Sunday, November 15, 2015

Godiva Chocolates, the International Edition!

Update Review, November 2015

Over the years, I've reviewed a slew of Godiva chocolates from the US, from when I was a member of their chocolate club (free chocolate every month!).  You may recall that I was never particularly impressed, and believe me, I tried many.  And then a couple years ago, Emil brought some Godiva truffles back from the UK, which were certainly better than the US versions, but I still never really intended to seek more Godiva chocolate out. 

So why am I reviewing again?  Well, this time around, I received some chocolates as part of turndown service at the W hotel in Paris.  Who am I to say no to chocolate showing up on my doorstep?

Truffles Collection

Truffe Creme Brûlée, Speculoos.
“Generous, each truffle encapsulates an intense centre and is rolled in delicate flakes, nuts or chocolate powder.”

My first box contained two different truffles, neither labelled though, so it wasn't until after, when I looked them up online that I discovered which I had: the Truffe Creme Brûlée and Speculoos.
Speculoos: Cross-Section.
“Inspired by the traditional Belgian Biscuit Speculoos. A light yet very sophisticated mousse, with a hint of speculoos surrounded by smooth milk chocolate and covered with a Speculoos biscuit crunch – a truly Belgian treat.”

I started with the speculoos without knowing what it was, as I only looked it up online after I consumed it.  So, my blind tasting notes:

Crispy crumbles on the outside, slight caramelized flavor.  I liked the crunch from the crumbles.  The filling was a creamy milk chocolate.  The shell was also milk chocolate, and thicker than I expected.

As I said, I had no idea what flavor this was when I tried it, but once I read that it was speculoos, that seemed right.  I knew it wasn’t quite a graham cracker crumb coating, but that was my closest guess.  The crumbles seemed a bit more caramelized, so, speculoos definitely makes sense.
Crème brûlée: Cross-section.
"Blend of caramelized vanilla cream and dark chocolate, enrobed in a white chocolate shell, sprinkled with a brown sugar."

This one I went into knowing what it was, since I had looked up the speculoos, and saw the description of this one.

It really did actually taste a bit like crème brûlée, which shocked me.  As you can see, it had many layers.  The "caramelized vanilla cream" was a bit like caramel, but blonder, and thicker.  It is where the crème brûlée flavor came from.  Below that was a dark chocolate layer, again like caramel, and then a chocolate shell and a white chocolate shell.  I really liked the brown sugar on the outside, it added a tiny bit of crunch.

The flavor and textures were good, but, I'm not really sure what the chocolate was doing here.  Crème brûlée doesn't have chocolate ... but then again, I guess Godiva IS a chocolate company after all.

Interestingly, it appears that I had tried this before, and just didn't remember it, even though it was my favorite then too.  Doh.

Milk Chocolate Collection

The next day, instead of truffles, I received milk chocolates, a slight let down.

“Smooth and velvety, Godiva milk chocolates are accented ever so slightly by delicate caramel.”

Ojan beat me to the chocolate, I am a really nice person, so I shared one with Ojan, and didn't even get a chance to see what it was before he devoured it.  (Note to self: don't announce with glee next time that chocolates just showed up.  Hide all the chocolate!)
Volupté Lait.
"An intense creamy ganache in a smooth G-embossed shell."

This was about as boring as it sounds.  Yes, it had a creamy filling, and a nice milk chocolate shell, but it was not particularly good.  Not a chocolate I would have ever selected.

Original Review, August 2013

I've reviewed Godiva chocolates before, fairly extensively, as I'm a member of the chocolate club, so I get a free piece from their boutiques every month.  Combine that with the fact that people give me boxes of truffles from time to time, and I've had most of their domestic chocolates at this point.  I haven't ever been impressed.

But Emil frequently travels through London, and brings back international Godiva chocolates.  While still not amazing, they are far better than what we have domestically, even in the "chocolate boutiques".  The following is the reviews of the latest box he brought back.  Since he got them in the shop, the truffles did not come with a guide at all, so we had no idea what any of them were.  I looked them up online afterwards, piecing together what we had.  It was kinda fun to try them this way, as I went into each one with no preconceived ideas of what they would taste like :)

International Truffles 

Truffe Traditionnelle.
"Milk chocolate cream in a milk chocolate shell enrobed in dark chocolate and rolled in cocoa powder."

Starting with the most basic.  This one was pretty boring.  Just a light colored filling, not that creamy, no real flavor.  Least favorite.
Truffe Amère.
"Extra dark chocolate butter cream enrobed in dark chocolate and rolled in dark chocolate flakes."

Stepping it up a notch, but still a bit boring.  It was just dark chocolate, covered with more dark chocolate, covered with dark chocolate flakes.  It was ok dark chocolate, but meh.
Truff Amande Au Miel.
"Almond praline with honey and pieces of almonds in a milk chocolate shell, rolled in pieces of roasted and caramelized almonds with honey".

Inside was two layers: one was a creamy milk chocolate, the other the honey almond praline.  The praline had a nice sweetness from the honey, and a bit of texture from ground almonds.  The entire thing was rolled in chopped almonds, which were a bit much, masking the other flavors.  Overall though, this was quite good, and everyone enjoyed them.
Truffe Exotique.
"Macadamia nut praline in milk chocolate shell, enrobed in milk chocolate and rolled in finely shredded toasted coconut"

This was similar to the the previous truffle, on the surface.  This time, the praline was macadamia nut, but I didn't taste any macadamia.  Or praline really.  It was just light colored filling.  Surrounded by the same mediocre milk chocolate, and rolled in toasted coconut, that had a bit of a bad mouth feel.  Not a favorite of mine!

Interestingly, two others in my tasting group deemed this one of their favorites.  To each his own :)
Truffe Fruit Framboise.
"Dark chocolate mousse with a fruity puree center, enrobed in dark chocolate and rolled in icing sugar and raspberry powder".

The inside was two layers: a chocolate mousse, and a raspberry puree.  It said dark chocolate mousse, but it seemed pretty mellow to me.  The puree was very sweet and clearly raspberry flavored.  Decent combo.
Truff Cognac
"Milk chocolate butter cream with Fine Champagne Cognac housed in milk chocolate shell and rolled in dark cocoa powder"

Seriously boozy!  The center was like a boozy caramel, nicely creamy.  My favorite of the chocolate truffles, second favorite overall.
Truffe Unknown.
Not sure what this one was.

The filling was two layers, one white chocolate, one slightly fruity mousse?  Rolled in dark chocolate and icing sugar.  The fruity layer tasted possibly raspberry?  I really don't know.  One other person said it was "not quite orange".   Maybe grand marnier?
Cerisette.
"Cherry soaked in Krisch and Kirsch syrup in dark chocolate."

Since I didn't know what this was, I cut it in half to see what was inside.  Immediately I regretted my move, as liquid spilled out everywhere!

It was a full cherry, soaked in syrup, dipped in dark chocolate, and covered with chocolate sprinkles.

The cherry was a full cherry, pit and all, which surprised me.  It also still had the stem, which you can see sticking out the top.  I almost choked on the pit, not expecting it, and tried to eat the stem, thinking it was something else.  Whoops!

Once I got past all my errors, this was ok, slightly boozy, decent dark chocolate.  Not my favorite though.
Truff Crème Brûlée.
"Caramelized vanilla cream and dark chocolate enrobed in dark chocolate enrobed in white chocolate and sprinkled with brown sugar"

This was the most complex of all of the truffles, which I didn't expect given its white chocolate exterior.  The center was a creamy chocolate filling, almost caramel-like.  Surrounding that was vanilla cream.  Then a layer of dark chocolate.  Then the white chocolate.  And crispy little brown sugar crystals on top.

The inside was creamy.  The shell had a nice snap.  The brown sugar crystals added more texture.  This was actually my favorite, even though it wasn't really featuring chocolate at all.  I had a bunch of these, and didn't share any.  Highlight of the box for me, hands down!
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