What’s the difference between pralines and truffles?

18 May 2020

Food + Drink

The two terms can sometimes be used interchangeably in the chocolate world, but there are key differences between pralines and truffles. 

Ever find the world of filled chocolates mystifying? Faltered over a praline and a truffle, or dithered between a mousse and a gianduja? We’re here to uncloak the uncertainty and help you understand what’s in our chocolates so you can choose the one that tickles your fancy – or that of a loved one.

We’ve already gone in depth about the differences in the nutty world of praline and gianduja, but in this blog we’ll be looking at how decadent truffles differ from playful praline, and the rare occasion when a praline is actually a truffle.

What is praline?

Hazelnut Praline Chocolate Selector
Hazelnut Praline Chocolate Selector

The classic praline recipe includes nuts and caramelised sugar, and can vary widely in texture. Praline can refer to whole, crunchy nuts slathered in a crispy caramel sugar coating, but these ingredients are often blended to achieve a variation of different consistencies; cruncy, slightly nibbly or silky-smooth. The nut flavour is brought to the fore within praline, and it can be made with any nut, although hazelnuts and almonds are the most popular.

The recipe was adapted in the 1700s when it arrived in the new world, and the New Orleans praline was created, which added cream to the mixture. This resulted in a fudgier texture often called pecan candy instead of praline.

What is a chocolate truffle?

A truffle is a sweet, chocolatey treat made from chocolate, butter, cream and sugar, and it  can have flavourings like liqueur and fruit added to the mix. Truffles have a soft texture that melts smoothly, often protected by a layer of cocoa powder, crushed nuts or a tempered chocolate shell. Decadent and smooth, and with various flavour combinations, truffles are a crowd-pleasing and versatile filling for a chocolate. 

What is the difference between the two?

The key difference between the two is that a praline’s main ingredient is nuts, whereas a chocolate truffle relies primarily on chocolate to showcase its flavour. In fact, a praline doesn’t need chocolate in it at all, but we must admit we like to add a little every now and again.

Texturally, a praline can vary from crunchy to smooth, whereas a truffle is likely to melt, satin-like, as soon as it touches your tongue.

Rum Truffles Selector

When is a truffle a praline?

French and American pralines are those that rely on nuts for their flavour and texture, but if you are in Belgium, the word praline has a very different meaning. Instead, it refers to a soft-centred chocolate wrapped in a chocolate shell. Fillings can vary from marzipan to caramel, but if you’ve got a Belgian praline filled with a chocolate ganache centre, then anywhere else it would be called a truffle. If you’re looking for a caramelised nutty chocolate centre then don’t ask for a praline in Belgium!

Our favourite praline flavours

Here at Hotel Chocolat, we’ve experimented with different types of nuts to give you a full praline tasting experience. Hazelnuts and almonds may be the traditional filling for a praline, but we also offer walnut and white chocolate pralines and a decadent caramel and pecan praline. Our macadamia praline blends silky smooth praline with a full, gently toasted nut, so you can enjoy the buttery rich flavour in two textures, and our pistachio praline beautifully complements its smooth, caramel-chocolate casing.

Our favourite truffle flavours

Our simple milk chocolate truffles offer creamy indulgence, or our simple dark truffles offer rich, intense flavours encased in 85% chocolate. Our white chocolate truffle showcases the delicate flavours of cocoa butter, and leaves an astonishing melt on the tongue, both in the truffle centre and from the satisfying snappable chocolate shell.

When experimenting with different flavours, we found that the creamy, smooth nature of the chocolate truffle truly complemented a top shelf tipple; from aged cognac, St Lucian rum or Speyside single malt, there is an alcohol truffle in our selection for everyone.

If you’re nuts about nuts or crazy about cocoa, find your favourite in our praline or truffles selection. Our Selectors are three for £10, so you can have a chocolate tasting adventure of your own amongst friends or family – make sure to take notes on their chosen truffles and pralines so that you can get them their preferred one as a gift!