Editor’s Note: This is the first in a series of reviews our editors will be doing of the ‘best of the best’ chocolatiers’ products from the 12th Annual Oregon Chocolate Festival in Ashland, Oregon. Our goal is to introduce you to some chocolate makers who are doing some incredible work in the Northwest. — BH, RFT Editor
At Real Food Traveler, our editors often sample good chocolate and it’s always a pleasure to come across real artisan chocolatiers, which is exactly what we found at Fera Wyn’s Artisan Chocolates. We recently met David Whittingham, Fera’wyn’s owner, at the Oregon Chocolate Festival in Ashland, Oregon, where the company’s Bananas Foster entry tied for Best Truffle.
David, who is originally from Australia, and his wife Joana, met playing an international online video game. They named their chocolate company after a character Joana played in the game that “brought happiness and rejoicing to those she met.” It seemed a fitting name for their new chocolate venture.
Joana and David, who is a graduate of Ecole Chocolat online professional chocolate college, use quality imported chocolate to make molded truffles filled with uber creamy fillings decorated with colorful transfer sheets. The chocolate is well-tempered with just the right snap. These chocolates are not only artistic, they’re rich. A couple of these make a delicious and satisfying end to any meal. And because they’re so pretty, they make a perfect gift.
Fera’wyn’s truffles are made with fresh cream and, whenever possible, fresh ingredients from local farmer’s markets. The company offers more than 30 different flavors like Cherry Kirsche, Gingerbread, and Mint Frost. Each week, the company makes a selection of flavors (you can email them for the current offerings or see them listed on the company’s Facebook page).
Unfortunately, the company’s current website does not live up to the sophistication of Fera’wyn’s products. There are photos of some of the boxed products, but not of the individual chocolates, making it more difficult to order. Hopefully, in the near future, the company will upgrade its online presence.
Our editors sampled a variety of Fera’wyn’s truffles:
Bananas Foster– This award winner is a small round dark chocolate dome decorated with yellow/gold swirls with perfectly thin snap. The silky interior is a delectable combination of sweet caramel and banana with a dash of smoky rum. One of our editors commented, “This one is like biting into a delicious banana cream pie.”
Dark Chocolate Caramel– Oblong and decorated with dark and light pink stripes, this caramel’s mold is much thicker chocolate than the Bananas Foster. The interior is a buttery, rather stiff caramel. While most of us on the panel usually prefer a softer caramel, this caramel’s flavor and chewy goodness won us over.
Lil’ Green Matcha– Another example of Fera’wyn’s creativity, this truffle, a pretty square of dark chocolate decorated with green swishes and white stars, combines a super silky center made from lilikoi (passionfruit) and green tea. The lilikoi yields a fruity sweetness that’s balanced with the green tea. This truffle wasn’t a unanimous favorite with our tasting panel. Some felt the green tea flavor is too pronounced and wanted more fruit forward flavor.
Cherry Kirsch– This one, a dark chocolate heart topped with tiny white and yellow flowers, was another where our editors didn’t agree. The center is white chocolate with little flecks of sour cherry and Kirsch liqueur. Some editors found the flavors soft and subtle, not overly sweet. Others, however, thought the cherries were a bit too sour.
Caramel Macchiato– Even our editors who don’t like coffee enjoyed the white chocolate espresso and vanilla of this truffle. An oblong dark chocolate decorated with white splotches, it’s got a surprising layer of cocoa nibs on the bottom, which the majority of reviewers didn’t really feel added much.
Spring Colada– This little square chocolate truffle decorated with blue and white dots is an editor favorite. It features a thin chocolate shell with a center that is delightfully creamy with bright flavors of pineapple and coconut. The little flecks of coconut offers a chewy texture. This one is truly a tropical delight.
Bourbon– A round chocolate with a fluted edge and decorated with a ‘tree of life’ style symbol, this creamy truffle offers a pronounced bourbon flavor that bourbon flavors will like. This truffle would make a nice end to a meal with a cup of java.
Irish Coffee– This oblong dark chocolate truffle decorated with white and green splashes has a strong flavor of coffee. While this truffle wasn’t as roundly appreciated as the Caramel Macchiato, our coffee loving reviewers appreciated this one.
Real Bottom Line: If you’re looking for handmade molded truffles made with quality ingredients that are as beautiful as they are creative, you’ll like the truffles from Fera’wyn’s. Their flavors range from classic—espresso, pecan/praline, lavender—to truly artisanal—limoncello, bananas/caramel, naga chili. Explore them all and discover your favorites. – Bobbie Hasselbring, Editor, Realfoodtraveler.com