French and Belgian Truffles
Do you know your truffle from your praline? Chocolate suppliers most commonly stock French truffles and Belgian truffles, also known as pralines.
The chocolate truffle has delighted consumers’ palates and been a large part of chocolate suppliers’ trade for well over a century. There are many variations on this timeless formula, but the two most commonly encountered kinds of truffle are the French and the Belgian truffle.
The Belgian Truffle
Belgian chocolatiers do not actually use the term “truffle”, preferring to call their product “pralines”. Most chocolate suppliers, however, group them under the truffle umbrella. The filling, either ganache or praliné (praliné comprises chocolate, cream, butter and either hazelnuts or almonds, either of which is caramelised and powdered before being mixed in), is piped into an existing hard chocolate shell. While a Belgian truffle can be filled with ganache or praliné, Belgian chocolatiers call it “praline” regardless. These treats also exist in France, where they are known as bonbons.
Because the shell is rigid, a well-tempered Belgian praline can be subject to all kinds of careful sculpture and ornamentation, making them popular among chocolate suppliers as a statement piece, either on their own or as a part of a box.
The French Truffle
French truffles are a little different, and more difficult to handle due to the fact that they include a large quantity of fresh, perishable cream. The production process is relatively simple: cream is carefully heated and then poured over bits of chocolate. The mixture is stirred together to give a glossy, smooth mixture with no lumps. If the truffle is to be flavoured (often with alcoholic drinks, coffee or fruit extracts) it is done at this stage.
After the filling has been prepared, it is left to cool and set. If done correctly, it will be firm but smooth and pliable when bitten into. It is also not brittle, unlike ordinary chocolate, and so can be rolled into a roughly spherical shape, after which it is dusted with a coating. The coating is often made of cocoa powder, but can also be made of chopped or ground nuts.
As mentioned above, the French truffle can be a challenge for chocolate suppliers due to the large amounts of perishable cream used in their production. This means that they have a short shelf life, which many chocolatiers have tried to extend. Methods for increasing the shelf life of French truffles include giving them a hard chocolate shell as a sort of seal, or using carefully designed thermos-sealed packaging. Additionally, if made with real spirits, a significant ethanol content can lead to a longer shelf-life.
Both styles of chocolate have enjoyed enduring popularity and are frequently requested together in most wholesale chocolate orders. It is recommended that all chocolate merchants source a high quality, reliable manufacturer for both kinds, due to the consumer’s appetite for both.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Angelina Moufftard works for hf Chocolates, a company selling high quality wholesale sweets to the retail trade and others who wish to purchase wholesale quantities of chocolate and confectionery. Renowned since 1957, we've sourced the best suppliers from France, Spain, Germany, Holland, Belgium, the USA and UK. Our great tasting and beautifully packaged products also represent excellent value for money.