We recently were turned on the American Indie food site Mouth.com – it’s a very cool aggregation of just what it says: American made food products. Of course we had to check out the candies, and were kinda shocked to see more than a few companies we hadn’t heard of. When I started looking closer and saw the fares Willamette Valley Confectionery were selling….I knew I had to reach out. And thus a conversation with them about how I tried and failed to make pate de fruits last fall-6 times-ensued. Next thing I knew, I was opening a box. And holy crap, was I not prepared for what was inside. Prepare for cute overload.
Umm…YES. THIS is what I’m talking about when I talk about America. Not cute enough? Check this angle out:
Enough already, am I right? I’m shocked it took this long for someone to think of this packaging idea, because it’s freaking genius. Talk about building excitement. Granted, I’m completely insane and get more excited about Pate De Fruit than I do about significant things like finances and actual people things, but hey, we’re all different.
For those of you unfamiliar with pate de fruit, they’re essentially super high quality fruit jellies. The idea is to get to the absolute essence of the fruit in a soft, velvety yet textured cube. As I mentioned, I tried many times to make these, but just couldn’t get the consistency right. Not even close, actually. There’s some dark magic involved in taking fruit, pectin, and a bit of fruit acid and making it dense and solid. I just couldn’t do it-apparently I’m better at talking about candy than I am at making it-so let’s get to it.
Included were 4 varieties: cranberry, blueberry/cranberry, mandarin orange/cranberry & raspberry/cranberry. Pictured above is the blueberry/cranberry variety. Just as they should be, you can see seeds bursting inside of it, and a dusting of sugar on the outside to kill the stickiness. Hold onto your hats though, for now we have the money shot…
Just…for a sec…let’s be silent. That’s just fruit in there. Beautiful, fresh, concentrated fruit. At this point during my photo shoot I couldn’t hold out any longer, so I ate half. And was blown away. Cranberry is probably my favorite pate de fruit flavor, as it has the sweetness and tartness to make the flavor profile interesting. Mix that with the deep intensity of blueberries, which actually have more tartness than people think, and it’s a flavor explosion. Extremely fresh, soft, and bursting with fruit feel. I immediately had to have the Mrs. give it a try-but not too much, these are mine. She agreed, it’s a form of decadence that most of us don’t think about when it comes to candies. They’re special.
The other flavors are just as delicious- but let’s move on to the other item included. This one was mysterious.
Ok, maybe not super mysterious, but I was all “whaaa?” White chocolate? With pate de fruit? What the hell is going on here? This can’t be good. OR CAN IT?
What we have inside is four nice pieces of pate de fruit in various flavors shrouded in white chocolate. Now, I’m not a white chocolate hater, but I’m certainly not an avid fan. NO ONE KNEW WHAT WOULD HAPPEN NEXT, WE WERE ALL AT THE EDGE OF OUR SEATS.
Oh. My. Well what happened next is that I ate half. And promptly freaked out. Of COURSE it was delicious, because if you think about it, the pairing makes total sense. You could, in theory, shroud these candies in dark chocolate or milk chocolate, but I’m pretty sure that would render the experience very similar to any old candy bar with fruit. We’re so used to those classic flavor pairings that we take them for granted. The white chocolate though…it’s a unique flavor that most of us don’t have that often. When it mixes with the intensity of the fruit, you really feel like you’re having an exquisite, unique treat. I honestly could see having 2 of these served to you for a dessert course at a Michelin star restaurant. Yes, they’re delicious, and yes, they’re beautiful to look at. But the uniqueness of the combination stays with you far after you’re done eating it. These things pack a major punch of flavor for their size.
When I spoke to Ken from Willamette Valley Confectionery, he mentioned that they do other flavors of pate de fruit seasonally (which we love hearing). I took a look on their site and saw flavors like marionberry & “Oregon apple pie”. Now, I’ve only had one other apple pie pate de fruit before, but it was an Editor’s Choice here and one of my favorites of all time. So I issue a challenge to Willamette Valley Confectionery: when you’re making them. again, let us try these other flavors, and definitely include the Oregon apple pie. The world needs to know who stands at the top of the apple pie pate de fruit pile-forget these “presidential debates”, this is way more important.
If you couldn’t tell by now, we adore these. All of it. There’s nothing not done to perfection. If you like pate de fruit, as any sane person should, these would make a great gift onnaccounta their combination of deliciousness and cute overload-anyone would be stoked to receive these as a holiday gift. But they’re even better as a treat for yourself. Know why? You deserve it. You too. All of you over there, you as well.
Not that guy in the jeans cut-offs though- he doesn’t.
Everyone else? Yes. You deserve to treat yo’ self. So click that link below and prepare to have the most interesting holiday candy at all the parties this year.