Saturday, February 19, 2011

choco Bouchées in 15 flavors

We've reviewed a few Canadian chocolatiers but chocoStyle is our first from Québec.  While it helps if you know French their site does have an English translation button so don't be afraid to go check them out.  They ship to the USA and obviously to Canada where they have stores or are sold in stores you could visit if you find your way to Québec.  They sent us a 15 piece selection of their flavors all in either 45% or 75% cacao content.  It came in a very stylish box that you see here and it was packed minimally with recyclable materials.

The colored box actually slipped off a plainer white box which held the chocolate and released a wonderful dark chocolate scent as soon as it was freed.  I took this picture because it is reflects the order in which we tried them; I did get a touch of help from a few Acolytes for this review.  Each piece is larger than it looks measuring 1 inch square on the base and rising to just over a half an inch.  Each one has a lovely little picture on the top which reflects chocoStyle's ability to put your own pictures on their chocolates.  For the review I'm going to use the English title for each chocolate since most of my readers understand English but I can't be certain how many of you can read French.  I will also try to cut each to show you the inside of the pieces.  Just so you know, there is a listing online with photos for each flavor as well as on the back of the box itself. They also sent me some postcards with this information.  I shouldn't have much trouble figuring this out then.

Our first piece is the "Orange Cointreau" which has yellow diamond pattern on the top.  Inside is a thick chocolate semi-solid with a light orange fragrance.  The 75% dark chocolate shell is thick especially on the bottom and it makes some crunchy sounds for the first few chews.  The inside has a nice smooth but dark flavor with a tangy sweet orange essence that blends nicely with the cocoa.  I think this is a good example of a citrus flavor working with and not overpowering or fading underneath chocolate either of which can happen easily.

The next piece with peach and red circles and lines is the "Apricot Rosemary" in 75% dark chocolate and it does have a slight apricot scent before I cut it open.  Just like the previous piece this has a semi-solid dark center with the fruit scent though this time, oddly, that scent seems less strong then my initial whiff suggested it would be.  Here the chocolate fades into a rosemary and then a strong apricot flavor before returning at the end.  The center is actually a bit chewy and each bite releases more of the fruit.  A different balance than the first piece but still a good balance of three flavors.

If this third piece is solid inside, I'm going to stop cutting into them and give you a better look at the top of each chocolate.  I think is the "Cracked Hazelnuts" not just from the red, orange and yellow blend of colors on the top but also the scent.  Oh, this one is different in side with a layer of nut it appears under the dark chocolate shell's top.  This has a roasted hazelnut flavor and scent to it and it starts to overwhelm the chocolate which fights back to be the final flavor in an equal blend by the time I swallow.  The nut layer adds an extra crunch to each bite than last through several chews giving this more variety in sound and texture.  The 45% cacao content are called "milk chocolate" by chocoStyle so that's how I'll refer to them when we encounter them in this revelation.

The next piece has large white flowers with yellow centers marking it as the "Sea Salt Caramel"in 75% dark chocolate so I cut it open to see if it is different inside.  I don't even get to make a cut and the top pops right off to reveal caramel inside which I hope you can see.  The caramel is googy and I can taste it's tang as well as the salt. All that mixes well with the dark chocolate as this combination usually does.  The caramel almost melts in my mouth and doesn't stick to my teeth at all which makes me like this even more. 

 The second milk chocolate bouchée  has red, yellow and peach lines on it all going in one direction which says this should be the "Praline".  Over the past year my idea of "praline" has been changed by different chocolatiers and companies using it in different ways.  I don't see any nuts but it has a definite nut scent, almost a coffee hint as well.  Yes, there is something almost coffee like in the semi-solid chocolate center but I think it is a caramelized almond really.  If you think milk chocolate like most Americans do, this will seem dark to you but I can see why they didn't go with the 75%, that would have been too dark with the other flavors.  This is an interesting mixture and more of what I think of when I think "praline".

I turn to one of our Mocha Acolytes, Tim, for a look at the "Capuccino Coffee" flavor in 75% dark chocolate.  This is what he reports from his tasting. This has a very strong coffee and dark chocolate scent and taste.  The coffee flavor is more like a black coffee, which I prefer.  The two flavors blend very well together.  I think of all the coffee chocolates I've tried so far for The Chocolate Cult, this is my favorite because it is very strong, not sweetened, and blends very well with the darker chocolate.  Thanks, Tim, for helping me out with this part of our review.

The next bouchée in the box is a "Melted Cherry" in 75% dark chocolate and is marked by pale pink and dusky rose flowers on the top. There is a light cherry scent that makes it through the chocolate shell but I have to take a bite to get a true taste.  Warning!  Inside is a cherry liquid, not a solid center at all and it drips down my shirt.  It has a subtle cherry flavor, not sweet really and certainly not tart.  Sadly our Chocolate Fruit Acolyte is out of town today and has been crazy busy for weeks so I can't ask her advice.  These are preservative free chocolates do they needed to be sampled by a certain date. While the red liquid came out there is some pinkish and white material inside as well which has a stronger cherry flavor.

The next piece has a psychedelic pattern of green, yellow and even a hint of orange in thin lines over the top making this the "Praline Coriander" in 75% dark chocolate, a combination I haven't heard of before.  I can't smell anything beyond the chocolate itself so I take a bite carefully.  This makes a sharp snap and reveals a very solid center with a strong dusky nut flavor that remains me of hazelnuts but perhaps the coriander is affecting my ability to identify any nut that may exist.  Remember not all things labeled praline have nuts today.  It is an interesting flavor but I can't say that I really enjoy it myself.  Definitely more earthy than sweet and certainly unique.

Groovy blues, greens and white swirls tell me that the next piece must be "Dulce de Leche" also in the 75% dark chocolate.  Again I can only smell the dark chocolate but since I like that, I'm find with it.  Inside the shell which snaps when I take a bite, is a very soft creamy center with that definite dulce de leche flavor you want -- sweet yet tart, creamy with a nice bitter kick from the shell.  An excellent example of this flavor for chocolates or candies and one I can see returning to myself over and over though generally dulce de leche is a bit too sweet for me.

"Honey" in 75% dark chocolate, of course, has a yellow outline of honey combs but also the edge of bees making this the cutest of the bouchées in my opinion but tell me what you think please.  Inside is a semi-soft, sticky pale yellow center with a sweet honey flavor that tastes also a bit tart, making me think of wild bees, but there is also a bit of creaminess.  It blends well with the bitter chocolate and the result is an essence that seems to cool down my throat when I swallow it.  Usually I think of mint when I have this experience but then I recall that many folks use honey as well to sooth throats.  I'm not saying you could use this to self medicate but how much could it hurt?

While most of these bouchées have only a dark cocoa fragrance before you take a bite, the "Orange" has a strong scent as well as a pattern of different tones of orange over the top to identify it.  This is also a 75% dark chocolate as most but not all these pieces your Chocolate Priestess was sent do.  This makes almost no noise when I take a bite and inside is a very solid chocolate with a deep, earthy orange flavor that is more tart than sweet and mixes well with the chocolate, flipping back and forth in essence second by second as I chew.  This is definitely the strongest flavor so far in this box.

Another 45% milk chocolate is next in the "Champagne" version which has elegant curved lines in cream and brick red on top.  Inside is a semi-solid, reddish brown center with a strong champagne flavor that is slightly sour and a bit sweet.  It has a bit of burn in my mouth which suggests this is alcohol in the bouchée but don't worry because one piece will not hurt you.  However, champagne, traditional not the various new flavors I've seen and tried, isn't a flavor everyone enjoys so this is really for those of you who like the traditional drink with a kick of dark chocolate.

Once more I discover a new flavor combination in this "Strawberry Basil" piece marked with hills of red on the top and buried in 75% dark chocolate.  The top is suck in a bit and I'm thinking "Is this another liquid filled one?" and I grab a plate.  the piece has a light strawberry and basil scent before I take a bite which I do carefully.  Inside is a semi-solid dark center.  The basil flavor really overpowers the strawberry, so much so that if I had to identify it, I couldn't do it.  The dark chocolate and the basil blend into this very unique bitterness with a hint of sweet that is not fruity sweetness.  Personally I didn't really like it but I hope my description helps you decide for yourself.

Now there is one piece in this entire box that I cannot find online, on the postcards, or the back of the box.  This might be a winter special since it has huge snowflake like white stars on it.  It has the same scent as the darker chocolate and something I can't quite place but let me see if I determine the internal flavors.  The inside is a chocolate caramel, semi-soft center but it has a hint of something citrus almost inside.  A second bite reveals a bit of heat as well but my palate is not experienced enough yet to be more specific. The spicy coolness lingers but fades into the nice bitter dark chocolate.

Finally we end on "Mint" marked by a light minty color and flowers on the top of a 75% dark chocolate shell.  There is a slight mint essence when I take a very deep whiff of it but mostly the chocolate is what I smell.  Given that today, February 19, is also "National Chocolate Mint Day" I hope this ends our featured review well.  Inside is a semi-soft green center that almost matches the main color on the top of the bouchée.  It has a very strong, cool mint flavor but also a nice bitter chocolate essence that floats around on my taste buds as they tingle.  Now this would be a great way to celebrate this same day next year or if you live near a store that sells them, you should go get at least one of these today.

I made a connection with chocoStyle through the networking site LinkedIn and I'm so glad I do.  These were loving to look at, the dark 75% cocoa chocolates smelled and tasted wonderful.  The 45% milk chocolates were good as well.  I didn't get a chance to try the few white chocolate bouchées chocoStyle makes so I can't comment on those.  The dark and milk shells were thick enough in most cases to hide any hint of the internal flavor which will be a good depending on your view.  From my perspective, that corresponds often with the chocolate being the principle flavor which is one thing we love here on The Chocolate Cult.  You do need to consume them within a month or so so if you are getting these for a gift, let your loved one know that.  They also have a few white chocolate pieces and the number of bouchée you can chose range from 6, 9, 12, 15 and even 30!


All That I'm Eating said...

I don't think I could eat something as beautiful as those chocolates! Having said that, they look so good it might be too hard to resist them...

TheChocolatePriestess said...

I'm so glad you read and commented. That always makes my day. I'm glad the pictures were good enough for you to see. I can't claim any fancy equipment for photography though if I ever make money any more for us all I will use it first for a better camera and second for trips to more chocolate events to share with you all.

Anonymous said...

You have an absolutely lovely blog! Those chocolates are beautiful.
I have to say, I love anything chocolate. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this post. I am most intrigued by the strawberry basil.
I never knew chocolates could have such rich aromas. I would have loved to get a box of these for Valentine's! Maybe next year! ;)


TheChocolatePriestess said...

Thanks for reading and commenting, Tammy. I hope you start following us and leaving lots of comments. chocoStyle seems to sell throughout the year and you can buy them in smaller amounts so if you have the money, I say that try a few might be a good investment.

Also look through our Saturday Sacraments and Special Sacramental Reviews for other products we've revealed here by the same process. Not all are as good as these and some are even better but we try to treat everything fairly.

Pegasuslegend said...

looks amazing!

Katrina said...

These are beautiful pieces of art! Truly beautiful! Thank you for sharing! :)

TheChocolatePriestess said...

Sight is certainly one of the five sense we cover but I'm glad most of these also pleased in terms of the other four senses.

mavido79 said...

These look lovely. Glad to hear that mostly they taste as good as they look.

TheChocolatePriestess said...

I'm trying to think back, I'm sure all of you might remember better than I, but have I ever had a variety of flavors in an Offering where every one was excellent?

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