Friday, 11 November 2011

Neuhaus Ballotin

When I was over in Paris; despite me not having that much chance to actually explore the many chocolate boutiques in the City Centre I did manage to pick up a few bits and bobs at duty free; this Neuhaus Ballotin being one of them! The box I chose consisted of a selection of 2 layers of non-alcoholic filled chocolates; ranging from pralines and ganaches to caramels.

Neuhaus Ballotin

I was extremely excited to try this selection; for those of you that haven't heard of Neuhaus they are a Belgian chocolate company that began business in 1857 when Jean Neuhaus set up a shop in Brussels, 55 years later in 1912 he created the first filled chocolate which he named the praline before later going on to create the first ballotin box! So here I had it; a box of chocolates from the makers of the praline..I hoped that this was going to be amazing!

Neuhaus Ballotin

Neuhaus Ballotin

The box is covered in a delightful outer wrapping and inside there lurks a delicious looking selection of chocolates; they are all a good substantial size and look exquisite and with a nice compact menu accompanying the ballotin its easy to pick out which chocolate takes your fancy! Naturally I decided to start with the chocolate that took my fancy most..ironically the big 'N' one "Mephisto"..nothing to do with my name whatsoever..! This consisted of a good thick milk chocolate shell encasing a chocolate cream and chopped Turkish hazelnuts.

Neuhaus Ballotin

All I can say is that it did it for me; the outer chocolate was a good thick size but not too big to take anything away from the filling, which gave off good nutty notes that weren't masked by the addition of too much sugar. The  Couer Praliné was similarly tasty with a strong delicious hazelnut flavour that blended well with the creamy sweet milk chocolate casing.

Neuhaus Ballotin


Moving on to try a few of the ganaches these were equally as pleasing with the Art Nouveau being a particular highlight which was a combination of hazelnuts and dark ganache encased in dark chocolate. The texture of the filling was divine; almost more like a liquid caramel than a ganache and gave off good deep earthy cocoa notes that just melted sumptuously on the tongue! Which led me on to the actual caramel that was contained in the box the "Prestige" that consisted of a smooth sweet caramel in a tree shaped chocolate; I wouldn't say it was the best caramel I've ever tasted, I don't know what it was about it but I felt that something was lacking..it was good, but not ground breaking!

Neuhaus Ballotin

You could find the rest of the chocolates in this ballotin a bit samey if you like a box of chocolates to contain a vast selection of flavours and types; as the rest of the chocolates contained in this were quite similar in terms of flavours..nutty..creamy or different takes on dark ganaches, so you could find yourself getting slightly bored if you like to be a bit more adventurous with your chocolates. Nevertheless for a lover of pralines like me, I didn't mind and thoroughly enjoyed working my way through the box; however the question that I'm sure everyone is asking is..did the guys who created the praline really nail it? To be honest, if I hadn't heard that these guys had created it I really wouldn't have thought so, they were nice, they were really good Belgian chocolates, but they are certainly not the best I've tasted and with my expectations so high I was expecting maybe a tiny bit more.

Neuhaus Ballotin

Taste - 7.6/10 - They were nice, if I had to describe them, probably the most I could muster is "a very good Belgian chocolate".
Texture - 7.7/10 - The textures were all good; well proportioned, smooth ganaches and dense melting pralines.
Appearance - 8.2/10 - The chocolates look beautiful and the way they are packaged really looks something a bit special.
Price - 6.8/10 - I paid €17.50 in Paris duty free, and this was when they are discounted..more than this and I don't think I'd be willing to pay for them again.
Overall - 7.6/10 - A satisfying Belgian chocolate experience mixed with a twinge of disappointment.

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WHO FOR?
A really nice box of chocolates to buy someone as a present; or an indulgent treat for yourself to pick at now and again.

WHERE TO BUY?
You can visit the Neuhaus website for full details on where to buy their chocolates, which can be found here.

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