When people find out I review chocolate they inevitably tell me how lucky I am, which is true. Occasionally something comes along that makes me realise just how lucky I am, and this is one of those occasions.
A couple of years ago I was in Belgium on a mini-break and I spotted this very box in Galler’s shop window in Brussels. I was immediately impressed, intrigued and very keen to try these amazing looking chocolates. Well, now I can.
Galler’s philosophy of chocolate making seems to be very much along the lines of ‘one eats with one’s eyes first’ because the presentation of this product is nothing short of superb. The box is a curved wedge of blue which flips open to reveal twelve discs of chooclate, each adorned with a series of stripes in aquatic blues and greens. They are lovely to look at, that’s for sure.
The chocolates themselves fall into four categories. We have a white chocolate covered disc with Fleurs de Sel de Guérande (from Brittany, and arguably the finest salt in the world), more white discs with Wakame seaweed, then two lots of dark chocolate discs – a set which contains Black Hawaiian salt, and another which contains Nori, which normally comes in sheets for cooking and sashimi making.
Interesting stuff then, and certainly a good way of getting my palate going after over a month of being unable to taste properly.
So, where to begin?
The good news (for me at any rate) is that the white discs conceal a rich, dark chocolate filling, and the Fleur de Sel de Guérande disc had a sublime balance between the three flavours. As the white chocolate rapidly gave way to the filling, my mouth was flooded with the rich chocolate/salt combination. It’s mouthwateringly good – as the sweet white chocolate mingles with the dark filling the palate is treated to a beautifully subtle set of flavours which you just want to go on for ever. A great blend of tastes and a very auspicious start.
Having ‘done’ salty, I decided to stay with the white discs and attempt a Wakame chocolate.
As before, there was a dark interior lurking under the white chocolate shell, only this time the flavour it delivered was decidedly different. The chocolate flavours were much more pronounced, and held a slightly sweet, mildly tangy note from the Wakame. Never overpowering but obviously present, the blend of chocolate and seaweed had me savouring this one right down to the last swirl of the tongue around the mouth. Excellent combination again, and done very well.
When it came to the dark discs I decided to repeat the tasting order.
Having enjoyed the Fleur de Sel so much, I was looking forward to the Sel Noir d’Hawaï. What could black salt offer, and how would it taste? The answer was, oddly enough, darker. Rich dark chocolate flavours blended with a richer tasting deeper salt tang, Having tasted quite a variety of salted chocolates of late, I am happy to report that this one is right up there with the best. A wonderfully smooth filling teases the palate with rich saltiness as the dark chocolate releases its flavours. The combination is devastatingly moreish.
The finale (for me at any rate) was the Nori chocolate.
In a similar vein to the Wakame chocolate (but obviously with much richer dark chocolate flavours) the Nori disc held another delicate balance of flavours. I would have been hard pressed to identify the seaweed flavour as seaweed but it adds a soft, subtle, almost floral sweetness to the overall taste.
These have all the classic hallmarks of ‘posh chocolates’. From the unusual packaging to the beautiful design of each piece and finally in the subtle and harmonious blend of slightly avante garde flavours, Jean Galler has created chocolates that are a delight for both eye and palate. A wait of a couple of years was worthwhile, and I’m looking forward to trying more Galler chocolate very soon.