One of my best friends when to France over the summer and was thoughtful enough to bring back a treat for me. So today’s review I’m writing about the gift she gave to me, Les Gourmandises de Sophie. They came in a little clear plastic bucket that has a top that snaps off easily. There’s an ample amount of candies in there, so you certainly get your moneys worth. The label on the bottom of the container reads: “Violette (bonbon de sucre cuit)”. I don’t speak any French, but it’s very clear that these are violet hard candies. I’ve never had anything violet flavored before, so I’m very much looking forward to trying these.
The candies are gorgeous to look at. They’re shaped like violet flowers and they’re a beautiful deep purple colored. They have raised lines on them that have turned white due to being stressed and tossed around. This really accents the flowers and their wonderful shape of the candies. The purple color is nice and rich, with good tones of blue in it, like real violet. Sadly the candies have no aroma, but hard candies seldom do.
The flavor starts our incredible juicy surprisingly enough. The taste if that of blackberry jam, it’s a very rich flavor. The blackberries are accented with some pleasant tartness, and then there’s an herbal aftertaste. The aftertaste is part pine and part perfume. There’s something definitely floral about it. The hard candy’s texture is very nice, as it melts evenly and doesn’t break off into shark shards that cut your mouth. I found myself reach for one after the other of these. They are terribly delicious!
I was really surprised by these, they’re way tastier than I would have ever imagined. It’s sad in a way that I can’t buy more myself, but I’m sure they’re just a Google search away. I’ve been trying to coax my husband to try them too, but I think he’s put off by the fact they’re flower flavored. No matter more for me! It just goes to show you never know what you’ll like, you just have to try them!
Rating: Will Buy Again
Comptoir du Cacao is a French chocolate company that I discovered way back in 2006 and the New York City chocolate show. They had too many different chocolates to remember, but I did buy a box of their crispy pralines. I brought my swag home to share with my family, and to this day my Mom has never raved about anything more than the Comptoir du Cacao chocolate I brought home. I wish I knew more about the company itself, other than it is in France. Sadly their website is mostly in French, which I can’t read, so their background will have to remain a mystery to me.
Fast forward to 2011’s holiday season. My sister discovered a store in Manhattan who recently began selling Comptoir du Cacao’s chocolates. As a Christmas gift ,she gave me these two chocolate bars of theirs. Having been so long since I have had them I was super excited for this opportunity again. Will they live up to my memory though?
Praline Feuillete: Noix de Coco
This bar is described as white chocolate with a coconut hazelnut filling. The package keeps the chocolate nice and safe, with a thick clear plastic around the chocolate and a sturdy cardboard case. The bar is sectioned off with two chocolate squares per row, and it’s easily to break a piece off. You can easily see the filling through the beautiful white chooclate. Its smells creamy and extremely coconutty.
The flavor is very creamy and rich at first. You taste the sweet, buttery notes of the white chocolate and the richness of the hazelnuts right away. Then to coconut appears, it’s delicate, and completely authentic. You can even taste the texture of the flakes of dried coconut in there. The mixture of the flavors is very harmoniuos and amazingly delicious. I really wish I had a more of this bar as I practically inhaled it.
Praline feuillete “caramel beurre sale”:
This is the second bar I received as a gift. It’s a salted caramel with milk chocolate, if I’m reading that French correctly. The chocolate is a pretty color with a nice medium tone and a very high gloss to it. Very gorgeous to look and an unusually beautiful for a milk chocolate (which is usually more matte in color).
This has a layer of praline in it, and when you snap off a piece you can see the center that is sandwiched between the chocolate.
The flavor is first of the rich, smooth and flavorful milk chocolate. Then you feel the crispiness of the salted caramel, as they’re little pieces inside the praline. They’re flavorful, very buttery with a nice kick of salt. Then you taste the extremely flavorful richness of the gianduja filling. It’s very chocolaty and has wonderful notes of toasted hazelnuts. Just amazing.
I can’t express properly how amazing delicious and incredible this chocolate it. It is beyond words delicious. I wish it was more readily available so I could have more of it (well, maybe not a good idea, I don’t want to put 300lbs on in a week) and so that other have the opportunity to taste something so good. If you ever stumble across their stuff, I recommend buying it, it’s something you won’t regret.
Links Comptoir du Cacao Website
My sister and I both love food shopping of any sort, so it’s often that she’ll find a new store or specialty boutique where she’ll stumble across some new and/or interesting candy for me to try. So it was her who found these pretty Au Beurre Sale Caramels on one of her culinary scouting trips. The French on the package reads “fabrique en Bretagne” which I think means “made in Brittany”. Regardless, there’s a foreign, salted caramel in front of me, and I need to tell you how it tastes.
The package is a small flimsy wooden strip box. It has the stylized image of a large woman in front of a church that reads “1907” above the door and a strange, multi colored rock next to her. I wish I understood what it meant. The French women and rocks must go to Church? The top reads “et a la fluer de sel de guerande”, which is “and the flower of salt guerande”. Thanks Google translate!
I also had a fellow reader write in with more details on this candy, she writes: “These caramels are indeed French. They’re from Brittany (la Bretagne), a region of France. Britain is “La Grande Bretagne.” The rock is a menhir, or an upright stone that dates to pre-history. They are found throughout the region. The lady is wearing traditional Breton dress, including the tall bigoudène headdress. The church refers to the Pardons, a series of religious folk festivals that take place in the region. People wear traditional costumes for these processions.” Thank you so much Molly!
The caramels inside the box are about the size of two tootsie rolls, each a wonderful rich rusty color and wrapped in clear plastic wrappers. The caramels smell extremely buttery and sweet, with slight burnt notes to it.
The caramel’s chew is thick, sticky and dense. It reminds me more of fudge than it does caramel. The flavor is sweet and extremely buttery. You can really taste the rich dairy flavors in here. There’s sweetness paired with a lovely salty edge to it, so the flavor is more balanced that sickenly sweet. The salt is blended beautifully in, so there’s no crystals to feel as you munch down.
Magnifique! C’est parfait! Délicieux! These caramels were amazing! Now I wish I knew where my sister got these so I could get some more. Or at least got more in the box.
Rating: Will Buy Again
These were and unexpected, yet thrilling find for me. I was shopping in the Grove Farmer’s Market on Fairfax and 3rd here in Los Angeles. I saw this package tucked into one of the lower candy shelves, and picked it up because of the large image of the cheetah on it. I don’t speak a lick of French, but I could decipher a bit from the import tag on the back. It only really translated “Le bonbon tendre au gout sauvage” description on the front, which roughly translated to “The tender candy with the wild taste”. That was enough to sell me on it, and I brought it home with me.
I had to open the package once I got all my necessary photos out of the way. I tasted one and immediately understood the description. These are licorice caramels.
The bad holds a bunch of individually wrapped caramels. They come in colorful wax wrappers that mimic the bag they come in. The caramels have a beautiful color to them, like a dark “dulce del leche”. It smells slightly sweet and is firm to the touch.
The flavor is excellent. You first tastes notes of licorice, with sweet, earthy flavors. Then the sweet creaminess of the caramel bit comes through, adding the tastes of butter and cream. Together they makes a very creamy, rich flavor that is both mild and flavorful. I have to admit, licorice and caramel makes a pretty awesome combination.
Caramel isn’t something I crave very often, so I’m not sure this is a candy I’d come back to often, as delicious as they are. However if I do see other varieties of Krema out there, I’ll be sure to give them a shot.
Cybele from also did an excellent review over at Candyblog.net.
Rating: Will Buy Again
This is the last of the Michel & Augustin Petits Carres bars I bought while out shopping with my sister. The last two bars I tired the Dark Chocolate and the Hazelnut Dark Chocolate were unimpressive to be honest. The cookies crust bottom was hard and sometimes overcook to the point of it looking burnt. The chocolate center is flavorless and strangely gummy. So as I prepped for this review, I’ll admit, I wasn’t excited. I don’t like “being a hater” and panning bad candy. I try to look for the good in everything. These are just…in this strange middle ground. They’re not horrible, not to the point where I gag and spit it out. That’s usually the signal for a “Not Worth It” or “Inedible” review on the blog here. No, these are just a good idea executed terribly.
So today is the Caramel Milk Chocolate flavor. Same format, just different flavors. This is the only milk chocolate one I had, as the other two were dark. I’m curious to see if there’s any difference.
Much like the Hazelnut Dark Chocolate, the cookie edges here are darker and somewhat burnt/over cooked looking. They’re also incredibly hard to break, which is annoying since I hate have a crumb explosion every time I wanted to take a piece. The chocolate center tasted more chocolatey and sweet. I didn’t really taste any caramel. I did get a nice flavor of salt toward the end like the dark chocolate one, and I am unsure if it came from the cookies crust or the caramel.
This bar was better than the other two, but still not enough to redeem them all for me. Again, it’s a good idea, just not terribly well done. It’s mediocre at best, and now I know these just dn’t do it for me.
Rating: Might Eat Again
Links Michel & Augustin Webpage (French)