Friday, August 24, 2012

Godiva Chocolates

As you know, I eat a lot of chocolate, ranging from local high end speciality chocolatiers to standard Hershey.  I eat it all, but that doesn't mean that I like it all, I'm actually fairly snobby when it comes to chocolate.  But if chocolates comes my way, I have to at least try it.

I always want Godiva chocolate to be better than it is.  The offerings sound good.  Godiva has fancy boutiques all over the city, where everything always looks so good and fresh, particularly the molten chocolate that they dip strawberries into.  People keep bringing me Godiva.  But it just doesn't impress.

They also have a chocolate club, where just for signing up, you get a free piece every month.  This means I've tried a lot of Godiva chocolate over the years.  After trying nearly the entire lineup, my opinion is basically unchanged, except that I have finally found one that I do enjoy: the Chocolate Lava Cafe Truffle.  I'd gladly consume more of those.  But the rest?  Meh.

Truffles

These are round balls filled with creamy ganache, similar to Lindt truffles.  Described as "cream or butter ganache centre, enrobed with a fine film of chocolate and rolled into a ball, either in cocoa powder of different colours and flavours, coconut or other nuts."

Ultimate Dessert Truffles

Birthday Cake.
“Vanilla cake mousse in a white chocolate shell, sprinkled with white pearl nonpareils, with colorful sprinkles inside.”

Thin milk chocolate layer, pink layer, fun little balls.  Inside very creamy ganache that had no real flavor.  Not sure what is "birthday cake" about it.

Subsequent tasting:  Just sweet and creamy, not worth getting again.

Butterscotch Walnut Brownie Truffle.
"Butterscotch caramel and maple walnut cream in a milk chocolate shell, dusted with molasses. "

This one was pretty strange.  The outside of the shell had some crispy bits on it, which added a nice texture.  I guess those were the "molasses", but it didn't quite taste like molasses.  The milk chocolate shell was their standard, forgettable shell.  Inside was a thin layer of gooey caramel.  I didn't taste it to be particularly butterscotchy, it was just sweet caramel.  Then there was a thicker layer of what I guess was the maple walnut cream.  It was kinda bitter, but had a nice grittiness to it from the walnuts.  I'm not sure where the "brownie" part of the name comes in.  This wasn't bad, but wasn't particularly good.
Chocolate Lava Cafe Truffle.
“Dark chocolate ganache with liquid fondant in a dark chocolate shell, dusted with powdered sugar.”

This was actually one of my favorites.  I’d even say I liked it, which I can’t say for pretty much any other Godiva truffles.  The inside was liquidy, but not too runny.  The dark chocolate flavor was complex, in the shell, the ganache, and the “liquid fondant”.  It paired beautifully with my coffee.  I’d actually get this one again.

Update: I got it again.  And again, I really enjoyed it.  Dark chocolate with some real body to it, very pleasant smooth fondant inside.  I think this is my new go to!
Smooth Coconut Truffle.
"Creamy coconut filling accented with coconut flakes, in a milk chocolate shell." 

Unremarkable milk chocolate shell. Filling was very sweet, with some coconut flavor.  I didn't really find any flakes, which I would have liked.  Honestly, I liked a Mounds more than this, it had more coconut flavor to it.
Strawberry Crème Tart Truffle.
“Strawberry puree and vanilla mousse in a white chocolate shell”.

Wow, this was seriously sweet.  I might have liked it with a black coffee or something, but on its own, it was way, way too sweet.  The inside was divided into two halves, one was the strawberry puree and one was the vanilla mousse.  The “vanilla mousse” was really just some creamy sweet stuff.  The strawberry puree was just thick, fruit colored stuff.  I didn’t taste vanilla, I didn’t taste strawberry.  Surrounding it was a layer of milk chocolate, then a pink layer of white chocolate.  The chocolate wasn’t remarkable.

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Creme Brûlée Dessert Truffle

Now, this sounded amazing, given my love for dessert, creme brûlée, and chocolate.  But what was it actually? A white chocolate shell, with candied sugar crunches on outside, split inside with half dark chocolate and half vanilla ganache.  Um, not creme brûlée.  How is this creme brûlée?  The crunchy sugar on the outside?  Meh.  It was just sweet, fairly crappy white chocolate.  Not good at all.  The sugar crunchies were the only good part.

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Red Velvet Dessert Truffle

No red velvet flavor, just white chocolate coating, dark chocolate shell with some sugary cream inside (they call it ganache, but I wouldn't).  Not good.

Nut Lovers Truffles

Salted Almond Truffle.
"A smooth and subtle center of milk chocolate and almond praline with salted almonds."

This was better than many of the milk chocolate truffles, but I still wasn't a big fan.  Again, the milk chocolate shell just wasn't creamy.  The inside was an almond praline, slightly sweet, slightly salty, which was enjoyable.  I also liked the crunch from the almond bits on the outside.

It wasn't awful, but I wouldn't get it again.
Hazelnut Crunch Truffle.
"Rich, creamy hazelnut praline blended with crunchy hazelnuts and crispies achieves textural perfection inside a shell of pure milk chocolate topped with crunchy nut pieces."

I liked the little bits of hazelnut on the outside, as they gave it a fun crunch.  But the milk chocolate shell was again not good, it had a strange bitterness to it, not good bitter like dark chocolate.  The center honestly didn't taste like hazelnut or much of anything really, although it was obviously not chocolate.  I didn't like this at all.

Ice Cream Parlour Truffles

Cookie Dough Truffle.
"Cookie dough ganache in a milk and white chocolate shell, topped with dark chocolate chips." 

The filling was super sweet and creamy, and didn't taste anything like cookie dough.  The shell was unremarkable.  The chips on the outside were kinda nice.  Wouldn't get again. [ Very sweet, creamy filling, but I wouldn't identify it as cookie dough in any way.  Not bad, but not worth getting. ]
Mint Chocolate Chip.
“Mint ganache with chocolate chips in dark chocolate shell.”

A little minty, but not much.  Smooth creamy ganache.  Not remarkable.
Pistachio.
"Pistachio and white chocolate ganache in a white chocolate shell, topped with pistachio bits."

This was better than I expected. The inside was a creamy, slightly pistachio-y flavored ganache.  There was then a thin dark chocolate shell, and then the green colored white chocolate shell.  Both were standard Godiva, not remarkable.  I liked the crunch from the pistachio on top.

I wouldn't get another, but this wasn't bad.

Dark Decadence Truffles

Aztec Spice Truffle.
"Dark chocolate ganache flavored with cinnamon, vanilla, and exotic spices inspired by an ancient Aztec recipe, all in a dark chocolate shell sprinkled with red cocoa."

Meh.  I honestly didn't taste any spicing.  The inside was chocolate ganache, creamy, but not that flavorful.  The dark chocolate shell was totally unremarkable. The red cocoa on the outside is the only thing I really tasted, added a bit of bitterness.  I was hoping this would be more like the Chocolate Lava Cake Truffle that I had enjoyed, but somehow both the ganache and the shell failed to compare.

Boutique Exclusives

Pumpkin Spice Truffle.
"Pumpkin spice ganache in a milk chocolate shell."

This is the only one I've seen with ... packaging?  Wrapped in orange foil, with a cloth leaf, and a metal twirly stem.  Super weird.  Also amusing is that they then wrapped it in the Godiva paper, as they normally do with the non-packaged truffles.

Anyway, the truffle.  Once I removed the foil, the pumpkin spice aroma was strong.  Perhaps that is why they wrap it?  The milk chocolate shell was the same as always, and I just don't like it.  The ganache was orange-ish, creamy, and I guess pumpkin spiced, in that it certainly had nutmeg.  I didn't taste any pumpkin, and it didn't promise to have pumpkin, just the spices, so I guess that makes sense.  I imagine there was cinnamon too, but all that came through for me was the nutmeg, a bit too strong, so it had a kinda soap-like finish.

Thanks for playing the pumpkin spice game Godiva, but not really a winner.
Peppermint (?)
White chocolate shell, pink minty filling.

There was a lot of white chocolate going on here, the shell was thick and there was a band through the center as well.  And it was the cloyingly sweet version of white chocolate that gives it a bad rep.  The inside was creamy, minty, and uh, pink.  The mint flavor was quite nice.  I think this would be decent paired with a rich, dark hot chocolate, something to compliment the peppermint, but also help cut the sweet.  Or maybe just put this filling into a dark chocolate shell.

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Myer’s Rum Truffle

"Rum flavored milk chocolate butter cream, enrobed in dark chocolate, rolled in dark chocolate flakes."

The inside butter cream was a bit boozy and creamy, which was nice.  But the shell was a bitter, unpleasant dark chocolate. The chocolate flakes it was rolled in added interesting texture at least, but not good taste.  Would not get again.

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Salted Caramel

"Luxuriously soft caramel blended with gourmet sea salt nestled inside a dark chocolate shell."

The filling was indeed a very soft, almost gooey caramel.  I didn't taste any sea salt however.  The dark chocolate shell was better than their milk chocolate, but I still wasn't into it.

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Pumpkin Cheesecake Truffle

"Pumpkin spice ganache and cheesecake ganache in a milk chocolate shell".

This was another one split in half, with one part the "cheesecake" ganache that was just sweet and tasted nothing like cheesecake, and the other part the pumpkin spice, which did have some spiced flavors, but wasn't all that good.


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Dark Chocolate Caramel Truffle

Dark chocolate shell, nice carmely ganache filling, one of the better pieces I've had.  Filling was creamy and nice, chocolate flavor was decent.

Parfaits

The parfaits are one of their newer collections, basically chocolate cups filled with some sort of ganache, usually in several layers.  They all have amazing sounding names.  The retail for a whopping $2.50 for a small piece of chocolate!
Raspberry Cheesecake Parfait.  $2.50.
"Creamy vanilla cheesecake tops a tart raspberry ganache in a dark chocolate cup, topped with raspberry bits." 

Hmm.  The shell was very thin, slightly bitter dark chocolate.  I didn't think it went well flavor-wise with the sweet filling, it contrasted harshly.  A white chocolate shell would have been more fitting.  The raspberry bits on top were very off putting, they seemed like just gritty raspberry seeds.  The top layer was the "creamy vanilla cheesecake", which was very creamy, but I didn't taste any vanilla nor cheesecake.  The bottom layer was the "tart raspberry ganache", which was raspberry flavored, and the consistency of caramel.  Overall, the flavors did not come together, the textures were wrong, and I would not get another.  Ugh, I hated the raspberry bits on top!

Ganaches

Described as "extremely smooth filling obtained by mixing full cream which is added to the chocolate and stirred until a smooth paste is obtained."  Similar to the truffles, but shaped differently.
Lady Noir Ganache.
Dark chocolate filled with white chocolate ganache flavoured with madagascar vanilla."  

Smooth dark chocolate, filled with creamy ganache.  Didn't really taste like white chocolate nor vanilla.  Meh.
Tourbillon 85 Ganache.
"Dark chocolate filled with 85% cocoa and dark chocolate ganache".

Smooth dark chocolate shell, shiny, sweet but a bit of complexity.  Filling was creamy dark chocolate.  I wouldn't get this again, but it wasn't bad.
Mokalata Ganache.
"Sweet and velvety chocolate cream blended with decadent cappuccino in milk chocolate."

Melty, boring chocolate shell, filling was thick and sorta cappuccino flavored.  Did not like.
Signature Blanc Café Ganache.
"Rich coffee infused chocolate ganache in a smooth white chocolate shell and adorned handycraft milk chocolate leaf."

Subtle coffee flavor in creamy filling, boring white chocolate shell.  The shell was amazingly uninteresting - not sweet, not creamy, just there.   Meh.

Gems

These are smaller than the truffles, individually wrapped chocolates.

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  • Dark Chocolate Gem: Tasting notes: decent dark chocolate but nothing spectacular.
  • Dark Chocolate Caramel Gem: Tasting notes: kinda flavorless. Caramel is just sweet, chocolate isn’t interesting.
  • Milk Chocolate Caramel Gem: Tasting notes: same as dark chocolate caramel gem, just with milk chocolate.
  • Milk Chocolate Caramel Apple Truffle Gem: Tasting notes: milk chocolate filled with apple caramel creamy center. Tasting notes: This was a non-labelled sample, so it was a blind tasting for me. I immediately detected the apple flavor. The inside was creamy and vaguely caramel flavored as well. Milk chocolate exterior was forgettable, their standard sweet milk chocolate. Overall one of the better Godiva chocolates I’ve had, but I’m still not a fan. [ chocolate kinda crappy, interior really fake tasting ]

Pralines

This line is described as "Finely ground and caramelised roast hazelnuts to which chocolate is added, producing the unique softness and gentle, nutty flavour that says Godiva praliné."
Croustine Praline.
"Soft praliné with shortbread biscuit and ground nougatine, in white chocolate, decorated with sugar coated hazelnut pieces." 

The white chocolate was the same sort of white chocolate that gives it bad name.  Just kinda waxy and sweet.  The filling was gritty and sweet, not very good.  I really didn't like this piece.
Mosaïque Macadamia Praline.
"Milk chocolate filled with roasted caramelized macadamia nut and a soft praliné with shortbread biscuit and ground nougatine". 

Smooth milk chocolate outside, creamy filling that seemed just chocolate, with a crunchy layer on top.  The crunchy stuff was pretty sweet, I guess that was the caramelized macadamias, but I didn't really taste the nuts themselves, nor did I find any shortbread biscuit.

Shakes

Only at select locations (the boutiques), Godiva also makes shakes, in several chocolate varieties.  I had one of these that I loved once, but I don't have my tasting notes from it.  Since then, I've tried a few samples from time to time.
    Milk Chocolate Decadence Shake (sample size).
    This was very icy, with not that great of chocolate flavor.  The whipped cream on top was nice, as was chocolate drizzle, but there wasn't anything impressive about it, and it really didn't seem like a "shake", much more just like blended ice and cocoa.

    $6 for a full size, I would never pay that for this product.
    White Chocolate Strawberry Shake.
    "Strawberry purée blended with white chocolate flavor, topped with whipped cream and strawberry sauce."

    I walked by one day as they were just finishing off some samples of a new flavor: white chocolate strawberry.  They looked delicious, and I remembered how much I loved the first one I had, so I gleefully took a mini-shake.

    It was again just very icy, vaguely white chocolate flavored I guess, which just sorta means sweet.  I found out why they have seemed so icy though - it turns out, they aren't actually milkshakes!  The guy handing out the samples initially said, "White Chocolate Strawberry Milkshake", and the other Godiva employee immediatley corrected him, "Not milkshake, just shake".  Someone else asked what was in it, and the mystery was solved: ice, blended with white chocolate powder, and I think she said something about white chocolate chips.  No wonder it tasted like blended ice, it was blended ice.

    The consistency was really nice though, and I loved the texture from little bits of something ground up inside of it.  The whipped cream was generic out of a can, and the raspberry drizzle was sweet but good.

    Overall, tasty-ish, but I'd never pay for a real one, a whopping $6 each for just sweet blended ice?

    Bark

    Birthday Cake Bark.
    "White chocolate crisps immersed in creamy white chocolate and birthday cake flavors layered on smooth milk chocolate and topped with colorful sprinkles." Available in the boutiques only. 

    The white chocolate wasn't very interesting, not really sweet, just waxy and there.  The white chocolate crisp balls added a little crunch, but I didn't really care for them.  The sprinkles were cute, but lost.  The milk chocolate was the same as the rest of theirs, just not very good.

    Other

    White Chocolate Raspberry Star
    “Refreshing raspberry puree within creamy-sweet white chocolate.”

    I really did not like this.  The white chocolate was very boring, waxy.  But the filling just had an awful flavor to it.  It was a pink liquid, I guess raspberry.  Would never get again.

    [ Not Pictured ]
    • Strawberry Truffle Bar: "Sweet strawberry purée enrobed in creamy Godiva milk chocolate." Tasting notes: fairly creamy decent milk chocolate, strawberry interior just gooey and not very interesting, sorta like strawberry toaster strudel filling.
    • Shell with Passion Fruit and Banana: Tasting notes: dark chocolate shell, not particularly complex, fairly creamy for a dark, does have some good bitterness. Inside is two compartments, one of each filling, fillings are just sweet goo, not particularly flavorful or good.
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