What Is a Chocolate Truffle and Why Is It Called That?

Don’t be shy, it’s okay to ask the question, “What is a chocolate truffle?” It’s okay that you googled it. And it’s okay that you’re reading this. You still deserve chocolate truffles. Chocolate truffles are some of the best Valentine’s Day treats out there (they’re better than the heart-shaped box of chocolates and much better than the chocolate-shaped box of hearts), but what are they? (Besides delicious, of course.) Allow me to answer all your chocolate truffle questions. 

What are chocolate truffles?

Chocolate truffles are spherical chocolate confections characterized by a smooth, velvety ganache center coated with cocoa powder or a chocolate shell. These sweet treats are named after the prized fungi truffles, owing to their similar appearance (and because they are both hunted by pigs—only in the case of chocolate truffles, the pig is me). Chocolate truffles come in a variety of flavors beyond dark chocolate. They’re often flavored with liqueurs, coffee, spices, nuts, and they can be dipped in any type of chocolate or even rolled in nuts. There’s a lot you can do with a chocolate truffle. It’s almost as versatile as the other kind of truffle—though it’s not quite as good shaved onto pasta. 

What are chocolate truffles made of?

The primary components of chocolate truffles include: chocolate (come on, you knew that one), heavy cream, butter, and additional flavorings like extracts (vanilla, almond, or orange, for example), liqueurs (such as Grand Marnier or Chambord), or ingredients like spices or finely grated citrus zest. 

Why are chocolate truffles called truffles?

Chocolate truffles are named after the heady, underground fungi of the same name. According to chocolate legend (and the Chocolate Museum), an apprentice in the kitchen of famed French chef Auguste Escoffier accidentally created ganache by spilling hot cream into a bowl full of chocolate. He mixed it up anyway, found the mix could be easily molded, and decided to roll the ganache into balls, then coat them in cocoa powder. His creations were called truffles because the nobbly little balls looked like truffles, the fungi. 

Why are chocolate truffles expensive?

Chocolate truffles are often expensive because they are made with high quality ingredients. They’re also occasionally made by hand, and sold in luxe packaging. All of those factors increase their price. Plus, many truffles are “limited edition” for seasonal holidays, thus ripe for a higher price based on customer desire. I mean, some of these things are made with edible gold, so they’re going to be a pretty penny!  

Do chocolate truffles have truffles in them?

No, traditional chocolate truffles do not contain actual truffles, although it could be fun to bury them in the forest and see what a truffle hunter might do once they find a chocolate one. Give it a try! 

About the Author

Joe Rumrill

Joe Rumrill is a fictional one-eyed spinach-loving sailor created in 1929 by E.C Se- Wait, no, that's not right... Joe Rumrill is a stand up comedian and writer currently based in Los Angeles. His favorite thing about food is a close tie between the taste and the nutrients one gets from it. His least favorite thing about it is the "gritty, dirt-like quality some food has", but he's most likely referring to the time in third grade he was dared to eat playground sand.

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