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Handmade truffle shop now open in downtown Palo Alto

Uploaded: Jul 18, 2014
One artisan chocolate store moves out and another one takes its place: Timothy Adams Chocolate, an independent chocolate operation run by a couple from Sausalito, has opened at the former Monique's Chocolate space in downtown Palo Alto.

The shop is the first brick-and-mortar for Timothy Woods and Adams Hollands, who have been making chocolate out of their home in Sausalito for about seven years, selling wholesale or at Bay Area farmers markets. They were on their way to opening their first shop in Sausalito when they heard about the vacancy at 539 Bryant St.

Before making chocolate, the two owned a farm-to-table restaurant in Fresno called Echo. (An interesting, unlikely sounding place for its location ? read this Los Angeles Times review ? in which famed Judy Rodgers of Zuni Café in San Francisco calls Woods and Hollands "heroes" -- to get an idea.) Woods said they were actually familiar with the Palo Alto area long ago, as Echo's apples and pears came from Filoli in Woodside.

The Palo Alto shop is all about truffles (or bon bons, which Holland said were officially rechristened truffles about 25 years ago; Google truffles vs. bon bons for many exhaustive explanations of the difference between the two terms) that are handmade on site with locally sourced ingredients. Opening day flavors will include: sour cherry ganache (made with cherries from Sunnyvale's C.J. Olson Cherries), hazelnut praline, coffee-walnut praline, fresh mint (the mint hails from Green Gulch Farm near Muir Beach), Aztec (made with chilis), bourbon, absinthe (the alcohol comes from a manufacturer in Alameda) , milk chocolate crème fraiche, white-chocolate apricot, coconut-vanilla cream and vanilla-caramel cream.

"The type of ganache we do is the old French method ? it's basically just chocolate and cream." Woods explained. "They all have to sit for 24 hours before the proper texture develops."

He said the fresh mint is particularly fun to make. Cooked mint is "not a pleasant flavor," so he covers fresh mint with cream and lets it soak for 24 hours in the refrigerator before using it to make ganache.

Truffles sell for $2.25 each; a gift box of six is $15.50 and one with 12 is $29.50.

You'll also find liquid-chocolate pleasure at Timothy Adams Chocolates. The shop offers iced and hot chocolate, and customers can choose from a selection of chocolates to combine with a selection of liquids (non-fat milk, two percent, whole milk, cream, water, almond milk, hazelnut milk or soy) to create a custom sweet drink.

Not into liquid for dessert? The shop also pours coffee from Rusty's Hawaiian and a range of teas. Hollands also said they're planning to have a champagne-and-wine dessert bar curated by Chaylee Priete, wine director at San Francisco's Slanted Door.

Timothy Adams Chocolates
539 Bryant St., Palo Alto

Hours: Tuesday and Wednesday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Thursday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-10 p.m.; Sunday, noon-6 p.m. Closed Monday.
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Posted by Max Hauser, a resident of Old Mountain View,
on Jul 19, 2014 at 6:27 am

Max Hauser is a registered user.

For the record, this is an article about chocolate truffles (the adjective is missing in a few places, which looks strange to some people). Real truffles (which chocolate truffles are named after) aren't handmade, while traditional chocolate truffles are, by definition, always handmade (as opposed to machine-made). Here's a more complete and first-hand account of the name history than you'll get from most online sources.

The nickname "chocolate truffles" arose since the original ones were hand-formed lumps of chocolate-cream paste ("ganache") rolled in cocoa. These look like real dark truffles (the underground mushrooms), such as the classic Tuber melanosporum species. Real truffles, though never cheap, were more abundant in past generations. The 1964 "Joy of Cooking" has a joke about a nearly-deaf grocer asked if he has any truffles. He shrugs and replies philosophically "Yes, but who doesn't?" At that time, no reader understood any connection to chocolate.

I witnessed the US fashion for chocolate truffles arrive in the 1980s. Real truffles had all but disappeared from most people's experience, and younger people started hearing first about the chocolate ones instead.

As "chocolate truffles" moved from a novelty phrase to mainstream, US sellers exploited its popularity by newly applying it to any ganache-based confection, including machine-made or dipped candies that cookbooks and dealers had always called chocolate creams or bonbons (in the US, "bonbons" could also denote frozen confections of chocolate-dipped ice cream). Artisanal chocolate makers (such as Elena quoted here) will be conscious of this language contrast, since the irregular shape and dusty surface -- the very features that originally gave chocolate "truffles" their names -- are absent from dipped or machine-made chocolates.

(Don't get me started on the recent pop-culture misundertstanding of "macarons.")

Posted by Max Hauser, a resident of Old Mountain View,
on Jul 19, 2014 at 6:48 am

Max Hauser is a registered user.

By the way, although the article doesn't specify, I'd guess that the "manufacturer in Alameda" for the absinthe flavoring is the very famous St. George Spirits, which made history in 2007 by releasing the first legally authorized absinthe for sale in the US after a 95-year ban (a ban that still endures regarding one technical detail of absinthe production, thanks to a scientifically-obsolete notion embedded in US FDA food regulations).

St. George's absinthe has a strong herbal anise flavor, which will probably be what's characteristic in these chocolate truffles.

Posted by Nora Charles, a resident of Stanford,
on Jul 23, 2014 at 1:26 am

Nora Charles is a registered user.

Many thanks for this info, Max--fascinating!

And I'd love to hear you expound on macaroons!

Posted by Delicious!, a resident of Evergreen Park,
on Jul 26, 2014 at 4:16 pm

I just stopped by Timothy Adams Chocolates and sampled 2 truffles (1 purchased, 1 a generous sample). Both were absolutely delicious! These are clearly high quality chocolates carefully prepared from fresh ingredients. Highly recommended!

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