Vodka and Chocolate
If you've ever wondered what a Bloody Mary truffle would taste like (and if you never thought about it before, we bet you are now), you're in luck. Austin's own Tito's Handmade Vodka is teaming up with locally made Delysia Chocolatier to create one-of-a-kind truffles that blur the line between cocktail and dessert.
The treats are available through Tito's inaugural Meet the Maker project, which spotlights small artisans and craftsmen (and women!) by creating special projects in conjunction with the vodka company. With its emphasis on handmade unique treats, Tito's says Delysia was the perfect partner to kick off this series.
Tito's Handmade Vodka approached Delysia to create limited edition truffles based on the company's signature cocktails.
"I came across Nicole [Patel, Founder of Delysia] a few years ago at a women in business conference in Austin," explains Nicole Portwood, vice president of marketing for Tito's Handmade Vodka. "I remember sitting there listening to [Patel talk] about how she left the corporate life and I remember thinking, 'This woman is going places.'"
It wasn't until the 2013 Austin Food & Wine Festival, however, that the two would formally meet. Two days before the fest, Patel had gone to a liquor store looking for inspiration for her latest truffle. The year before, Patel's ghost pepper truffle had been a festival hit, and she was looking for something even more innovative. "I was trying to think of what was going to be that hook, that catch," she explains. She struck up a conversation with a man stocking shelves and he pointed her to Tito's, noting that it was gluten-free like her truffles. Patel grabbed a bottle and headed home.
Back in the kitchen, Patel researched Bloody Mary recipes. "I don't drink Bloody Marys," Patel says, laughing. "I have no idea what they taste like!" Despite not being a Bloody Mary fan, Patel nailed her recipe on the first try and took the chocolates to the festival. At the urging of her husband, Patel scouted out the Tito's team and brought a sample to Portwood and her colleagues.
"I [had] never tasted anything like that in my life," says Portwood. "It was just out-of-control delicious."
The memory of the "out-of-control delicious" chocolates stayed with the Tito's team until it came time to find an inaugural partner for the Meet the Maker program. They approached Delysia to create limited edition truffles based on Tito's signature cocktails. In addition to Bloody Mary, Patel created the Texas Sipper truffle (dark chocolate, elderflower and a twist of grapefruit) and the Red Punch (pomegranate, orange zest and strawberry). The limited edition truffles (only 500 will be made) come in a box of nine for $27 and will be available beginning January 15.
As for the Meet the Makers project, Tito's hopes to highlight three more artisans throughout 2015, including one more Austin-based business. Highlighting the work of local folks is an important part of the company's ethos says Portwood. "Austin is one of those unique cultural hotbeds, and that's because the people that live here are so evangelical about the things that are born here," she explains. "Being from Austin, this is our hometown, and it's an indelible part of our story."