Salt Side Down Chocolates

A touch of salt adds flavor to these Wine Country truffles

Sweet treats are nice, but any cook will tell you it’s the salt that really makes your taste buds stand up and take notice.
Wrapping sweet, salty and a little bit of umami into a truffle-iciously tasty package is chocolatier Julie Herson of Salt Side Down Chocolates.
Using the best stuff she can get her hands on — heirloom cacao, fresh local fruit, cream and wines and artisan sea salts — this Culinary Institute of America grad is putting a new spin on luxe chocolate. The idea: Hand-dipped truffles topped with sea salt crystals meant to be plopped into your mouth salt side down. Prepping your buds with a quick jolt of salty makes the sweet, well, that much sweeter and more dynamic, according to Herson.
Her lineup of flavors change frequently (she’s currently working on a chili-infused chocolate), but recent truffles included the Blushing Bride (cinnamon and plum with Sonoma Valley Portworks’ Aria Petit verdot Port and Murray River Flake salt); spiced orange with French gray sea salt; Sweet Dreams (chamomile and lavender with lavender sea salt); The Flying Esmeralda (Flying Goat coffee with coffee dusted Maldon salt and cocao nibs); a late-harvest Zinfandel reduction chocolate and Le Classic (a French style truffle).
Where to find ’em: Occidental Farmers Market each Friday through the summer, Geyserville Farmers Market on August 19th (5:30 to sundown) and at a number of pairing events at local wineries (see her website). Also at pairing events at local wineries (Kokomo, Sonoma Valley Portworks, to name a few). And…complimentary hand delivery throughout Sonoma County from the online boutique at