Living in the Lap of Chocolate Luxury
Having grown up in The Fudge Shoppe, I had what many think of as a childhood dream come true. I was always surrounded by my loving family and thousands upon thousands of pounds of chocolate and candy. My Easter basket was always loaded with unique, quality confections and I had early access to the latest sweet trends in the candy world. I feasted on delicious dainties that never made it past the prototype stages (don’t bother asking. My memory of them was erased.), tasted our competitors' most sought after chocolates and had my pick of our most exclusive products.
But in all my years of living and working within the candy industry, no chocolate has been so extremely polarized as the Cordial Cherry.
It's sadly common for visitors to browse our store and shiver as their eyes pass by the Cordial Cherry Assortment. In the worst cases the hair on the back of their neck stands up and they emit a low whining sound. And who can blame them? The world is full of monstrously gross Cordial Cherries being sold from big box stores or companies that never thought to innovate and improve!
But more often than not, when offered a taste, these same individuals will walk out our front door with more than one Cordial Cherry in hand.
So what makes the cordial difference? Why are we so proud of a product that others are embarrassed to even list on their websites? What actually makes a good cordial cherry? The answer is “simplicity through excellence.”
A Superior Cordial Cherry
Many years ago, when Rich first began to think about how we could craft our own cordial cherries he was told, “you’ve got to add a lot of cherry flavoring otherwise people just won’t taste the cherry.” That was stupid advice.
“We discovered that if we use the best maraschino cherries we could find, their flavor could speak for itself and there’s no need to add to it.” And so the process of making these cordials begins here, with high quality maraschino cherries.
First, the cherries are poured into a strainer to remove the majority of the exterior juices. Letting them sit for too long or too short a time comes with their own sets of dangers so, like in so many of the other products we create, timing is a complex and an absolutely necessary element of a perfect cordial.
The strained cherries are now loaded into the drum, and spun with sugar until a pink, round coating of a very particular size has been achieved. “This is the same process that is used to make jelly beans, raisinettes and other panned items like malt balls. It's actually hundreds of years old and unbelievably pre-dates electric motors,” mentions Rich.
“We use a specific type of sugar which tends the sugar away from crystallization, and so as a result, instead of getting harder, these cherries become juicier. It’s one of the many secret weapons in making a superior Cordial Cherry.”
This is a BIG deal people. If you’ve had a bad Cordial Cherry experience, it could have to do with cheap maraschinos or crap chocolate with tons of unpronounceable additives, but most likely, it came down to the shameful, fondant goo they called “cordial”. Quick, make a warding sign! "There's no place like home. There's no place like home." Think of something cute!
A brief review.
The first component in high-quality Cordial Cherry is the maraschino cherry. You can’t skimp on the base ingredient! Second; special secret sugar. Next up, (this one is obvious) premium quality chocolate.
“We double coat our cherries to get the leaking down a minimum and to really lock in those juices
...kinda like a fine steak,”
“Each coat is thin so the chocolate stays balanced with the cordial cherry’s flavor.”
The Final Surprising (?) Component
The final element in crafting an exceptional cordial is an optimal resting period, assuming the chocolate has been tempered properly. As chocolate cools, the beta crystals set, eventually achieving that longed after shell.
Rich explains, “there’s that snap of the chocolate on the outside. It’s not crunchy but it is something that you are biting through. Instantly your mouth is exposed to the sweet juice of the cordial and then you get that cherry in the center.”
The Bourbon Factor
Personally (and this is deeply personal, so let’s keep it between you and me), I think one of the greatest, most delicious innovations within our company's lifetime, has been the development of our Bourbon Cordial Cherries.
For bourbon fans, think of this as a chocolate covered “Old Fashioned”...
Many years ago, we did as we always do when innovating; we followed our pallets and our personal interests and, truth be told, the first batches were mostly for our personal enjoyment.
These incredibly small batches of what we called “Cherry Bombs” were more of a party trick we’d offer our business partners and unsuspecting friends. But as our cordial recipe slowly progressed over the years towards its current form, we discovered that we had unintentionally developed a product that was, in regards to taste, completely outside the boundaries of our other products.
Now I love singular tasting experiences; bold or deep textures and tastes are my number one love language so here’s my final word on Bourbon Cordial Cherries: put this piece on your bucket list!
The full-bodied flavor of the bourbon cordial adds a unique warmth which beautifully compliments both the chocolate and cherry while the gentle peatiness pulls forward those sweet elements, bringing a complex balance to an already delicious chocolate piece.
If you could innovate and blend using any of our handcrafted chocolates as your base, which would it be and what would your added component be? Tell us in the comments below!
The best answer will receive a $50 gift card and, if the idea is novel, exciting and achievable, perhaps the chance to see it brought to life!