Corné Port-Royal Assortment

Posted by in Chocolate Reviews on December 15 2008 | Leave A Comment

Like Ashleigh and Marie, my friend Jacqueline is a seasoned overseas traveler as well as an accomplished artist, businesswoman, parent and translator who has kindly taken pity on me and brought back some Belgian chocolate she considered a standout during her holiday there.

It looked like a beautifully wrapped gift that’s often seen on American TV but not in my real life until it slowly revealed itself to be in a much plainer box – not that it’s what’s on the outside that counts.

There were three layers of chocolates inside; a very generous selection of white, milk (28% cocoa solids), dark (52%) and bitter (77%). This thin cardboard box was looking more like a treasure chest to my greedy eyes.

And yet… and yet, even after eating at least eight of them, I found them a bit ‘sameish’, for want of a better descriptor. Just to clarify this, I kept eating a few more the next day and the day after that to see if I could pinpoint why my reaction was such a fussy one – I’m nothing if not persistent about such important matters.

The conclusion I reached was that the chocolate itself was clearly very good but the flavour combinations didn’t provide any revelations or surprises. Sure it’s obvious that the Belgians love themselves a hazelnut or two but to be honest, there’s a limit to how many permutations a chocolatier can come up with. The examples I tried included Praline With A Whole Hazelnut (done with white, milk and dark chocolates), Crunchy Hazelnut Praline, Ganache and Praline (milk and dark), Praline With Honey and Smooth Hazelnut Praline. Adding some walnut or almond praline chocolates just reinforced the same-sameness of the experience. Even having a couple of coffee and praline fillings didn’t work as a flavour departure.

The one chocolate I had that really stood out was ‘Knossos’, a dark chocolate with a distinct and deliciously complementary flavour of tea within the ganache inside. This really could be in a box all on its own. Granted too the selection is based on seasonal availability of ingredients, so it was both tantalizing and disappointing to see Gianjula Orange, Marzipan, Cinnamon Praline and Liquid Butter Caramel listed in the assortment brochure but not found in the box.

Therefore, maybe I’ll keep from announcing an offhand ‘take-em-or-leave-em’ response due to my continued puzzlement as to why hazelnuts are the bees knees in the European chocolate industry and due to not having the more intriguing combinations available.

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Comments On This Post

  1. Going to have to get you some See’s from the USA. Or Deanna should do some, perhaps :-)

  2. OK – I *could* be convinced, if the right Belgian hazelnutty stuff came along…..

  3. Oh, I cringe at the name of See’s. It’s horrible stuff, but everyone makes such a big deal about it around the holidays. It doesn’t even look nice like these chocolates. Maybe I should do a review. . .

  4. river

    Possibly because hazelnuts are harvested in the autumn/early winter so are plentiful in time for the making of christmas choccies?

  5. Ani

    If I were your friend Jacqueline, I would never ever bring you any present again, because not only are you so critical of it, but also seem very ungrateful not to shut up on that criticism afterwards!

  6. Dom (Chocablog Staff)

    Ani, I think the whole point of an unbiased review may be lost on you. Anyone that buys us chocolate as a gift knows very well that we’re going to say exactly what we think of it. We do this so that you can make better decisions on what to buy and what to avoid.

  7. Maddy

    Whaaat? I can’t believe this is the only mention of See’s on your entire blog. You even review Hershey’s, but See’s isn’t good enough? That’s quite a low blow! I think Hershey’s is a pretty rough go, but I love See’s, especially the fact that you can custom-make a box to have all your favorites (I’m sure other places do this, but See’s is the only place that I know of in America that does it).

    I’d give them a shot sometime, if I were you. I’d be interested to hear your take.

  8. I got a box of the dark chocolate and the flavors were not in just the hazelnut family and really smooth and yummm!

  9. See’s isn’t what I was talking about it was the Corne Port Royal. What is See’s?

  10. kim

    does anyone know if I can get these online and sent to me in Australia?

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