I thought were most distinctive (that I could get my hands on) but there are far more that seem to be available only through his store, so when the weather cools off, I’ll probably place an order. Or visit his shop in Central Point, Oregon (north of Medford):

Lillie Belle Farms
211 N. Front st.
Central Point, OR

Name: Chocolate Assortment: Caramels, Rum & Fig + Smokey Blue Cheese
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 4 BENIGN
Brand: Lillie Belle Farms
Place Purchased: Chocolate Covered (San Francisco)
Price: $4 for set of 2 or 3
Size: unknown
Calories per ounce: unknown
Categories: Chocolate, Caramel, United States, All Natural, Chocolatier

POSTED BY Cybele AT 3:40 am Tracker Pixel for Entry    

  1. These sounds really good. I’m not a big fan of spicy stuff (read:  wuss) but my roommate likes to cry when she eats. I might have to get some of these for her.  Another to add to my list of why I should visit Oregon at some point.

    Comment by g on 5/19/08 at 5:10 am #
  2. I’m STILL kicking myself for forgetting to stop by their booth at the Chocolate Show! *kick kick kick*!

    Comment by Sera on 5/19/08 at 5:21 pm #
  3. They all sound pretty tasty to me, except maybe the blue cheese one. Don’t get me wrong, I love blue cheese-but I prefer it melted on a burger not coated in chocolate!

    Comment by Veronica on 5/20/08 at 3:40 am #
  4. hey cybele! thanks for the thoughts. I like your description of the marzipan/fig. That piece is NOT about the chocolate, its about that combination of flavors of the fig/almond/rum spices. It tastes like the thought of christmas.

    The smokey does indeed surprise everyone. Even though its made of milk chocolate it isnt sweet ata ll. The blend of smoked blue cheese, milk chocolate, cream and almonds balances out to a slightly tangy chocolate cheesecake with a smoked almond crust kinda thing. They are great crushed between a hunk of hot crusty bread!

    The lavender caramels are our number one seller. That has become our signature piece, but they do need to be eaten at room temp.

    anyway, for you folks who might get up to oregon stop by our new shop. I have created some 30 new flavors just for the store that will never be on the websoite. Micro-batch exotics and retro traditionals that come oand go with my daily muse.


    Comment by jeff the chef on 5/24/08 at 5:33 am #
  5. Blue cheese and chocolate yum! Those are some of my favorite things!!!! It sounds tastey yet freaky at the same time i cant wait to try it!

    Comment by Candy Lover on 7/10/08 at 5:42 am #
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