The thing about receiving a box of chocolates in the mail from a company you’ve never heard of is that you’re able to form an impression based entirely on the product and not on previous associations. When I sat down to stare at the Heart to Heart Collection that Richart Chocolates sent me from their Valentine’s line, I decided the design wasn’t bad.
The classic white box with its magenta ribbon aren’t entirely to my tastes, but they work. A shiny silver wrapping inside the box adds glitz, and the design of the nine chocolates inside heads over to casual and playful territory.
So the first impression I get, based only on looks, is what I often get when viewing a company this way. Minimalist exterior and funky interior: do they go together to create one clear vision, one single image that embodies Richart Chocolates or are they still two concepts that haven’t quite come together yet?
The selection of chocolates offers a balanced variety of three each of white, milk, and dark chocolates. The chocolates in my box were less than pristine, but they did travel a ways to get to me. I find myself enjoying the white chocolate best, undoubtedly because it contains hazelnut praline and I can’t resist hazelnut in chocolate. The twist is the addition of Penja white pepper in the right dosage to give a sensation of warmth at the end without an excess peppery taste. It’s a wonderful munching chocolate.
On the other end, I can’t care overly much for the milk chocolate as its dominant flavor is passion fruit, which is in an unsalted butter caramel filling. The caramel is dark in color and free-flowing, which I neglected to think about when commencing to break the hearts with my knife. The buttery caramel means that this is a sweeter and less sour combination than some passion fruit chocolates. It’s properly Valentine’s, I suppose, provided you like passion fruit. You’ll also note that both the white and milk chocolates contain dark chocolate under the surface.
The last heart encloses rose and lychee white ganache with Criollo 72% chocolate from Venezuela. Always a good sign to have that type of info on a chocolate. The ganache is fragrant and perfumed like milky Turkish Delight. The chocolate is dense and dark, neither bitter nor sweet. It doesn’t call the attention overly to itself, but lets the rose take the majority of the weight. There’s an endearing softness to this chocolate.
None of these chocolates wowed me, but I enjoyed them. At $25, each heart comes out to be about $2.77. I would be callous to say that that isn’t roughly average, if anything only slightly higher, but I still find it too much. Even $20 would sound better. For $25, I want this collection to be more special. These chocolates had a good balance of flavors and were neither mundane nor too adventurous (meaning good things for a Valentine’s box), but I would like to see a few tweaks to make them that much better.