Friday, November 20, 2015


I adore Chex mix.  Well, specifically, I adore homemade Chex mix.  Every year at Christmas, my mom and my grandmother make a great classic Chex mix, but the one I really love is "muddy buddies", aka, Chex coated with chocolate and peanut butter, rolled in powdered sugar.  You may also know this as "puppy chow".  Don't judge it by the name, I promise you, this stuff is sooo addicting.  I'm also generally a fan of whatever other sweet varieties my mom makes, and, she likes to experiment with these, so I've tried quite a few.

In fact, I'm pretty sure I never had commercially made Chex mix until recently.  Conclusion?  The ones my mom makes at home are much better.  Oh, and Chex Chips?  Also not a winner, but, interesting.

Chex Chips

Did you know that Chex makes ... chips?  I didn't either.

They are marketed as a healthier alternative to classic potato chips, made from wheat.  Available in 3 savory flavors (caramelized onion, cheddar jalapeño, and wasabi), and one sweet (cinnamon and sugar).
Cheddar Jalapeño.
I opened my bag and was a bit surprised.  They did indeed look just like Chex, except, super sized.

The texture however wasn't like classic Chex, they were puffier, lighter.  They reminded me of Bugles (which, interestingly, is made by the same parent company, General Mills).

I almost liked these.  The flavor was actually pretty good, cheesy and spicy.  The flavor lingered, not in a bad way.  But ... at the end of the day, I wanted either Chex mix, or I wanted chips, not this strange hybrid in the middle, that was just a little too light to be interesting.

Traditional Chex

Traditional Chex Mix.
This is your classic Chex mix, containing pumpernickle chips, wavy sticks, two shapes of pretzels, and two varieties of Chex.

The pretzels came in two shapes, a ring or a grid, but tasted the same, generic, kinda buttery, not interesting.  The chips were my favorite part, crunchy, but there were not many of them.  I have no idea what the wavy sticks were, but they were an interesting shape at least?  They seemed perhaps garlicky?  The Chex was … just Chex.

Overall, this was really disappointing, it was salty, but otherwise had no flavor.  I love Chex Mix, but a classic homemade mix with Worcheshire is just so much better.  Maybe I'm just more used to the versions my Mom and grandmother each make, but this just seemed soooo plain!  I really wanted more flavor.

Simply Chex

Simply Chex® is their healthier line of products, boasting 60-70% less fat than potato chips.
Simply Chex: Chocolate Caramel.
The chocolate caramel is a mix of, you guess it, chocolate covered and caramel covered Chex pieces.  There was an even distribution of both flavors.

I was excited for this mix, and it sounded quite decadent, but actually, it was far more restrained than I expected.  While the Chex pieces did have both caramel and chocolate coating, the coating was very light.  There was a slight chocolate flavor to the chocolate version, a slight caramel flavor to the caramel version, but overall, it wasn't nearly as sweet or coated as I wanted.

I guess they are trying to make this a bit healthier than the versions I'd make at home, as package was only 120 calories. But uh, I wanted a decadent sugar bomb, not a healthy treat!
Simply Chex: Strawberry Yogurt.
Next up, another sweet one: strawberry yogurt.  The strawberry yogurt mix contains 3 different types of Chex: a light and a dark colored one, each with slightly strawberry seasoning, and a third white one, actually coated in strawberry yogurt, like the ones pictured in center of the photo on the bag.  That final one was the only one with real flavor, and was my favorite, but my bag contained exactly 2 of them.  2!

The mix was overall very disappointing.  I like the crunch, the strawberry flavor was nice when I was able to taste it, but overall, there was just not enough flavoring, and it was not nearly sweet or decadent enough.  Again, healthy Chex mix just isn't my thing I guess.   
Simply Chex: Cheddar.
A finally, I tried a savory version: cheddar.

This mix contains two different types of Chex, each with a slight cheddar coating.  Like the others, I wished there was more coating, but the cheddar was much stronger than the sweet coatings.

I tend to like all varieties of Chex mix, sweet or savory, but this one didn't quite do it for me.  It was crunchy, it was fun to nibble on, and the cheddar flavor was actually pretty good, but somehow cheddar on Chex doesn't quite work for me.  I didn't dislike it exactly, and easily finished the bag, but I wouldn't get it again.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Sweet E's Bakeshop, Los Angeles

As you likely realize by now, baked goods, and well, any desserts, are pretty much my favorite things.  I love trying basically any and every baked good I come across, so I was thrilled when an event I attended had absolutely adorable cake pops supplied by Sweet E's Bakeshop, in Los Angeles.

In addition to a retail storefront, Sweet E's operates a food truck (which you can also book for events).  They seem to do a lot of special event catering, with or without the truck.  And they ship nationwide.  But what I was really surprised by is their local delivery network.  Their sweets are offered via basically every big delivery platform: Eat24, grubhub, Postmates, Doordash.  Yes, you can get same day, nearly instant, delivery of bakery products.  OMG.  Dear San Francisco, you need to catch up (random stale muffins from generic cafes does NOT count!).

So, what does Sweet E's offer?  Um ... everything?  OMG.

For cookies, you can go for any of the classics (chocolate chip, M&M, oatmeal, snickerdoodles, sugar), or slightly amped up (peanut butter white chocolate, trail mix, triple chocolate chunk, white chocolate chip, white chocolate macadamia), or French macaroons if you want a bit classier (in nearly 20 flavors), or even chocolate covered Oreos (with your choice of dark, milk, or white chocolate, or even peanut butter coating).  Or, opt for stuffed cookies, chocolate chip cookies stuffed with candy (Twix, Rolos, Peanut Butter Cups, etc).  Yes, full size candy, baked inside a cookie.  Wat?!

Maybe you like things dipped in chocolate, but didn't want the Oreos? You can also have strawberries or pretzels dipped in assorted chocolates and coatings (as in, dipped in dark chocolate and coated with say ... M&Ms).  Or a ridiculous range of candy coated caramel apples.

More of a brownie/bar person?  You've got more than 10 choices, including items like a loaded brownie with chocolate chips, pretzels, Oreos, cookie dough, and mini M&Ms or the "Peanut Butter Bliss" with a peanut butter and white chocolate fudge base, with marshmallows, rice krispies, and chocolate chips).  Or crispie treats, not just standard rice crispie treats, also cocoa puffs or fruity pebbles.

Are you more like me, more of a pie person?  You can get full size pies, mini pies, or pie "bites".  Prefer tarts?  Individual tarts, or tart "bites" are for you.  And they make chocolates, s'more's lollipops, treats for your dog (including pupcakes and dipped dog bones), and randomly, challah.

But from their menu, my eyes narrowed right in on the sweet popcorns.  I love, love, love popcorn and other snack mixes, sweet or savory.  Serious addict here.  And Sweet E's has a bunch of offerings, with all sorts of goodies mixed in.  Did I mention, OMG?

However, none of these items mentioned so far were available at the event.  The majority of the menu  (yes, I've barely gotten started) is devoted to cake products.  Yes, this already impressive lineup has more, much, much more.  Standard cakes, cupcakes, and cake pops.  Oh, and "cupcake push pops".  And cakes served in mason jars.

If you thought there was a lot of options already, then ... prepare to be overwhelmed.  Let's start with the classic layer cakes.  Offered in a whopping 39 varieties!  I won't enumerate them here, but they include multiple gluten-free and vegan options.  The peanut butter lover in me had a hard time looking past the Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake, with peanut butter mousse, crushed Reese's, and silky chocolate fudge between the layers of chocolate cake ... all coated in chocolate buttercream and topped with even more crushed Reese's peanut butter cups.  ZOMG.  I have a co-worker who I know would go nuts for the Nutella Praline Cake.  The S’more Cake, coated in toasted marshmallow buttercream, is a sight to behold.  And yes, those 39 are just the "classic" layer cakes.  They also make a slew of pre-designed cakes, or can take your logo or design and turn it into a stunning creation.

But let's move on.  Cupcakes.  A more modest selection, only offered in 26 varieties, many with beautiful garnishes.  And then ... cupcake push pops.  You can kinda guess what these are.  Sorta a hybrid between a classic layer cake and a cupcake, stuffed into a push pop.  Three layers of cake with frosting between, topped with even more frosting a la cupcake.  Here you can only pick between 11 varieties.

However, none of that was available either.  We had only cake pops, which, while still desserts, are one of my least favorites.  Really, I tend to not care for cake in general, I just don't generally get excited by cake and frosting, no matter what form you put it in.  I do tend to like cake pops more than classic cake, and, I mean, no matter what, I obviously had to try out a new bakery!

So I dug in.  I was glad I did.  I found one variety I really liked, and wish I had a chance to try more of Sweet E's offerings.  Next time I'm in town ...
Cake Pops! $3.25 each.
"Sweet E's cake pops are made of fully baked cake and frosting creating a moist, truffle-like center.  They are then dipped in chocolate, beautifully decorated, and individually wrapped and tied with a pink bow."

Sweet E's makes cake pops in 16 different flavors.

There are some that sound awesome, like Banana Split, Cookie Dough, Cookies 'N Cream, and Chocolate Peanut Butter.  They also have some citrus flavors (key lime, lemon), seasonal offerings (pumpkin spice of course), and more.

At the event though, they stuck with the classics, so I wasn't able to try any of the fun sounding ones.  I did of course take one of each of the three varieties available: Vanilla White Chocolate, Chocolate White Chocolate, and Red Velvet.

As you can see though, these aren't just standard round pops on a stick.  They have ears.  And adorable cat faces.  Each is individually wrapped, and tied with a bow.  So cute.

I started with the red velvet.  Like the others, it had a white chocolate shell of a good thickness.  The white chocolate was pleasantly sweet, not plastic-y.  But,  I’ll admit it, I don’t really like red velvet flavor.  The only element of red velvet I usually like is the cream cheese frosting, and this didn't have any I could taste.  So, it was just sorta chocoaltely red cake.  Meh.  Certainly not my flavor of choice.

Next I went for the vanilla white chocolate, expecting it to be plain and boring.  I was shocked to see the inside wasn't just white.  It was ... rainbow sprinkles!  Like, funfetti!  I actually really enjoyed this flavor, and devoured it in just a couple bites.  I tried to stop to take a photo, but alas, I devoured it way too fast.  It was sweet, it tasted like a birthday, and the consistency was great, very very moist.

Ok, maybe cake pops aren't always a let down ...
Chocolate White Chocolate: Inside.
Finally, I tried the chocolate white chocolate.  Here you can see the interior, I cut off a chunk to show you better.

This had the same nice sweet white chocolate shell, and moist textured cake/frosting mix on the inside, this time, chocolately.  It was fine, but since chocolate cake isn't really my thing, I saved the rest of this one for chocolate loving Ojan.
Sweet E's Bakeshop Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Monday, November 16, 2015

Fill 'R Up Gastro Garage, Los Angeles

Right before Halloween, I visited Los Angeles on a recruiting trip, to speak on a panel at UCLA hosted by the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and the Women's Association of Computing Machinery (ACM-W) groups.  Next next day, I visited the Google Venice office, where I had the great fortune of stumbling into the office Halloween party.  It was epic (I swear, I didn't plan this).

Yes, we all know that I like my sweets, so you likely aren't surprised to hear me raving about a Halloween party.  But, Google Venice did something entirely unexpected.  They didn't have a standard Halloween party with candy galore.  In fact, I saw no candy at all.  Instead, they had the party catered by Fill 'R Up Gastro Garage.

I don't even begin to know how to introduce this one, so, I'll just use their own wording.  Fill 'R Up Gastro Garage makes  "Gastro Tank Gourmet Sandwiches and Desserts".  That cleared it up, right?

You know I don't really like sandwiches, so why would I be excited about this?  Well, the "sandwiches" turn out to be composed of a "Savory Brioche Donut + Nitrous Foam + Torched Topping + Finishing Oil".   Say what? Um ... yes?

They make both savory stuffed and topped donuts (dubbed Savory Gastro Tanks) and sweet stuffed and topped donuts (Sweet Gastro Tanks), plus salads, individually tossed and topped with foams (Chop Shop Salads).  We only had the donuts, both sweet and savory at the event.

All of the items are "Assembled On Site By Skilled Gastro Mechanics".  Yes, not by cooks, but mechanics?

Are you intrigued yet, because, I certainly was.

Short version?  Fill 'R Up put out an impressive lineup of both savory and sweet tanks, and I'd certainly love to try their creations again.  Plus, such a crazy unique offering.

The Setup

Fill 'R Up Gastro Garage doesn't have a retail store, instead they offer catering and do some popups around town.  They arrive with a large staff of said mechanics, which turns out to be necessary, as you'll soon see.  Oh, and lots of equipment.  (Or maybe, "tools"?).  This whole thing is a production.
The donuts require a lot of ... stuff.  Props, tools, equipment, whatever you want to call it.  Nitrogen tanks, blow torches, helmets, goggles, foam canisters, finishing elements ...

Some were necessary for the actual production of the donuts.  Others, like the helmet sitting here, were clearly just for show.  And they did put on a pretty good show.
Busy Mechanics!
Since these donuts require so much work, a staff of at least 6 mechanics were on hand, each working a different station, all in unison.
Sometimes they put on helmets.  I think these were for show.  Also for show?  The times they randomly had torches blowing giant flames into the air.  But hey, what's a party without some fire?
The menu: 3 savory and 3 sweet options.
Our hosts picked 3 savory (one vegetarian) and 3 sweet options from the extensive menus that Fill 'R Up can provide.

While waiting and watching the action, I eagerly read the menu, excited to see our options.

  • Filly Tank: Aged Sharp White Cheddar Foam + Torched New York Strip + Caramelized Onion Puree +Truffle Salt
  • Cubano Tank: Gruyere Foam + Torched 12 Hour Slow Roasted Pork + Applewood Smoked Ham + Mustard Caviar + Dill Plank
  • Piston Pizza  Tank: Mozzarella Foam + Torched Shredded Mozzarella + Tomato Basil Puree + Fresh Basil  + Maldon Salt (vegetarian)
  • Campfire Tank: Double Chocolate Foam + Torched Marshmallow Pillow + Graham Powder + Milk Chocolate Chunk
  • Apple Pie a La Torch Tank: Sweet Vanilla Bean Foam + Cinnamon Apple Puree +  Torched Sharp Cheddar + Graham Powder
  • 1 Eyed 1 Horned Flying Purple Google Eater: Vanilla Bean Foam + Torched Purple Cream Cheese Frosting + Red Velvet Crumble + Pecans + Crema
I stopped reading the menu after the very first one.  The Filly.  Hmm.  This sounded familiar, and not because it was a deconstructed Philly cheesesteak.  The night before, I had dinner at The Bazaar, a José Andrés restaurant at my hotel.  On the menu there was a "Philly Cheesesteak", which they describe as "air bread, cheddar, wagyu beef".  I didn't get one myself, but from my research, I knew what it was.  The "air bread" is stuffed with cheddar espuma, and topped with very thinly sliced wagyu beef and caramelized onion puree.  The "Philly Cheesesteak" is a signature dish that has been on the menu since The Bazaar opened.  This "Filly Tank" sure sounded similar, except with a brioche donut instead of "air bread" (which I consider an upgrade), aged sharp white cheddar foam rather than fiscalini cheddar espuma (basically the same thing), and New York Strip rather than Wagyu (downgrade). They both even have the caramelized onion spread on top with the beef.

It turns out, the founder of Fill 'R Up used to work at the Bazaar, and most definitely took inspiration from that dish, after watching so many patrons react so positively to it.

In addition to the selections we had at our event, Fill 'R Up makes a slew of other varieties, including a decadent sounding Rolls Royce Tank, filled with béarnaise foam, and topped with garlic poached lobster tail, crème fraîche, and caviar.  So many possibilities, you really can stuff about anything into a donut, it turns out.

Assembly in Action

After admiring the setup, it was time to watch the "mechanics" in action.  Each "tank" took a ridiculous amount of assembly.

The donut shells arrived pre-cooked, but everything else is done on-site.  The steps seem to go as follows:
  1. Inject the donut with flavored foam.
  2. Torch the top of the donut to warm it.
  3. Torch individual topping components (if necessary).
  4. Assemble, adding on multiple layers of toppings, generally including purees from squeeze bottles.
  5. Torch the whole thing.
  6. Add garnishes (oils, salts, etc).
Injecting Foam.
Step one for all donuts is to inject the foam filling, which come out of standard whipped cream dispensers.  Each donut had its own flavor of foam.
Torching New York Strip for Filly Tank.
Next, some varieties require toppings to be individually torched, like the New York strip for the Filly Tank, as you see pictured here.
Torching the smoked ham and mustard for the Cubano Tank.
As did the smoked ham and mustard layer for the Cubano Tank above.

The marshmallow for the Campfire Tank got a similar treatment.
Assembling the Piston Pizza Tank.
After being stuffed, and having the toppings prepared on the side, assembly begins.

Here, the cheese and sauce are added on top of the already stuffed Piston Pizza Tank.
Torching the top of a Piston Pizza Tank.
Once fully assembled, there is more torching to be done.

Here, the mechanic melts the cheese and warms the sauce on top of a Piston Pizza Tank.
Final Step: Basil Garnish for the Piston Pizza Tank.
Once the final torching is done, the assembly still isn't over.

Afterwards, the Piston Pizza tank has chopped basil added as a garnish.  Others have similar garnishes or finishing oils drizzled over.
Final steps of finishing off the Cubano Tank.
The Cubano Tank is topped off with a "pickle plank".

In front of this mechanic's station, you can see the red velvet crumbs and pecans ready to top off the "1 Eyed 1 Horned Flying Purple Google Eater", and chives for the Filly Tank.  In the orange squirt bottle is creme for the 1 Eyed, and in the other, mustard for the Cubano.  So many elements!

The Results!

So, after all that work, how are they?

All feature soft, fluffy, brioche donuts.  The donut isn't particularly sweet, which makes sense since it is used for both the sweet and savory creations.  While clearly donuts, these weren't too oily or heavy feeling.  All very good vehicles for all the ridiculousness inside and out.
1 Eyed 1 Horned Flying Purple Google Eater (left), Filly Tank (right).
"Aged Sharp White Cheddar Foam + Torched New York Strip + Caramelized Onion Puree + Truffle Salt."

I started with the savory Filly Tank (right).

Inside was aged sharp white cheddar foam, which while savory, didn't really have much cheese flavor.  I expected a bit more from aged sharp cheese.  I also somehow expected it to be more cheesy, oozing cheese, even though I realize it was foam, not cheese itself.

The New York Strip was very thinly sliced, with several slices laid on top.  The quality seemed decent.

I didn't taste any of the caramelized onion, but there was definitely a tiny pop of truffle on the finish, which I really liked, particularly with the donut.

Overall, this variety was interesting, but not nearly as flavorful as I expected.

"Vanilla Bean Foam + Torched Purple Cream Cheese Frosting + Red Velvet Crumble + Pecans + Crema."

I moved on to a sweet offering, the one created just for Google, the "1 Eyed 1 Horned Flying Purple Google Eater".

It was pretty awesome.

The foam inside was sweet.  I didn’t taste vanilla bean necessarily, but it was sweet and frothy, pleasant.

The cream cheese frosting took over the flavor, which was not a bad thing.  The amount of frosting was more than generous, but it was quite tasty.

On top of all that were bits of red velvet cake, crunchy pecans, and a dot of orange crema.

Definitely my favorite of all the varieties I tried.  Basically a sweet stuffed donut married with a cupcake?  Yes please.  Nothing to criticize here at all.  Move over cronut, this is a far more successful mashup of two well known baked goods.
Cubano Tank.
"Gruyere Foam + Torched 12 Hour Slow Roasted Pork + Applewood Smoked Ham + Mustard Caviar + Dill Plank."

Once I was ready for anther savory round, I went for the Cubano.  (I never tried the Piston Pizza, as, well, even I couldn't eat 6 filled, topped donuts, and that sounded the least exciting).

This one had a gruyere foam inside, which had a lot more flavor than the aged sharp white cheddar in the Filly.

On top was tangy mustard, a slice of ham, and a really generous layer of slow roasted pulled pork.  It was too porky for me, but that is to be expected.  I'm not a huge fan of pork products (besides bacon).

What I was a fan of however was the pickle.  It was delicious. (Yes, I'm raving about a pickle, when reviewing crazy donuts.  It was that good!).

I liked this more than the Filly, since the cheese foam had more flavor, and I loved the pickle, but I still didn't love it due to the pork, which is definitely just my own preference.  I heard many others proclaiming this one their favorite, as they jumped right back in line for another.

The savory concept for the tanks definitely does work, and I'd gladly try other varieties.
Campfire Tank.
"Double Chocolate Foam + Torched Marshmallow Pillow + Graham Powder + Milk Chocolate Chunk."

I obviously needed to finish on a sweet note though.  I opted for the Campfire rather than the "Apple Pie a La Torch".

This was obviously a play on a s'more.

Inside was double chocolate foam, which was good, but not very rich nor chocolatey.  I wanted more chocolate flavor.  The foam is a fun texture, but, like the cheese in the Filly, it seems like not necessarily the best filling, since foam can't really carry that much flavor.

The "marshmallow pillow" on top was good (and perhaps the only element of any of these that really made sense to be toasting in the first place?)

I didn't actually taste the graham powder in the description, I'm not sure where that was.

On top was a single rectangle of Hershey's chocolate ... torched.  I thought the torching would just make it melty, which it did, but it also made it taste burnt.  Not smoky, but actually burnt.  A bit too far in the "campfire" direction for my taste.

Still, my second favorite overall.  Clearly, I like my sweets.

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?
"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!