What’s the definition of feminity? Well there’s probably 30 million different answers to that question given that’s the number of the fairer sex we have in this country. But as we yearn for more innocent times, perhaps even from the Pride and Prejudice era, we shouldn’t fall in to the trap of stereotyping those historic ladies who donned those highly floral bustles as being weak willed – for just as the character Lydia Bennet was a mighty attractive lady, she was also confidnent and seductive – much like this Vintage Collection Boite Blanche from Charbonnel et Walker.
The point about femininity is that a guise often doesn’t adequately represent what’s on the inside. Make up; fine, flowing dresses and the most delicate of perfumes can all hide a solid, determined, headstrong personality. And that’s exactly what you get here. The packaging is gorgeous and sure to catch one’s attention when browsing their stores. Many will expect, however, the flavours to be too soft, too delicate, and perhaps even too feminine. Perhaps they’ll think they’re buying a box of violet or rose flavoured chocolates. As that’s probably the case, I don’t anticipate many men buying these for themselves, but that’d be a big mistake.
The first I reviewed was the Ginger Marzipan. You see , it wasn’t an insipid floral ganache, but a sweet, punchy marzipan with very decent ginger and rum notes. All three of those flavours are intense in themselves, but combined they really do delightfully tantalise the tastebuds. Some will say its too sweet, and normally I agree but marzipan has something special about it, its just like a drug to me and I just adored this full-flavoured treat.
I then tried to find the apricot to cleanse my palate but strangely found myself nose to nose with a Praline Noisette, undeterred I soldiered on. I might have liked this a touch less sweet, but at least the texture was incredibly smooth and somehow quite cool and refreshing. You may find the top of your mouth being bombarded with sweetness which you may or may not like, but ultimately you’ll appreciate how addictive it is. I’m actually craving another.
Having been drawn to the name Falstaff I couldn’t resist it. After reading the menu further I found out it was made with black cherries. Even though it was another marzipan the black cherry flavour was so very intoxicating. Sweet is such an understatement here. It’ll really rock your taste buds but as its matched with an intriguing cherry flavour that intensity would be somewhat mitigated.
And next with a name such as Pomponette I just had to try. I know, its another marzipan. I did work out that fewer than a quarter of these chocolate were actually labelled as marzipan so it was just my luck that I chose so many of them. This one, however, was actually more relaxed than the others. The pistachio flavour also served to mute the marzipan and brought it back to a level where I could easily “pop” a few of these in quick succession.
Whenever I review chocolate I’m obviously drawn to conundrum: who will actually like these? I’m a thirty-something male soI wouldn’t normally buy the vintage collection given the packaging, but I would for my wife. I feel that my wife wouldn’t actually like these, though – purely because she has no taste (honest). These bon bons bely the floral, dainty and unassuming packaging. Under that disguise lurks a passionate, robust and incredibly intoxicating siren calling you on to the rocks of marzipan depravity. This Boite Blanche is no Pride and Prejudice is more Lady Chatterley’s Lover. And there’s nothing with a bit of that!