Yesterday morning, Annie Rupani and her new assistant were hard at work shelling chocolate. That's nothing new, though the employee has only been at Cacao & Cardamom for a week and was still getting her footing. The problem was, that with just days until Easter, the chocolatier had sold out of nearly every holiday item. It was crunch time.
The first step in the chocolate-making process is creating the thin exterior shell, especially important at Cacao & Cardamom, where vividly colored cocoa butters with evocative names like "Key West Green" and "Battleship Gray" give truffles the store's signature multi-colored sheen.
Chocolates are crafted using bases from luxury brands Valrhona and Cacao Barry. Ganaches, the flavored centers of most of Rupani's chocolates, are emulsions of liquid and chocolate. Most contain no added sugar, so the flavors are exceptionally pure.
Want an exceptional example? Rupani purchases whole cardamom pods, which she grinds in-house, then steeps in cream to create the intensely aromatic cardamom-rose truffles that are her signature.
Rupani said that her Easter flavors were inspired by the burgeoning botanicals of early spring. One of the bright butterflies above is flavored with a whisper of orange blossom water, the other, a combination of lemon and thyme in white chocolate ganache. The rabbit is filled with a layer of apricot pâté de fruit and jasmine ganache.
Rupani has also created seasonal elderflower truffles using St. Germain liqueur, and said she's experimenting with a rabbit-shaped, carrot cake-flavored sweet. But Cacao & Cardamom's Easter offerings aren't all subtle, ladylike delicacies. Small chocolate eggs are filled with far less retiring pecan-caramel marshmallows or salted-caramel ganache.
And then there are the 10-inch-tall faceted eggs.
It will take a family some trencherman-like effort to work its way through one of the bold-colored treats. The hollow eggs are pressed with different dry ingredients, resulting in a panel much like a chocolate bark. The one above is white chocolate with strawberries. Another dark chocolate version is pressed with pistachios and dried cherries.
Rupani said they've sold more quickly than she's been able to restock them. But for those able to snag an egg or box of Easter truffles at—either Cacao & Cardamom or La Table down the street—in time for the holiday, the reward will be sweet.