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Some truffles are rolled in chopped nuts. Photo courtesy Romanico’s.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

KAREN HOCHMAN is Editorial Director of THE NIBBLE.

 

 

April 2007
Last Updated May 2012

Product Reviews / Main Nibbles / Chocolate

Truffles Vs. Pralines: The Difference

Page 2: Understanding Truffles & Ganache Chocolate “Pralines”

 

 

This is Page 2 of a three-page article; here, truffles versus pralines. Click on the black links below to visit the other pages.

 

Chocolate Pralines

First there was France and the praline, then the bonbon. One was a caramelized (sugar-coated) almond, one was a chocolate confection. Here is the history of confusion:

  • Jean Neuhaus created the molded, filled chocolate bonbon in 1912 and called these filled chocolate shells pralines, the same word used to describe the caramelized almonds that had been made by the French, and known to the Belgians, who speak French, since 1636 (see the discussion on Page 1). The word praline in French refers to the sugar-coated almond. Why did Neuhaus use the same word for his filled bonbons? We don’t know, but it sure has created confusion ever since.
  • The French call filled chocolates chocolats fourrés (show-coe-LAHT foo-RAY). They call chocolates in general, bonbons de chocolat (bone bone day show-coe-LAHT) or chocolats assortis (show-coe-LAHT ah-soar-TEE).
  • Some chocolatiers subsequently enrobed their ganache centers (i.e., the original truffles), either by hand dipping (the way all chocolates were coated prior to Neuhaus’ invention) or in hard chocolate shells. In France or America, these enrobed ganaches would be called truffles. In Belgium, they are still called pralines.
  • Thus, when chocolatiers immigrated to the U.S., they might be selling pralines, truffles, bonbons or assorted chocolates, depending on their nationality. And, although the name of what they sold differed, the product might be the same.
  Cocoa Covered Truffles
Cocoa is the most popular coating for truffles. Photo courtesy Recchiuti Confections.
  • In the interest of clarity, it would be ideal to stick with “filled chocolates,” use “pralines” for the nuts and reserve the term “truffles” for the balls of ganache. But given all the imported candy, we can’t escape our chocolate Tower of Babel. If you receive a box of candy from Germany or Switzerland labeled “pralines,” for example, will it be filled chocolates or caramelized nuts?

We know we haven’t ended the confusion, but we hope we’ve explained it.

 
Truffles rolled in confectioners’ sugar. Photo courtesy Recchiuti Confections.

Continue To Page 3: Ganache

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