If you're looking for the perfect Valentine's chocolate, there are lots of options, but if you or your loved one is a fan of fine spirits, consider these selections.
BonBonBars Bourbon Bars
Just in time for Valentine's Day, Nina Wanat has done it again. Wanat, the Chocolate genius from BonBonBar, excels at making gourmet candy bars and has a knack for sniffing out the best quality ingredients. I first wrote about BonBonBar after tasting the excellent single malt Scotch bar using smoky Talisker as the key ingredient. Since then, I've tasted just about everything they have to offer and have corresponded with Nina here and there. She impresses me as someone who is always thinking about flavor and as a true artisan who literally does everything herself and uses only the finest quality ingredients.
It shouldn't have surprised me that in picking a Bourbon to use in a candy bar, she would reach for the king of all Bourbons: George T. Stagg. For those of you who don't know, Stagg is a high proof, limited release Bourbon made by the Buffalo Trace distillery. It is one of the most loved of all whiskies by aficionados and packs a powerful and complex flavor punch. Released each fall, Stagg is snatched off of store shelves almost immediately, so if you didn't get some last year, you may have to wait until next fall. Luckily, Nina snatched a bottle.
The BonBonBar Bourbon bar contains a smooth chocolate Bourbon ganache, topped with caramel, coated in chocolate, sprinkled with Maldon salt and pepper and topped with a crispy corn wafer. Be aware that this is not a Bourbon ball or a liquor filled chocolate. The Bourbon's presence is subtle and comes only after the dark chocolate, caramel, salt and just a touch of pepper have washed over your palate. As with all of Nina's offerings, it's a composition of flavors that comes together remarkably well, though I've heard several people wish there was a stronger Bourbon flavor.
BonBonBars has relocated from LA to San Francisco, but you can order Bourbon bars ($15 for a box of 3) and other treats on their website.
FTC Disclaimer: In my order, which I paid for, Nina slipped in a few extra bars.
Valerie Confections' Champagne Truffles
Valerie Confections, purveyor of fine toffee and lovely liquid caramels has a few new items of note, including a very nice rose and passion-fruit truffle. My favorite, though, is their champagne truffle. If you like Teuscher's famous champagne truffles, you will be blown away by these velvety smooth truffles flavored with Taittinger. They have a refined Champagne flavor but also a strong chocolate that is missing from Teuscher's. Valerie also has a single malt truffle using Macallan 10 year old, which is nice but not as exciting as their Champagne truffles.
3360 W. First Street
Los Angeles, CA 90004
Have a spirited, chocolaty Valentine's Day!