May 22nd, 2009 by Rosa
Back before I started candy blogging in earnest, I thought Godiva was the pinnacle of chocolates. How could they not be, with their beautiful, shiny, golden ballotins? When I was in middle school, my family got bumped up to first class for a Shanghai to Tokyo flight. They served Godivas for dessert, which only bolstered my vaunted view of the brand.
Now that I’ve tasted my way through hundreds and hundreds of sweets, I know that there are far better chocolates out there, and I’ll probably never buy Godivas myself. Still, I wouldn’t turn them down if they were offered to me for free, like at a Times Talk I attended as part of last year’s New York City Wine and Food Festival.
Our tickets for that talk did not come cheap, so I was pleased by my free box of Godivas (and the chance to meet Ferran Adria and Anthony Bourdain). The eight truffles within were (from left to right, then top to bottom in the below photo): milk chocolate, hazelnut praline, dark chocolate, smooth coconut, French vanilla, roasted almond, extra dark chocolate, and double chocolate raspberry.
Milk chocolate was a milk chocolate shell around a creamy, sweet, and fatty milk chocolate ganache. Godiva calls this one “the classic.” The dark chocolate was a dark version of the milk (duh) that I found to be overly sweet, though its fruity finish was nice.
I liked the extra dark chocolate somewhat more. Its ganache was thicker and less flowy than those of the milk and dark, but it still managed to be unpleasantly greasy. It had a deep cocoa flavor but not much flavor nuance otherwise.
The hazelnut praline (above), dubbed a “nutty reverie” by Godiva, was a milk-chocolate enrobed truffle covered in tiny bits of chopped and candied hazelnuts. The nut bits had a light crunch and a sweet crisp, and the truffle itself had a yummy, honeycombed nuttiness to it, making it my favorite in the box.
Double chocolate raspberry (aka “berry tempting” in Godiva-speak) had a strangely wet ganache enrobed in dark chocolate. It had a seedy raspberry sweet finish, and the whole truffle had a nice brightness to it.
Coconut (below) was a white ganache with a milk chocolate coating. It was nicely nutty, with a slight grain and grit to the filling. The finish was sweet and tasted strongly of coconut, and the whole thing was a tad too sweet for me.
French vanilla was dark chocolate around a creamy, white filling. I didn’t get much genuine vanilla flavor from this. Instead, I mostly tasted its saccharine finish.
Finally, roasted almond was my second favorite after the hazelnut praline. Its ganache was thick and creamy with a wonderful roasty nuttiness. I found it pleasant to eat but also a bit overly sweet. Perhaps it would have been better in a dark enrobing?
The box as a whole gets an O, while the hazelnut praline and the roasted almond get OMs. If I had paid for it (looks like retail price is ~$16.50), I would have been disappointed. Godiva truffles just aren’t that great – I think they’re over-greasified and under-flavored. Skip these guys and head to your local chocolatier instead. They’ll probably have stuff that’s far better – handmade and fresh! – for a comparable price.