Coming in for the third and final part to my Valrhona goodies is Equinoxe, a range of chocolate-covered nuts and such. Being Valrhona, the packaging isn’t cheap or dull. There are three short cylinders, holding milk chocolate figs, dark chocolate crunchy pearls, and dark chocolate candied orange peels. Then there’s the black and cream Equinoxe box. Its top lifts up, a simple hinge, to reveal a classy arrangement. The light shine of the chocolaty goodness in four rounded beds, set against the black, made me feel like I’d just opened a jewellery box.
But let’s back up to that trio first. Each one has 75 grams. The 35% milk chocolate figs were rough-looking, but on tasting, I wondered why we don’t get more fig/chocolate combos. Similar to raisins, being chewy with tiny seeds, yet more unique. Not exactly sweet, not really tangy. Just moreish and delicious.
The crunchy pearls are very odd… and quite good. With such minute pearls, one wouldn’t imagine there’s space for the promised crunchy “biscuit cereals,” unless the 55% dark chocolate is a paper-thin coating. Yet they work. The crunch is there, with its deep, oat cereal taste. The chocolate is there, in an equal partnership. Maybe it was the breakfast suggestion (from “cereal”) that kept me thinking on chocolate waffles as I chewed. And chewed. And thought, they’re so small, I can have more. Small things are so deadly.
Similar to the 64% of the bar version, the candied orange peels use 66% dark chocolate. They are much the same thing, except that the chocolate receives less focus. The jelly candy texture seems to scare me — I think I’m wondering what it’s doing in my chocolate. Is it just me that these are my least favorite of the range? Probably.
Now we can return to that beautiful box, which has a total of 500 grams. Its four sections are home to dark chocolate (55%) hazelnuts and almonds, more orange peels, milk chocolate (35%) hazelnuts and almonds, and milk chocolate biscuits. The chocolate is thick, with the glaze kept to a minimum. The nuts are all good quality. Both milk and dark versions are nice, but I find myself leaning towards the milk circle once again. The buttery milk chocolate just feels like it was born to accompany these nuts, while the dark adds a strong guiding hand to them. I imagine you know how I feel about the orange peels now, right? Good if that’s your thing (really, even I can’t say they’re horrible), but it isn’t mine. The biscuits, however, I am enjoying. More delicate than the pearls, with milk chocolate instead of dark and “pure-butter biscuits” in place of the heavier, oat kind, they are also sweeter. Yet not overdone; it is a pure taste of pure biscuit and pure chocolate. The crunch is soft, as the biscuit center prepares to melt right along with the chocolate. I can see this box as the perfect thing for a small get-together. In a rush? It already has the presentation. And it has the balance of both milk and dark chocolate.
All much better done than your usuals. My only qualm came when I looked up the prices. I’m glad I didn’t have anything in my mouth or I might have met an early demise from choking. The small containers are $9.99 each and the box is $35.99. If you’re going by grams/ounces and comparing to a box of truffles, I suppose that is the regular price. But still. I’m very glad they came to me free of charge, and I will recommend them, provided you are quite aware that, well, you are paying for Valrhona.