Luscious Belgian chocolates, anyone? To celebrate its 90th anniversary, Godiva created a new flavor and a special Golden Anniversary Collection gift box. That fun fireworks design is by Brussels street artist Oli-B. But more important, it's filled with nine different chocolates, each celebrating a different decade and showcasing the evolution of style and flavors of Godiva. And lucky us, we got to try them all.
Executive chef chocolatier Thierry Muret came with the chocolates to make sure we didn't just gobble them right down on the spot. "These chocolates are inspired by the white tablecloth dining experience. They're sequential. You sit down, relax and enjoy."
You'd better, because Godiva puts 12 to 16 months of R&D into each chocolate. So no rushing. "Chocolate is all about a sensual experience. It melts at body temperature," Chef Thierry added. Well, we tried.
Here's what we thought of our top five.
Lady Noir (1926) is "a fine white chocolate ganache laced with exotic Madagascan vanilla." It's that larger, embossed round dark chocolate on the upper left side. Everyone loved it.
"I'm normally not a fan of vanilla, but I love this."
"It's so smooth and creamy."
"I could have one of these any time of the day or night because it's so light."
Signature Lait (1939) is a "coffee ganache, created for the multi-Oscar-winning movie Gone with the Wind. The shell is hand-decorated with a feather, recalling Scarlett O'Hara's famous hat."
"I love the story. I would buy it just for that."
"The coffee flavor is definitely not overpowering."
"I don't feel like I just ate a coffee bean."
"I want more coffee flavor, actually."
Nippon (1972), the dark rectangle with milk chocolate stripes, is a "hazelnut praliné and puffed rice launched to herald Godiva's arrival in Japan."
"Love the puffed rice. This is like an adult candy bar."
"This would be the perfect 4:00 p.m. snack. There's just enough joy. If you have this much joy first thing in the morning, it's all downhill from there."
By the way, we noticed hazelnut was a major flavor in many of the chocolates, and that's because it's central to the Belgian praline. As Chef Thierry explained to us, "Godiva is known for praline because we make it ourselves, and it’s our expertise and a flavor that patrons ask for. Praline is a typical Northern European ingredient used a lot in pastries and by confectioners."
Mousse Meringue (2015), the round one on the bottom left, is "inspired by the twin themes of contrast and harmony. Light yet crispy meringue brings a touch of surprise and texture to a creamy chocolate."
Chef Thierry says it took forever to get that crunchy meringue just right — crunchy, not soggy. Everyone noticed and appreciated it.
"It's a little salty, and the chocolate is a bit fruity. I like the crunch."
Egérie Noir (2016), the newest flavor, pictured below, is "the smoothest raspberry ganache, delicately balanced with essence of rose petals and encased in a dark chocolate." It also happens to be my favorite.
Chef Thierry says the rose extract "brightens the raspberry flavor and introduces a more exotic flavor with a floral note." But more dominant are the red notes of the raspberry juices.
That rose is extremely subtle — I wouldn't mind it being stronger, but one taster said, "Uh, it tastes like my great-aunt!"
Most everyone thought it did something magical to the raspberry. "It doesn't have that harsh, fakey raspberry flavor" and "oh, I love it!"
You can try all of these for yourself. The new Godiva Golden Anniversary Collection and Egérie Noir chocolates are available starting today. Just remember: Slow down, and savor your chocolates.
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