Box Chocolate Review

Lillie Belle

Info Details
Country USA   (Jacksonville, OR)
Style Old School      
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.
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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