June 2nd: Galler Ballotin of Pralines

If we are talking about newly discovered brands making an impression on ChocolateMission this year, Galler (See website HERE) have to be considered as standing out from the crowd when it comes to the higher end of the chocolate market. Previous reviews of chocolates like their Piemontais bar have proven that sometimes quality really is worth paying that little bit extra for, so you can imagine my excitement when they my contact at Galler informed me that she was sending me a Ballotin of Pralines.

Of course the first thing I did when I read that was Google the word 'Ballontin', at which point I learnt that it meant 'traditional packaging for fresh chocolate assortments. The concept and the name are Belgian in origin'. When my special delivery arrived the name sure lived up to it's Ballontin description, and the outer box was beautifully decorated with bows and classy looking branded material.

Upon opening the box and discarding of the copious amounts of inner padding, a delightful array of fresh cocoa and nut scents emerged. Inside a wonderful assortment of thirteen different chocolates were included - all of which were easily identifiable by a very neat looking inner menu. Below are some brief thoughts on each of the chocolates, ratings are given from Terrible to Superb, working from left to right in the pictures.

Mazagran (Dark Chocolate Heart) - This chocolate combined an outer shell of dark chocolate with a disappointingly weak flavoured coffee caramel centre. The piece was hardly lacking flavour due to the richness of the cocoa heavy chocolate, but the filling was disappointingly lacking depth in terms of it's coffee delivery. Standard.

Palet Blanc (White Chocolate Square) - This was one of the finest tasting white chocolates I have ever had in my life. The outer white chocolate shell was delightfully cream based in taste and left a strong note of vanilla on the tongue when melting. The inner milk chocolate ganache was similarly creamy and soft melting. Superb.

Gianduja (Gold Foil Wrapped) - This was the only piece in the collection that came in a wrapper and the reason why became evident as soon as it entered the mouth. The chocolate melted with the softest of melts very rapidly, and released a sudden burst of buttery almond flavours which were a nice change up from the traditional hazelnut Gianduja experience. Very Good.

Nappe (Milk Chocolate Rectangle) - This piece combined a milk chocolate exterior with a caramel flavoured ganache. The outer milk chocolate created a high level of cream based cocoa flavours in the mouth, though the caramel element didn't come through quite as powerfully in the quick melting ganache as I would have hoped. Good.

Chiba (Dark Chocolate Diamond) - This was a very fine tasting dark chocolate almond praline. The outer dark chocolate created great impact with it's unsweetened cocoa taste, though it didn't upset the delivery of the inner buttery nut flavours of the slightly rough inner praline. One of my favourites from this selection. Superb.

Oasienne (Milk Chocolate Cube) - Again this was another scintillating chocolate that combined a milk chocolate exterior with an orange flavoured almond praline centre. The milk chocolate was swift in it's creamy flavour delivery, but led nicely into the stronger tasting almond nut centre. The orange element didn't come through until the very last few seconds of the melt, but it created a lovely fruity impression. Very Good.

Secret (Milk Chocolate Heart) - This piece looked like it was going to be an innocently soft flavoured ganache due to it's shape, but inside the milk chocolate shell there was a rough layer of delicious hazelnut praline. The hazelnut filling stayed with me a long time after the melt - nothing short of divine. Superb.

Extreme (Dark Chocolate Square) - This was the richest tasting chocolate in the selection which was surprising given that it's rapid melt didn't last all that long. Combining an outer shell of 70% dark chocolate with an inner dark chocolate ganache the unsweetened roasted cocoa flavour delivery was sharp, yet long lasting. Very Good.

The Noir (Dark Chocolate Rectanlge) - This was the first chocolate I picked out from the box, and it admittedly wasn't one of my favourites. This piece constituted of an outer layer of tasty dark chocolate with a very floral noted Earl Grey tea ganache. The herby nature of the filling just didn't work with the dark chocolate for me. Poor.

Balazane (White Chocolate Rectangle) - I really wish they had put more white chocolates in this box because this was another delicious chocolate. The exterior white chocolate layer created a delicious cream flavour base and it's soft melt wonderfully revealed a finely grounded almond praline centre. The textures were really something to savour. Very Good.

Cote D'Ivoire (Dark Chocolate Cube Front) - This was yet another stand out piece which constituted of a hazelnut praline centre, coated with a layer of dark chocolate made from Ivory Coast beans. In relation to the other dark chocolate pieces the cocoa had a noticeable fruity hint amongst it's flavour generation. The hazelnut praline centre was wonderfully forthcoming bringing woody nut influence to the taste. Superb.

Carre (Milk Chocolate Cube Back) - This was a very dark looking milk chocolate that held a praline flavoured ganache at it's centre. In comparison to the pure praline pieces in the selection, the nut flavours were very short lasting in longevity and didn't cut through the creaminess of the outer chocolate as well. Standard.

Amazone (Milk Chocolate Diamond) - This was a very well crafted piece that had a dual layer of praline at it's centre. The creamy chocolate flavours provided a pleasant starting point for the taste, though it soon became all about the praline. The nut flavours had great cut through, whilst the distinction between the two layers with one being soft and the other slightly rougher, was a great playful touch. Very Good.

Overall this was a delicious collection of chocolates with some really stand out pieces. Getting the only minor negatives out the way first, you will see from my ratings above I wasn't all that enamoured by some of the flavoured ganache pieces because of their short flavour longevity, and the Earl Grey tea chocolate just wasn't to my taste. Putting those to one side, the rest of the chocolates were very fine indeed, and I would go as far saying that some were amongst the best chocolates I have ever tasted. Picking my favourites amongst each chocolate type - for the white chocolate I would say the Palet Blanc, milk chocolate I would go for the Secret and finally the dark chocolate I would pick the Chiba. If you know someone that is mad about pralines I would strongly suggest this as a great gift if you are willing to part with a pretty reasonable sounding £8.50. By my reckoning both the taste and the presentation more than account for the expense.

8.4 out of 10