September 22nd: Godiva Handpicked Fresh Truffle Selection

Despite receiving several requests down the years, for some reason or other I have never made my way around to trying any Godiva products. This was a revelation that came to the massive surprise of my new American work colleague Rose, who when I revealed the theme of my website exclaimed, and I quote ... "Godiva must be a the top of the list, it is the best chocolate ever". After somewhat embarrassingly telling her that this was a brand I hadn't managed to feature once over the last three years, Rose took it upon herself to set that right and kindly bought me a handpicked selection box of some of her favourite truffles from one of Godvia's flagship stores in London.

Before indulging myself in the truffles I made a point of doing a little background research courtesy of Wiki ... "Godiva (guh-DY-vuh) was founded in 1926 in Brussels, Belgium, by Joseph Draps. Godiva now owns and operates more than 450 retail boutiques and shops in the United States, Canada, Europe, and Asia and is available via over 10,000 speciality retailers". Quite how I have managed to not review such a well distributed manufacture of chocolates I do not know.

Well anyway thanks to Rose I got my hands on six of their fresh truffle range. The presentation of the produce I got to sample today can only be be described as beautiful. Everything from the golden coloured box, dainty ribbon, branded inner padding, to the chocolates themselves, just looked stunning and radiated the sense that this brand offered a high end chocolate experience.

What with this selection being handpicked from a Godiva chocolate counter, there was unfortunately no menu to identify the pieces you see below. With the assistance of the Godiva wesbite I have been able to determine the names of the chocolates, though for the majority I was tasting them blind, not knowing what to expect.

Creme Fraiche Pistache - The pistachio flavoured fresh cream at the centre of this piece meant I had to consume these chocolates within 3 days of receiving them - as if I really needed any more encouragement :D Encased by an intricately crafted double layered milk and white chocolate shell, a delicious creamy cocoa taste was established from the outset. The mouth feel created by biting in to the crisp shell and then in to the soft cream centre was out of this world, but the pistachio element didn't really come through in the compounding cream flavours. A beautiful truffle, but yet again it could been even better. Good.

Noix Macadamia - This was one of my favourites from the selection and combined an outer shell of milk chocolate with a praline nougatine filling and a single macadamia piece. The milk chocolate was creamy and flavoursome, and slowly revealed a drier, rougher feeling praline below. The nutty flavours of the praline were forthcoming and sweet, though it was the salty, buttery macadamia piece that made this truffle really stand out. Very classy indeed. Superb.

Praline Blanc - This was a simple hazelnut praline chocolate that was coated in a thickish layer of Godiva white chocolate. Just as I commented on with the other white chocolate pieces, the outer portion was decent with it's creamy, sweet flavour delivery and it proved a nice foil for the praline below. The praline centre didn't offer the grandest set of woody hazelnut flavours ever, but it did have a very desirable salty note within it's nuttiness that contrasted quite wonderfully with the sweeter tasting chocolate. Very Good.

Molleux Caramel Chocolat - This was one of the simpler chocolates from the selection and constituted of an outer shell of dark chocolate, with a caramel ganache centre. The dark chocolate outer portion provided a rich, unsweetened cocoa context from the outset and it melted at a slow pace to reveal a very chewy, soft centre. Texture wise the caramel centre was like a soft a version of a riesen chocolate, and it offered a subtle buttery set of toffee flavours. On the whole it was very tasty, however I think it could have been improved further by a dash of salt. Good.

Signature Blanc Cafe - Being a coffee lover this was obviously one piece I was really looking forward to trying (I did find this one on the Godiva site!). The white chocolate exterior provided a sugary, cream rooted flavour base to the initial melt, and it pleasantly softly flowed into the darker coloured ganache filling. This centre provided a more intensive cocoa experience, but I unfortunately found the coffee influence very mild and not the strength I hoped it would be. It was a nice truffle but it was disappointing due to it's lacking coffee kick. Standard.

Croustine - Despite its small size, this was a very intricately made piece that had several different constituents to it. The outer white chocolate established a cream based taste that was further compounded by the delicious praline nougatine inside. Placed within the praline, small bits of shortbread biscuit provided very unique crunchy, buttery flavours bursts, which added to the sugar hazelnut pieces on top made for a truffle that provided an extremely exciting flavour journey. Superb.

Overall I normally don't like rating or reviewing chocolates that I get given as gifts, however I feel more than comfortable in expressing the enjoyment I got from this truffle selection. Before I go overboard I should say that these weren't necessarily Hotel Chocolat or Galler beaters, but to say they belong in the same sort of league should give you some idea of how highly I thought of them. The standout pieces for me here were definitely the Croustine and the Noix Macadamia - both of which were nothing other than totally delectable. The rest of the chocolates were similarly high quality, however some of them didn't quite deliver the same flavour experiences that the other two aforementioned pieces did. The beauty of this review is that I have barely scratched the surface of what Godiva have to offer. I really look forward to my next experience with the brand - I can't envisage it will be all that long until that time. Thanks again Rose.

8.3 out of 10