I’ve always liked big boxes of chocolates – the impressive looking ones that you shouldn’t really buy for yourself because there are many other more sensible things to spend your money on. But this box was on sale and, let’s face it, I’ve never been particularly sensible with my money anyway so this rather large box came home with me.
Nestlé Noir is the company’s attempt to compete with the Lindt bars which have had the market cornered when it came to the higher end of the consumer market. I haven’t sampled many of their Noir bars because the ones I did have were nothing special, but this box caught my eye if only for how striking it looked on the shelf. Plus it says that it is the favourite of connoisseurs, right on the front of the box. In French. How could they not be good?
There are only six different chocolates in the box, with between four and eight of them depending on the variety. That means that each of those chocolates needs to be pretty darned good because there isn’t many other options to hide behind, and that’s unfortunately where the box falls flat.
Going through the six in turn:
Exquise – the prettiest of the chocolates in the box, thanks to the tricolour crisps nestled on top of the dark cup. The contents of the cup is a rather straightforward rich truffle which works well with the texture provided by the little balls on top. Not too bad at all.
Viennois – the mandatory coffee member of the collection, and that’s about it. Not too strong, although it could actually use a bigger kick just to make it more memorable.
Arabesque – another dark truffle, but with a grainier texture which is more reminiscent of a praline. It benefits from a slight sweetness that comes from the white chocolate herringbone pattern on the outside.
Victoria – Exquise’s uglier cousin because of the chocolate vermicelli on top, but it definitely has a more interesting centre. The box claims caramel although it is a thicker consistency than I’d expected. It starts off buttery and then changes quickly into something unpleasant and chemically. I really can’t understand what they were trying to do here – did nobody taste this before they decided to sell these? Really, really awful.
Paradisio – the actual praline in the box tries to bring together hazelnuts and almonds, with hazelnuts winning out by a long shot. The bigger issue is that it is much too sweet, verging on sickly. Another major misstep.
Coquillage – more dark truffle but with the added bonus of a fairly generous portion of cocoa nibs which is enough to add some crunch to it. This is the other really successful chocolate in the box.
This was a hugely disappointing collection to the point that I actually stopped eating them and passed them off to workmates instead. And even though they were getting free chocolate, their reaction to the Victoria was equally ugly as mine.
Definitely one to avoid – don’t even make eye contact with it in the shops because it will try to lure you with its classy box…