Box Chocolate Review

Lillie Belle

Info Details
Country USA   (Jacksonville, OR)
Style Old School      
lo
med
hi
CQ
Sweetness
Intensity
Complexity
Impact
Jeff Shepard, the granger force behind Lillie Belle Farm, is a tie-dyed Tolstoy & leader of the cocoa-pack coming out Oregon, at least in terms of visibility. Fanatical, fierce, & fearless chocolate-making.
Presentation   4.1 / 5
simple arts & crafts; all hand-made, many enrobed, some molded w/ playful graphics adding literal eye-candy alluding to the flavors
Aromas   3.8 / 5
chocolate earth-tones subserviant to fruit notes
Textures/Melt   7.3 / 10
Shells: medium gauge coatings
Centers: variable from luscious creams to toothsome caramel
Flavor   43.1 / 50
incomparably fresh; forceful & focused, well-stated elements w/o the blare, much of it grown on Lillie Belle’s own farm before being sealed in chocolate
Quality   24.2 / 30
Couple years back, Jeff Shepard was the nicest maker of feeble product & waster of fine elements. Lately, he’s been bringing thunder; easily the most improved line in the NYC Chocolate Show.
Selections
Couverture: moving toward in-house production; otherwise, Dagoba (primarily Pacuare from Costa Rica, & Conacado as well as Felchlin’s Elvesia in the mix [both from Dominican Rep.]; all in all a smoked earth flavor tone)
Marion Berry Cordial – signature piece; notable for its rarity; grown on Lillie Belle’s own Farm; pretty wet pie-filling... all excellent
Almond Fig – fresh fig-ooze rolled in crushed almonds; the 2 big buddies almost knock each other down & cancel one another out until the chocolate referee steps in w/ a splash of rum
Banana Ganache – optical illusion on the design; clasic A-B-A pattern as initial chocolate yields to mid-palate rush of infused flavor regained by chocolate at the finish
Chipotle – flashpoint pepper holds the center in a long & strong time release just short of burning
Raspberry Cordial – berry smuckers right off the bush bursts alive & ultrafluid
Strawberry Cordial – another oozy ejaculate; quality elements wrap around each other, tightly enmeshed
Pistachio – perhaps best of selection
Cinnamon Ganache – straight delivery til a tar back-peel in the after-length
Orange – fleeting & mysterious w/ a Lavender-like middle flash; superb
Lavender Caramel – a taste/texture differentiator... tractor pull, stiff chewy workout, tough enough to buff a fingernail, contrastive to infused filigree of the lavender lightly perfuming the caramel
Coconut Ginger – blob ball
Hazelnut Buttercream – unhappening
Spicy Pecan Toffee – spicey can be dicey; this a butter rich, sugar plump w/ a spice rack hit then a nut crunch to magnify the 3-D FXs; skilled
Cocoa Nib Toffee – same as its Pecan brethren ‘cept the description “as you chew the carmelized sugar & nibs together you’re actually making chocolate”; before long, clever Jeff Shepard will have his customers make all his chocolate
Smokey Blue Truffle – Where Kekau’s roquefort matches up respectably w/ an Ecuador cacáo, this is pitted against Felchlin’s underperforming Elvesia , & the winner is... neither; instead sugar carries the load until penicillium bacteria finishes it off; tough medicine
Pumpkin Spice – Dark Chocolate encases a sweetly balanced pumpkin spice mix (cinnamon / clove)
Coconut Truffle – Ultra creamy White-on-White, w/ lemon echoes rolled in coconut crunch for textured contrast
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