The "Quintessential" Story ... the difference between injected liquid centers vs. cast liquid centers
Quintessential Chocolates specializes in the centuries old art form of casting "Liqueur Praliné" or the European style Liquid Center Chocolates ("with a sugar crust"). The process we use is more than 200 years old. To our knowledge, we are still the only manufacturer of this specialty confection in America and we have been creating these chocolates since 1984.
Europeans primarily make Brandy filled chocolates. Since Americans do not typically drink Kirschwasser as a rule, we created liquid center chocolates filled with premium spirits, wines, coffees and fruit nectars...flavors that cater to American tastes. We may have been the first company worldwide to create such a wide spectrum of wine varietals and may even be the only manufacturer in the world to create non-alcohol liquid centers in this manner made with coffees and fruit nectars; we have even created cocktails and some nutritional liquid centers.
These confections are all handmade in the traditional centuries-old method. We cast the liquid centers into freshly made cornstarch molds. In this process, sugar crystals literally lock together, forming a crystalline shell only a few sugar crystals thick. This forms an edible moisture barrier to prohibit the chocolate from pulling the flavor, and the alcohol out of the liquid center (or allowing it to evaporate through the wall of chocolate). Because of this, you truly do have a large
volume of liquid inside a very thin chocolate shell. You must place the entire product within your mouth or your chin may have all the fun!
The other exciting aspect of this sugar shell is the way it actually enhances the flavor within. Just as sugar on sliced strawberries will bring out the flavor, this sugar shell intensifies the liquid flavor. It is so good at this that you can do a taste test between two bourbons - a sour mash and a straight - and you will be able to distinguish the difference. You can even tell the difference between two straight bourbons, where one is a 10 year old handmade Kentucky bourbon.
It is so distinctive that we have even had Vintner's identify the wine within and the Vineyard!
From start to finish the process takes 3-5 days to complete. Because the wines, coffees and nectars have more suspended solids (pectins, botanicals, etc) within, they can get in the way of the sugar shell formation. When they get in between the sugar crystals bonding to sugar crystals, then it makes for a more fragile shell. These products will actually require additional time and these suspended solids can also effect shelf-life. Once the liquid capsules are formed, all of the cornstarch is removed, then the capsules are enrobed (literally covered) in rich dark chocolate.