The third in Galler’s Elements series, Les Volcaniques promises fire, smoke and passion enrobed in fine Belgian chocolate.
With names like Magma and Eruption and ingredients as firey as Espelette and Sichuan Peppers I had fairly good idea of what to expect, but I am also becoming acquainted with Jean Galler’s style of chocolate making, so I knew there were surprises in store.
Galler’s web site even suggests the order in which one should approach these chocolates – clockwise from top right – so I braced myself for an Explosion. Milk chocolate concealed a creamy hazelnut filling with popping candy (evidently a Galler favourite). There was no real fire here, but the buttery, rich filling was perfectly balanced with the chocolate.
The second Milk chocolate disc was Fusion, and as soon as I popped it in my mouth I knew I was in for something peppery. The melting, sweet centre carried undertones of fruit and spice with strawberry and pepper playing on the palate. Still fairly mild and gentle, the contrast of strawberry and spice was carried off very well. The fruit tasted natural (I have an abiding hatred of nything that is artificially strawberry flavoured) and in partnership with Galler’s milk chocolate it made for a lovely mouthful.
Things became a little more serious when it came to the Eruption chocolate. Dark chocolate bitterness soon gave way to a smooth, light, creamy filling which cunningly waited until it had almost disappeared before delivering a wave of spicy warmth. Never harsh or unbearable, this subtle blending of sweet and spice left my mouth warmed but never scorched.
My final taste sensation turned out to be another first for me – smoky chocolate no less! By using an infusion of Lapsang Souchong tea, Galler have created the first smoked filling I have ever tasted, and I have to say I absolutely adored it. My first reaction was shock – fire damaged chocolate? Something wrong with my tastebuds? No, the final taste experience from Les Volcaniques is your actual smoke and chocolate combination. Another of Jean Galler’s surprises and a masterstroke of flavour mixing. I was laughing again as the smoky filling covered my tongue, mentally paying respect to M. Galler’s imagination and skill.
If you’re more inclined to darker, spicy flavours then this is the Galler box for you. My own personal favourites are still Les Marines, but that is not to say that any of the other Elements boxes are in any way inferior. The whole range has, to date, been a delight to sample. This is chocolate making of the highest calibre, and well worth checking out. Highly recommended.