World's Strangest Chocolates
Shiitake Mushroom: Madison, WI
Shiitake is used in Asian cuisine for umami, the savory fifth taste, but here it lends a subtle, warm flavor to truffles (named for their similarity in looks to another mushroom). The ganache, which contains dried mushrooms and earthy Peruvian dark chocolate, is hand dipped in nutty 70 percent Colombian chocolate. Because Fair Trade certification is expensive for small farmers and doesn't guarantee quality, Gail Ambrosius personally works with farmers to improve their cacao and ensures that they earn a fair wage. The truffles are available in select stores in the Midwest, plus online.
Gail Ambrosius, 2086 Atwood Ave., Madison, Wisconsin; (877) 412-2462; gailambrosius.com