Friday, February 19, 2016

Godiva: Mousse Meringue

I was at Godiva last month and this light pink box just sort of drew me in. I have a complicated relationship with Godiva, as you know if you've been reading for a while. Their chocolate is mass-produced and has a long shelf life, so the quality of their truffles can't be quite the same as certain others that are made with fresher ingredients (and less of them). But some of Godiva's offerings are quite pretty and I do enjoy some of their flavored chocolates from time to time--just because I can buy them easily in store.

So I thought that this pretty, plain pink box would be just right for me, something intended to be girly and therefore designed more with flavored chocolates in mind than plainer chocolates (I like plain chocolates, but not from Godiva). When I read the label, though, my mind focused only on "Mousse" and essentially ignored the "Meringue" part. That set me up for some disappointment when I discovered that the nine little chocolates all have a "light, crisp meringue" in the middle.

I'll take you through the six flavors individually. Half of them have only one of each, but the Chocolate, Strawberry, and Hazelnut flavors have two of each. It's a pretty safe guess that these will be the more popular flavors, or the ones that people will be glad to have two of.

Mousse Meringue Chocolate - This one is made with a 72% dark chocolate mousse and a dark chocolate shell with a light brown swirl on top. It's very sweet for being the dark chocolate in the bunch, but that is normal for Godiva. There is something of a marshmallow taste to it, either in the chocolate's flavor notes or resulting from the interaction between the chocolate and the meringue. So that's an interesting white/dark flavor effect.

Mousse Meringue Strawberry - A dark chocolate shell with a pink swirl covers a mousse made with white chocolate and strawberry. If you've had any of Godiva's strawberry chocolates before, this is the same type of strawberry flavor, sweet and light. The thing is, I prefer the regular strawberry chocolate offerings; I think the meringue makes it a little weird in both flavor and texture.

Mousse Meringue Coffee - The coffee is in the milk chocolate mousse and the shell is also milk chocolate, with a light brown squiggle on top. The coffee flavor is made in the classic sense, warm and good in the milky, flavored sort of way (which is, of course, what goes best with milk chocolate). The meringue is less noticeable here; it neither takes anything away nor adds anything, making it essentially a neutral and acceptable element.

Mousse Meringue and Mandarin Almond - A milk chocolate shell with an orange squiggle on top covers a mousse made with milk chocolate, mandarin, and sweet almonds. Those, plus the meringue, are a lot of elements. The orange paired with the milk chocolates comes first, then the almond flavor follows alongside the texture of the meringue. And it does work, even though these aren't my usual flavors. The flavor combination may be sweet but it all comes across right. It reminds me of some kind of dessert, or probably of Turkish Delight. Not the usual rose kind but the kind made in other flavors with nuts thrown in. It's that type of a dessert flavor.

Mousse Meringue Hazelnut Praline - Back to something more simple, a milk chocolate shell with a white swirl on top surrounds a praline mousse. This is back to my favored flavors, hazelnut and chocolate, even if it's all carried out in a very sweet and greasy way. I had trouble biting the little meringue in the middle on this one; finally I was able to get the whole meringue in one bite with only a little bit of the other elements (Maybe you're supposed to eat the whole chocolate in one bite? That would work better). I don't get the point of adding meringue to this one, either. It was okay here; I just don't get why it's there.

Mousse Meringue Lemon - A little something different, a white chocolate shell with a yellow swirl holds together the white chocolate and lemon mousse. And here is where the meringue makes the most sense, what with lemon meringue and all. White chocolate always has a texture that tends almost toward chalky; that texture goes well with the crispiness of the meringue. And the very light tasting meringue helps balance out the sweet and tangy flavor of the white chocolate and the lemon mousse. So even though, again, these aren't really my preferred flavors, they work well. And this is at least a case where the use of the meringue makes sense.

Overall, though, I find the meringue a little odd. I just wanted a girly and frivolous set of chocolates and I would have enjoyed them more without that odd texture and meaningless flavor thrown in. They would have been softer and simpler with just the mousse and that was what I wanted. The little paper that describes the flavors explains that the mouse meringues are intended to "unite the world of pastry with our classic chocolates . . . combining texture and flavor to surprise the palate." The problem was, the texture was too much of a surprise, and I thought not of dessert but of how I wanted less experimentation in my chocolates. If it works, experimentation is a great thing. But if it falls just short, then I am too disappointed.

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