Isis, the premium range from Italo-Suisse, is virtually unknown Down Under. They only rang a bell in my brain because they are made by the same folk in Belgium that make the Coles Supermarkets range of chocolate blocks. I’m still scratching my head though – why does the box proudly have ‘BELGIAN CHOCOLATES’ on them when they’re owned by an Italian and Swiss conglomerate? Economics, global trade and corporate takeovers are beyond my comprehension, but the Isis website does say that the Queen of Belgium and Porsche like them, so they must be good. Apparently their other brand, the dodgily named ‘Tonkeys’ are for younger consumers (maybe they’re endorsed by Peter Andre and Skoda).
Sadly for Isis, the thin white cardboard box doesn’t stand out on the top of the supermarket shelf, which is probably why I’ve seen them slashed to half price at Coles and K-Mart. They just don’t look luxurious enough. As with global economics, I’m no marketing expert, but I suspect that darker, glossier colours and thicker packaging is likely to evoke a classier product than this uninspiring one. However, you can’t judge a choc by its wrapping, so I soldiered on….
And boy am I glad I did. These are lovely. Two layers with eight chocolates in each; and I struggled to keep Love Chunks and Sapphire away from them until I had my ‘official tasting’. None of us are white chocolate fanatics, but the two types here – white shells, milk chocolate bottoms and a fluffy orange liqueur filling and a cappuccino-like coffee centre were indeed luxurious and well crafted.
The dark chocolates made up three out of the eight kinds, and at 59% minimum cocoa solids, I was impressed. Plus, they smelled divine. One of the finest things in life is when you open a box of chocolates and the delightful smell of good quality dark chocolate assails you. Once again, these were lovely lovely lovely. The ‘Royal’ achieved my dream of pairing great dark chocolate with top notch flowing caramel; the Napoli cherry in kirsch was perfectly sweet and bitey and – according to Love Chunks and Sapphire who ate both of them – the Cuba, with a rum and bitter hazelnut cream centre – had them both rolling their eyes and gesturing wildly in what I interpreted as ecstasy.
Middle of the choco-range and middling in terms of taste; the three milk chocolates were not up to the standards set by the whites and the darks in this box. All of them had hazelnut of some kind—chopped, praline or cream which was merely OK. Not exciting, not different and not done in any way that makes them stand out as being above the norm. Perhaps Isis should just have one hazelnut centre and do something different with the other two milk chocolate shells and three duds out of eight lets the side down somewhat.
Despite that, I’m off to see if there are any more left at half price…