Is chocolate the secret to happiness? Talking to Dolf Teuscher, you might think so. We caught up with the Swiss truffle maker on the eve of Easter to coax out his formula for the good life.
“I’m a praline maker,” says the owner of Teuscher, laughing, while he explains the nuances of truffle making. He uses the Belgian definition to describe his Willy Wonka-like concoctions and makes sure to tell me that he is most comfortable at the praline factory in Switzerland rather than at the office.
“I travel so much but I always feel at home when I am in a Teuscher shop in any country (from Tokyo to Beverley Hills)” Dolf Teuscher.
The colourful Teuscher boxes are whimsical and come in a variety of animal shapes and themes- changing throughout the year. “It is about the art,” says Dolf explaining that the boxes have been designed by Swiss Artist, Felix Daetwyler- for fifty years. “It was an idea that we tested and had success,” he says. “Have you seen the birds he designed? That was beautiful.” It’s no wonder that the company won the #1 Chocolatier award from National Geographic. The boxes continue to amaze, from life-like floral bouquets to your favorite soccer star. “Those were so popular,” says LeCarry, our own Teuscher Instagramer at William Ashley.
“I find inspiration while taking a walk or in my hotel room or maybe while I am swimming. That was how I came up with the rose truffle- when I brought home rose oil from the highlands of Turkey. Did you know it takes four tonnes of rose petals to make one liter of oil?” He explained that it took dozens of trials to get the right ratio of oil to chocolate ganache to perfect the blushing truffles. “I am a traditionalist,” he says as he tells us that even the pink chocolate cover is tinted organically. “I only use natural ingredients.”
Jackie’s Tip: “Follow us on Instagram and pop in to our Bloor Street location for a chance to win a 16 piece box of Teuscher chocolates each month for a year.”
Asking him about American trends like chocolate covered bacon gets him giggling again. “There are trends like the salted caramel truffle and I have taken trends from the French towards darker chocolate. We have added increasingly intense chocolate from 55% to yes 99%. But no, no bacon truffle.” The company has recently added lactose free and sugarless varieties as a conscious decision to promote the health benefits of good chocolate.
The master pauses, thinking about his own creative process.”It is a chemical reaction that makes the cherry centered Griotte truffle a success. Sour cherries are infused in cognac for up to a year and then are transferred to sugar syrup. They are dried and enrobed in chocolate. It is the residue of the sugar syrup that dissolves while in the chocolate to create the liquid barrier between chocolate and cherry. It’s hard not to have a craving when talking to the second generation praline maker.
When asked how it feels that his Champagne truffle has been copied all over the world. The master says, “It is an imitation not the original and most use a grappa-like alcohol not Dom Perignon Champagne- a big difference. Also, there needs to be technique to make a perfect Champagne truffle,” as laughter fills the air- once again.