Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Best thing I ate this week: Petite Reve coconut chai infused chocolate truffle

"Don't do it if you're not passionate about it." That's what entrepreneur Kate Dunbar says about starting your own business. But she has nothing to worry about because she is beyond passionate about making decadent, high quality desserts with fresh, natural, and local ingredients.

She is a proud and busy mom of three, and the proud and busy owner of Petite Reve Chocolates - a new addition to the culinary scene in Ventura. Though right now most of her business is by special order, she's hoping to be at the Ojai and Ventura Farmer's markets in the next few months.

I met with her this week to talk about her business and taste her wares for a short piece I'm writing for Edible Ojai. I tasted flourless chocolate cake(above), buttery madeleines, and French macarons made with almond flour and filled with chocolate ganache. I tasted rich, dark chocolate brownies infused with different spice combinations and a towering crepe cake made (below) of 20 layers of handmade crêpes filled with a whipped chocolate ganache.

It was all insane and worthy of a thousand words, but OMG, the truffles were by far the best thing I ate this week. I tasted one that was infused with local honey and chipotle - it was sweet, spicy, and warming to the mouth. Another was infused with bits of pixie tangerine rind, blood orange rind, and meyer lemon rind.

But the true show stopper was the coconut chai infused truffle(from Ojai's very own Zhena's Gypsy Tea). Somehow Kate infuses each tiny little bite with the essence of this tea - and the mouth is bathed in chocolate, coconut, and a hint of spicy chai. The truffles are so decadent and rich that Kate suggests cutting each tiny little truffle into quarters and allowing them to melt slowly in the mouth. Trust me, these truffles are so good, you'll want the taste to last all day.