"Life is like a box of chocolates", the line made famous by Tom Hanks in the movie Forrest Gump is a classic. Forrest uses this line to describe how life is full of surprises. To us, we love surprises, and we love adventure. You likely know that, because you've read our blogs, or you've followed us on our social media posts. Either way, we are glad you are here, and are sharing in our adventures. While Forrest Gump will likely go down in movie history as a classic, to be celebrated for generations to come, you know what else is a classic? We'll tell you...it's a good Bourbon. (neat, on the rocks, or mixed in your favorite cocktail).
So, what happens when you combine two famous classics together, like Bourbon and Chocolate? One word...Heaven. This is what we'd use to describe something that is new to us...something we recently discovered while doing the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. That something are the famous Rebecca Ruth Bourbon Balls.
If you have ever taken a tour of any of the distilleries on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, then you will likely have had one of these magnificent creations, as part of your tastings. You see, Rebecca Ruth's makes all of the Bourbon Balls for most of the largest distilleries in the Kentucky area. Each of the tasty goodies are customized for each of the Distilleries, based on the flavor profiles of each of their bourbons, and with each customized recipe, the bourbon balls are enhanced with the matching bourbon from the distilleries they are being made for. Many of the distilleries provide the Bourbon Balls with the tastings, as they know full well that Chocolate and Bourbon were simply made for each other.
Here is a picture from a recent tour of Buffalo Trace Distillery. For those reading this that have never heard of a Bourbon Ball, let me describe them for you. Each of them start with a Bourbon Candy Dough. This is the soft and gooey center which contains a secret recipe, and of course Bourbon. The Dough is not cooked, meaning that every finished Bourbon Ball contains a small amount of Bourbon. Kiddos, beware (or not - we won't judge). Then, the Bourbon Candy Dough is coated with chocolate, and finished with a Pecan. The result is a soft and creamy middle, surrounded by a hard chocolate coating that is just amazing, and goes so well together. Now, these things can be either eaten on their own, or as suggested above, paired with a favorite bourbon of your choice.
We took the tour of the "factory", which was really cool, informative and well done. All of their candies are still made in the small historic home, which had been converted into a makeshift factory and small store front. The tour takes you through the kitchen area, where the dough is made, and then into the back area, where the dough is cut to size, enrobed in chocolate, pecan added (by hand) and then boxed at the end of the line. It takes 15 minutes from start to finish for each candy, and they make over a hundred thousand pounds of candy a year.
The tour then takes you into a small room, which houses a collection of antiques. These are various pieces that the family collected over the years. In this room, the tour guide provides you a much deeper understanding of the history of the company, the struggle with being a woman owned business in the 1920's and 1930's, and the love the owners shared for each other. Finally, the tour is capped off with a tasting of one of their candies.
When you make your way down to Kentucky, make sure to stop in and say hello to the folks at Rebecca Ruth's. They are a great group of people that are passionate about what they do. If you decide to taste one of the Bourbon Balls, they will be most likely made with Evan Williams Bourbon. The don't just make Bourbon Balls...they make all kinds of chocolate treats...and they are all amazing. We of course had to sample a few.