This is the final ‘chapter’ in Galler’s ‘Elements’ range, and this selection reflects Earth flavours. Having experienced the flavours of the sea with Les Marines, floral flavours to reflect Air, and fiery, peppery chocolates for Fire, I was very much looking forward to seeing how Jean Galler would choose to represent the Earth, and it turns out that roots are very much the theme. The four chocolates in this selection use Galanga, Ginger, Ginseng and Beetroot fillings, thereby offering me a number of ‘firsts’ in terms of taste.
In keeping with the look of the previous three offerings, these chocolates come subtly decorated, and once again there are two milk and two dark.
My first choice was a milk chocolate disc containing Glanga – a relative of ginger with a sweeter, less fiery taste – and it was a gentle, light beginning. Biting into this chocolate released light, soft cocoa flavours which were quickly joined by vanilla notes from the cream centre. As the creamy filling broke down the sweet flavour of galanga joined the chocolate. It wasn’t as strong as I had expected, and I imagine the vanilla element was added to the centre to temper any potential heat or pepperiness from the root. That said, the sweet, exotic taste of the galanga was definitely there.
The Ginger chocolate packed a little more punch than I had expected. Another soft, light cream filling with a surprising orange colour (surprising until you realise that the ginger has been partnered with mango for a flavour twist) delivered subtle yet fiery ginger flavours which blended beautifully with the rich, dark cocoa flavours of the melting shell. It’s an old favourite, but done with a tyical Galler twist, and done very well.
The other milk chocolate on offer contained Ginseng. Now I happen to rather enjoy a cup of Ginseng Tea, despite the fact that it does have an aroma reminiscent of boiling socks. I enjoy the earthy, root flavours (and obviously the tonic effect) and so I was quite keen to see how my first taste of Ginseng and chocolate would go.
It seemed to me that there was slightly less filling in this chocolate, but I would imagine that would be because ginseng packs quite a lot of flavour. I can see how developing this chocolate might have been a balancing act – too much ginseng flavour could easily make this inedible to a lot of people, but of course not enough and you inevitably run the risk of making a ‘pointless’ flavour (i.e. one that cannot betasted except by the most sensitive of palates). Of course, the balance is spot on. Enough of the earthy, deep ginseng flavour, but tempered with Galler’s soft, creamy milk chocolate.
The final member of the quartet was a dark chocolate disc containing beetroot – another first for me, and I would imagine for most people. I’m a big fan of beetroot crisps and the prospect of beetroot combined with chocolate had me licking my lips in anticipation. Having tasted so many of Jean Galler’s creations I’m pretty confident that whatever unusual pairings he offers will have been developed for reasons of taste rather than mere novelty value, and the dark chocolate exterior soon gave way to allow the slightly sweet, subtly earthy taste of the filling out to play. If you gae me this chocolate in a blind tasting I’d probably not have guessed that it contained beetroot, but I would definitely be guessing in the area of roots and vegetables. It reflects the theme of the collection extremely well and is another example of fine chocolate making.
As a collection these chocolates certainly fall into the ‘unusual’ category. They’re not cheap, which makes me think that your ‘average’ customer might think twice about embarking on this particular taste adventure. However, if you (or someone you like) has an adventurous palate, then this could well be an ideal gift. Like their forerunners, this collection is made with top quality ingredients, and it’s a testament to the skills of M. Galler and his team, but these are definitely not ‘everyday’ chocolates. Well worth a go if you’re entertaining and want something different to have with coffee, or as a special treat for a chocolate lover though.