Latte Art Throwdown and Truffle Tasting

The end of last week brought me to two food related events; one coffee and one chocolate.

I took a drive into the city Thursday evening to see some of Rochester and Buffalo’s best baristas create art on some lattes during the most recent edition of the Latte Art Throwdown series which was the first at Fuego Coffee Roasters. This event was publicized and run by the Rochester Coffee Society which is trying to advance the coffee scene in our city by connecting them together at events like this one.

Fuego Outside

For an outsider and a coffee enthusiast (but still an amateur), this was an interesting look at baristas competing against each other without customers being part of the equation. The competitors had some fantastic pours (at least to my untrained eyes) and, even though this was a relatively small event compared to some of the older ones, there were some good battles and everything moved pretty smoothly thanks to Rory Van Grol (and team) from Rochester CS. Jarred (I don’t know his last name!) from Joe Bean ended up taking this one and I left eager to come to another coffee event soon!

Fuego Latte Art

On my drive home from work Friday, I stopped by Hedonist Artisan Chocolates in the Southwedge for a Word Play themed truffle tasting from their college intern Mary Rice. It was a 5 piece collection with concoctions that stayed mostly in the comfortable range with some clever combinations and occasional forays into a bit more exciting territory. On the most basic side, Mary’s Quite Contrary Cherry came across as a straightforward cocoa rolled truffle with a pleasant cherry finish and the Ca-Chew was a nice twist on the traditional milk chocolate salted caramel with the addition of crunchy cashew butter bringing some nuttiness to the party. Plenty of salt for a salt fiend like me!

Mary Rice from Hedonist

More creative options were the Less is S’more that aimed to give the s’more experience in a smooth domed bittersweet truffle with homemade marshmallow and graham crust inside and the Peachy Keen that offered dense peach jam balanced out by some nougat (if I remember correctly) that reminded of the traditional raspberry jam filled truffle but with significantly more balance. The most adventurous of the bunch was the Hot Date with a dark chocolate exterior, a smooth date flavored chocolate interior and topped with habanero sugar crystals. I’m not usually one for dates but their density worked well with the filling and the assertive but not overwhelming heat acted like a palate cleanser to finish off the sampling. I enjoyed the flavors enough to buy a box to share with my fiancée at home and she dug the flavors almost as much as I did. The Word Play collection is still available at Hedonist in pre made box sets or by individual pieces if you want to give them a try!


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