By Paris Wolfe, Blogmaster, The Herb Society of America
Beth O’Neil-Mansfield, owner of O’Neil’s in Cleveland, has created a limited-edition collection of herbal chocolates for the 2016 Holiday Season. The eight-piece box of handmade artisan candies includes ..
- Pink Peppercorn Rose Raspberry
Raspberry Rose Ganache infused with peppercorns and dipped in white chocolate
- Hot Honey
Habanera Pepper in semisweet chocolate with orange blossom honey
- Pistachio Cinnamon
Layer of Ceylon Cinnamon over pistachio praline, dipped in dark chocolate
- Cardamom Lime
White chocolate infused with cardamom with a lime garnish
- Pomegranate Mint
Coriander-semisweet chocolate ganache infused with mint and coriander
- Earl Grey
Earl Grey tea infused in semisweet chocolate
- Lavender Caramel
Heart-shaped dark chocolate with lavender infused caramel
Masala in milk chocolate ganache with toasted coconut garnish
Beth comes by her inspirations for these carefully sculpted chocolates like a true artist. “You start looking around at what your ingredients area, what inspires you,” she says. “You look at what would make a delicious chocolate, what would go well with a particular herb.”
She then asks herself which chocolate – dark, milk white. She considers combinations both classic and new. Then, she thinks about the finished product.
“I think about what the finished product would look like,” she says. “Would it be dipped or molded? Would I use an edible transfer or handpaint it?”
Only then does Beth make a classic ganache with cream, butter and a high quality Belgian chocolate. Herbs are always infused in cream; spices will be infused, but sometimes also added at the finish to deepen the strength of the flavor, as in the Acorn which is Ceylon Cinnamon, a very delicate flavor.
“I use fresh herbs whenever possible,” she says. “I have two bunches of sage and a bunch of thyme on the counter. I have a bunch of rosemary and another of mint in the refrigerator. I buy them at the local farmer’s market. The things I can’t get that way I get from a local supplier, and as a last resort, from a company in California.”
After making the ganache, her challenge becomes shape and coating. “I create each piece to reflect what’s inside,” she says. For example, Pink Peppercorn Rose Raspberry has bits of Pink Peppercorns for crunch on top, and the Hot Honey (really not that hot, by the way) has a red hot button on top of a stylized bee hive.”
Not just anyone can get the herb collection. Beth created this exclusively for members and friends of The Herb Society of America. You can find these and other chocolates at OneilsChocolate.com. She is also on Facebook and Instagram.