France’s acclaimed Maison du Chocolat is noted both for the quality of its chocolate creations and their chic appearance. This new collection Un Èté en Bretagne ( Summer in Brittany) lives up to expectations, smartly presented in a dapper, vibrant blue box, discreetly decorated with a few curving lines, elegantly evoking waves and the sea. Inside the box contains an assortment of five chocolates, with flavours inspired by Brittany.
Four of the chocolates are restrained, classic rectangles, while the fifth is a textured ‘twiglet’, suggesting the idea of finding a branch of driftwood on a beach. Made from milk chocolate, studded with slivers of nut and slivers of crepe, this (Pays de Saint-Brieuc) was the sweetest chocolate in the box, with a short finish.
The smooth, dark rectangle (Pays de Dol) had a silky ganache filling which melted cleanly in the mouth and packed a powerful chocolate flavour, with almond and coffee notes lingering on in the mouth and a slight saltiness right at the finish.
The rippled dark rectangle (Cornouaille), in contrast, contained a nicely crunchy, fine-textured praline filling with a pleasant grittiness to it and a salty-sweet flavour; shades here of sand and sea spray.
The milk chocolate rectangle (Pays de Saint-Malo), yielded nicely on biting to reveal a succulent, salted caramel filling which filled the mouth with a rich toffee flavour with a long finish, coating the tongue with a distinct butteriness. The saltiness of the caramel filling worked well with the sweet milk chocolate, countering it to create a very nicely balanced creation.
Finally, elegantly striped with one pale green, textured line came the surprising apple chocolate (Trégor), filled with both a layer of ganache and a textured apple jelly. Biting into this filled the mouth at once with a full-bodied apple flavour, which made me think of cider and Calvados.
Maison du Chocolat’s Artistic Director Gilles Marchal has taken classic ingredients from Brittany – crepes, apples, butter caramel – and cleverly created a truly elegant collection of appealingly contrasting textures and evocative flavours which were a pleasure to eat. A very enjoyable collection indeed; eating these is a treat which would put anyone in a holiday mood.
(Available in two sizes: 12 chocolates (£12.50) or 32 chocolates (£33.50)) More info from https://www.lamaisonduchocolat.fr/en/