With immense pleasure we at Arbor Teas would like to introduce you to Nancy Biehn, Chief Executive Chocolatier of Sweet Gem Confections, an artisan chocolate shop located right here in our hometown, Ann Arbor, MI. Over the past few months a sweet collaboration has been forming between Nancy and us—we’ve teamed up to bring you handcrafted, organic tea-infused truffles!
Simply delighted to be a part of this exciting project, I dropped in on Nancy one evening to observe her master craftsmanship firsthand. The display of chocolate mastery I witnessed was nothing short of amazing! She was making a white chocolate, masala chai tea ganache that, when cooled, would be rolled into orbs and dipped in white chocolate. Without missing a beat while attending to all the stirring, cooling and additional stirring that the ganache required, Nancy poured perfectly tempered milk chocolate into shell-shaped molds, turning out the excess onto her parchment-covered workbench in a spectacle that can aptly be described as a chocolate “rain shower.” These shells will eventually enclose earl grey black tea-infused milk chocolate ganache. While those were cooling, she painted a shimmery campfire motif on the tops of a batch of 65% cacao dark chocolate Laspang Souchong truffles. Talk about a multi-tasker!
Already finished earlier in the day and queued in neat rows on her work-space were the matcha truffles: a matcha-and-white-chocolate ganache dipped in organic milk chocolate and adorned with swirls of green-tinted cocoa butter. Jasmine green tea truffles, imbued with grapefruit zest were also ready to be packaged. Composed of dark chocolate ganache dipped in white chocolate and embellished with a transfer of delicate purple flowers, the jasmine truffles may arguably be the most stunning of the set.
Amid all this activity, Nancy and I shared a pot of organic passion pineapple green tea, which just happens to make an appearance in yet another dark chocolate truffle painted with blue floral details reminiscent of the blue malva flowers blended with the tea. Nancy is an extraordinarily kind and generous woman with whom conversation flows easy. During my visit she plied me with numerous truffle samples and was quick to share recipes and even her dinner, as the night lingered and we reasoned that truffles alone were probably not sufficient sustenance. In observing Nancy work about her shop, her passion for quality and attention to detail are clearly evident.
Produced in small batches and with the finest organic, fair trade ingredients, these truffles are available for purchase exclusively from our website (or if you happen to live nearby, Nancy will be selling them at her shop located in Morgan & York). With the approaching holiday seasons, these just might be the perfect gift for the tea AND chocolate enthusiast in your life! Of course, no judgments if that “enthusiast” just happens to be yourself. Find out which tea and chocolate combination is your favorite. Mine, undoubtedly, is the richly dark and intensely smoky Lapsang Souchong truffle!