After trying Demarquette's award winning Royal Merina chocolates the next on my list was most definitely the African Queen; in fact it was quite a difficult decision deciding which one to try first in the first place! The African Queen is another massive award winning chocolate, winning a 2014 Great Taste triple gold star and Top 50 foods in Britain award.
The chocolate is essentially two layers and made with a fine cocoa from the Ivory Coast; the bottom layer is a hazelnut praline mixed with Breton wafers whilst the top layer is a 68% fresh cream ganache blended with Tanzanian honey, it is then enrobed in a thin chocolate layer and dusted with cocoa powder. The result is something exceptional.
As I bang on about all of the time, pralines are pretty much my favourite type of chocolate and to pair this with an absolutely beautiful tasting ganache just takes this chocolate to a whole different level. The ganache is gorgeous, light, fruity with delicate honey notes, the flavour profile and melt is exceptional with the flavour profile of this cocoa having been enhanced during the fermentation stages by tapping into boosting factors which are present in natural fauna; this helps to reduce the bitterness and acidity often found in dark chocolate, resulting in a much sweeter eat than what you might normally find in a 68% ganache, whilst the honey helps to add to a subtle floral sweetness throughout the melt.
The melt is similar to that of the Royal Merina, smooth, rich and lingers in the mouth for a wonderful length of time. I was worried that due to the addition of the crunchy Breton wafers throughout the hazelnut praline that it may hinder the smooth feel to the chocolate; but instead you get a two textured experience; when you first pop the chocolate in your mouth the praline melts quicker than that of the ganache, the praline disappears first and you can nibble away the Breton wafer bits and then you are left to savour and enjoy the ganache almost as a separate chocolate altogether, being able to fully enjoy the smooth, rich melt it has to offer. You can of course chew the chocolate and experience them both together; but I found that letting it melt slowly in the mouth fully maximised both the flavour and textural experience.
So what about the hazelnut praline base? How does that taste? Well, as you might have guessed from the rest of the review so far, it was delicious, just the right balance of nutty notes and sweetness with a lovely almost caramelised flavour added from the Breton biscuits. The praline itself is rich and smooth but the wafers add a lovely nibbly element to the overall eat.
It's difficult to say which chocolate I preferred, these or the Royal Merina chocolates as essentially I think the two eat completely differently. I feel that the Royal Merina is more rich & luxurious where as this is still luxurious but offers a lighter eat due to the nibbly praline base that cuts through the ganache. Either way, I'd certainly highly recommend them both.
Taste - 9.2/10 - Equally as good as Royal Merina, just a different nuttier/sweeter eat I would say.
Texture - 9.3/10 - Loved the textural contrast between the smooth ganache and the nibbly hazelnut praline layer; a two texture eat.
Appearance - 9.0/10 - Gorgeous.
Price - 7.9/10 - £17.50 for 6 chocolates or £32.50 for 12 these work out at £2.90 or £2.70 per chocolate so are 10p more expensive than the Royal Merina chocolates. Expensive, but again the quality justifies the price.
Overall - 8.8/10 - Another masterpiece from Demarquette.
__________________________________________________________________________________WHO WHO FOR?
Anyone who enjoys good quality chocolates will absolutely adore these - especially if like me you are a praline lover.
WHERE TO BUY?Online on Demarquette's website here.