Part of the problem with buying chocolates that don’t give you full details on their website is that you have no idea what you’re going to get. It’s even worse when you’re not given a menu with those chocolates when they arrive. Add that to the fact that I stupidly ordered them a few days before the cold weather hit us, which had the effect of blooming the chocolate, I didn’t get off to a good start with these Wittamer Classic Carré. Visually the packaging wasn’t anything too special. The box was a nice pink colour and there was a bow – but nothing I haven’t seen before. Even the packaging these chocolates were delivered in were underwhelming and nothing compared to the Pierre Marcolini Palet Fins that I bought on the same day.
I had hoped that these various carré, ganaches, caramels and bon bons inside would be as visually stunning as those Pierre Marcolini – alas they weren’t, in fact they looked pretty ordinary. What’s more it looked there was a fair bit of movement in transit which meant that they were a touch tarnished and bloomed.
I put those negative thoughts behind me and started to sample them. The first I tried was the salted caramel which had a gorgeous dark chocolate shell and the perfect balance of the saltiness and the sweet caramel. But what I loved most was the milk, earthy dark chocolate flavour that lasted after the melt which gave the caramel and added dimension that I believe gets lost in so many salted caramels – I’m just not a great lover of salt and this one allowed the caramel flavour to dominate.
The next I knew was a pepper creation as it had “poivre” printed on it. And ooooh this was awesome! The texture was soft and creamy. You don’t get the pepper flavour until half way through and then it’s soft and gentle – absolutely fantastic!
I then tried a praline and milk chocolate which also had an extremely soft centre and a hazelnut flavour that lasted for a very long while too. When you place them in your mouth they seem to just evaporate within seconds but, somehow, the flavour seems to continue around your mouth. This is going wrong – I’m actually adoring these salted caramels and pralines!
Next there was an intoxicating praline and milk chocolate which had the texture of fudge. I could definitely pick up some alcohol but that note was of pear cider – which I doubt anyone would use. Visually I found it fun, but I don’t think the flavour was anywhere near as refined as the previous.
And now for a passionfruit ganache which was beautifully soft, aromatic and incredibly tasty. It’s difficult to know if I believe it’s very good because it is, or if it’s just because I love passion fruit ganaches? Either way the flavour range is perfect. The sweetness subsides into a bitterness and then into a rich, milky chocolate edge at the end. A classic one!
I then had another praline, but this time held within a dark chocolate dome. It still had a fantastic creaminess to it, but this time it looked like there was some actual hazelnut pieces held within. It was deliciously sweet and is a definite plus point as I often find that the pralines I try are too salty. I’d say this one was almost perfect.
The penultimate dome I tried seemingly was a smoked affair It was more solid than the other but definitely had a caramel flavour, but this time with greater depth and with a mild burnt wood or condensed milk edge. I wasn’t so fond of the milk chocolate shell, but I’m not going to grumble.
I’m sure the last was a mixture of feuillantine, walnut and ganache which gave it utterly divine array of textures and flavours. There’s just so much going on that you could say it was a disorganised rabble of flavours. I prefer to be more positive and believe it was a masterstroke of flavour combinations.
Despite being uninspiring before they met my taste buds, afterwards I think they’re pretty damn fantastic! If you’re in Belgium do check them out. If you can’t find them, don’t worry, there’s plenty of other chocolate shops to try out.