Mm. There's nothing better to get my tastes buds excited at the thought of a box of luxury delicious pralines & ganaches, and this is exactly what we have here from French artisan chocolate company Abanico; opened only a year ago by Victoire Finaz they have developed a range of chocolates that they not only sell online but also in their boutique situated in Paris. Ooh how exclusive! Having won a range of awards for their unique packaging I approached them hoping that this award winning quality would be followed all the way through to the chocolates themselves.
The chocolates themselves arrived through the post extremely quickly and although I was initially sent the wrong product to review Abanico made sure that this was dealt with immediately and I received the correct box a day later, good customer service or what! I have to say that I can see why they won awards for their packaging, the design of the box is certainly different, long, thin and rectangular, with slide off sections detailing the aspects of the chocolates, which, with the good help of my friend Google Translate I managed to understand!
Apparently the pralines were "eager to fill the greedy" whilst the ganaches offered " a marriage of unexpected tastes", they sounded right up my street, any praline that is eager to "fill the greedy" must be good surely! I was slightly worried however on looking at the chocolates that they might be a bit on the thin side; I normally like my filled chocolates with a generous proportion of interior filling so hoped that Abanico hadn't skimped on this and got their proportions right, I was expecting to be filled after all! Naturally I started with the pralines.
Feuilleté - 8.4/10
Described as for "an invigorating break" this a light and crispy hazelnut and almond praline with pieces of chopped crepe throughout, delicious. Not only was it delicate but it also had wonderful deep nutty flavours, there was no masking them with large quantities of sugar whilst the flavour was undeniably smooth yet still offered a nice crunch from the crispy crepe pieces and thankfully Abanico hadn't skimped on the filling as it was proportioned perfectly!
Ile de Ré - 8.7/10
This praline however was "a walk on the beach", a praline with caramel pieces and salt from Ile de Ré, an island off the coast of West France. This was by far my favourite chocolate of the box, whether I would describe it as a walk on the beach is slightly questionable but it sure ticketd all the boxes for me. It was salty yet sweet all at the same time, not overpowering on either level, reminding me slightly of a salty sweet toffee popcorn, whilst the delightful nutty taste was certainly present. Smooth & satisfying mm!
Finition Rocher - 7.9/10
Oh yum this one "happily accompanied the feast" and comprised of a hazelnut praline with caramelised hazelnuts chopped and mixed with the enrobed chocolate to provide a Ferrero Rocher like experience..apart from this was far better. It was far less sickly sweet, and provided a deeper experience compared to the other 2 pralines whilst the caramelised hazelnut pieces added a yummy crunch to the smooth praline!
Exotique - 7.8/10
This was the first of the 2 ganaches in the box I tried, that was hoping to "prepare me for my holidays" and consisted of a passionfruit ganache. Now, me and passionfruit, we have this sort of love hate relationship, I either absolutely adore chocolates incorporating passionfruit or detest them, depending on how they are made. I can say however that this chocolate actually provided a sort of middle ground, it didn't blow my socks off, but I did really enjoy it, the passionfruit makes a very subtle apperance but the main show goes to the deeper dark chocolate used in the ganache. However I can not fault the texture, it was sublime!
Tarte au Citron - 8.3/10
Apparently the other ganache was to eat whilst "listening to the cicadas", which on some research I found out is a type of tree cricket..the loudest in the world apparently..ok..I don't think I have any of them around..or near to me whatsoever..so I'll just enjoy the chocolate lime ganache without crickets thanks. Oh wow how it did work though, minus the crickets or not! There was a delicious tangy lime flavour that contrasted perfectly with the deep ganache, it was not only tangy and fresh but also smooth, decadent and satisfying!
Although I found some of Abanicos anecdotes that went with each chocolate slightly odd I have to say that the chocolates themselves were delicious and everything I expected from a quality artisan French chocolate producer. Not only were they elegantly and sophisticatedly packaged but the chocolates backed this up with their luxurious feel. These probably aren't the type of chocolates you would buy for yourself, but if you are really looking to impress someone with a nice luxury box of chocolates then Abanico have got it covered!
Taste - 8.2/10 - Wonderful flavours that worked perfectly, not overly sweet and felt extremely luxurious.
Texture - 8.6/10 - The texture of these range of chocolates was beautiful, each one gorgeously smooth and thankfully didn't skimp on the filling despite their thinner shape.
Appearance - 8.5/10 - Loved how they were packaged but felt the chocolates could have been given something a bit extra.
Price - 8.1/10 - For a box of 10 of these chocolates, which is double the size I got sent, is priced at €21.90, they are a bit expensive than you might want to pay but at least you know what you are getting what you pay for and for a special occasion they're worth it.
Overall - 8.3/10 - Yum a delicious box of higher end chocolates.
If you want to have a look at Abanico's website you can visit their website here http://www.abanico-chocolat.com/ just make sure you change the language to English!