One of my colleagues, Fabien, brought one day some chocolates that one of his friends, Ayo, was making and started to sell over the internet. I told him that I would be interested to do a review, as long as it was understood that if I did not like the chocolates, I would have to be honest about it (honest, not mean of course!). He said that he would speak with his friend and few weeks later, I met with Ayo Yusuf, the founder of Chocolate by Ayo who brought me a box of chocolates for tasting.
What is interesting is that Ayo, who was born in Nigeria, is an architect and not a pastry Chef, who discovered a passion for truffles after reading an article about two sisters chocolatiers. Once he had perfected some recipes, he decided to offer them on the web. Think about it: the web is how lots of businesses started, allowing them to perfect their product(s) and see if there was a demand for it. That is how for instance Stick and Pop, that I visited back in 2012, started, before opening their first place downtown.
More interesting is that 15% of each purchase will either go as a donation to a charity that you pick, or to a charity that Chocolate by Ayo selects. I think that it is a fantastic concept: you cannot feel guilty of succumbing to the pleasure of eating these delicacies as you are surely doing it for charity, right?
So, here I am, ready for my tasting. Of course, I did not need to be pushed for that. First, I noticed that the packaging was very professional. I opened the box and discovered two layers of truffles, each layer made by four different truffles, some of them with a decoration on top (I love when there are layers because when you sadly think you are done, there are still some chocolates under...). All the truffles had a different shape: a dome, a heart, round...
The box contained the following truffles:
- Mango Tango: trio of mango, pineapple and banana.
- Chili Jam: this one must be an experiment as not described on the website.
- Lovers truffle: with its heart shape, the filling was composed of an herbal Rooibos Tea blended with saffron, rose petals and honey.
- Fruit ABC's: consists of their signature blend of apples, bananas and coconut purees.
- Orange marmalade: needless to say that the filling is made of...orange marmalade.
- Dulce de Leche: Dulce de Leche paste with a bit of cinnamon, vanilla extract and coconut shavings.
Before I tell you what I think about these truffles, know that the ingredients to make them are either natural or organic. It is also vegan as the milk used is almond milk, either homemade or purchased at Whole Foods Market.
You can imagine that the testing was very intense...The difficulty is that at some point my taste buds were saturated with chocolate. Nevertheless, I had to, once again, sacrifice myself for this blog! As I mentioned, the packaging of the chocolates is professional. The various perfect shapes and the feel of the chocolates too. My favorite ones were the Dulce de Leche and the Lovers truffle. In the lovers truffles, you could definitely taste the honey that counteracted the bitterness of the chocolate. The Dulce de Leche was splendid: clean flavors with a slight hint of cinnamon and vanilla. The others were just ok for me: I wish they had much more filling inside, so I could taste the ingredients and they were overpowered by the bitterness of the chocolate. In fact the chocolate was extremely bitter and a bit dry for my taste.
I have to say that I admire the creativity and motivation behind Chocolate by Ayo! And Thanks Ayo for allowing me to taste them!
Bonne chance et bon courage!
Enjoy (I did)!
Information about Chocolate by Ayo:
Chocolate by Ayo Website