Two years ago, I started the habit of using Valentine's Day as an excuse to buy myself a box of Valerie Confections. I rarely buy chocolate online and I'm not much into Valentine's Day, but Valerie Confections has long been a sort of secret chocolate crush of mine (as you can tell since I keep going back to them even though they don't necessarily fit my usual chocolate criteria). So I've reviewed their Grand Homme Assortment and the Grand Elle Assortment. Each year, the Valentine's offerings differ somewhat. I believe the Pink Box this year might have been new.
As I mentioned with the masculine/feminine boxes of Grand Homme and Grand Elle, the name may give a description of the tone of a box but won't necessarily correspond to who will like each one best. Some men might prefer floral flavors, and some women might prefer dark truffles. It varies. So the Pink Box simply describes the color of the ribbon. This pink is more of a dusty rose compared to the light pink on the Grand Elle box.
Inside is a classic Valentine's look. Broken Hearts and Caramel Hearts accompany pink Arrow Truffles and pink-topped Blushing Berry Truffles. The big difference with this box compared to the other two is that there are no larger hearts; it's just truffles in here. So if you prefer bonbons to plain chocolate, that's a big advantage. (Otherwise you can just buy a chocolate bar, right? And like I've said before, it isn't for plain chocolate that I go to Valerie's.)
Broken Hearts - Let's say that these hearts are broken wide open in outpouring love, not in heartbrokenness, shall we? And what an outpouring it is. At first glance, they look simply. They look like plain chocolate with some space left for nuts and seeds. But there are no nuts: that's black sesame seeds, toasted rice, and "crunchy pearls," which are made of flour and sugar and such. And that isn't all: everything sits on a little bed of caramel. That is, it's soft and solid like a thicker sort of caramel, but its flavor is of toffee. The black sesame seeds add a touch of Asian cuisine, and the toasted rice brings in nostalgia because of cereal associations (though its flavor is a thousand times better). The crunchy pearls are intriguing. They're soft and sweet, setting the tone decidedly in the indulgent sphere. A steady milk chocolate holds it all in. There is a deceptively simple-seeming complexity at work here.
Arrow Truffles - While these truffles do look pretty as part of the collection, I find that the printed picture style isn't my favorite. Compare, for instance, these arrows with the each-one-unique broken hearts with their fillings of seeds and rice. And also I'll make note here of the artificial colorings that are in the ingredients list--are they included specifically to make this shade of pink? Please, no artificial colorings. Anyway. While at first these do appear as simple, plain chocolate ganaches, there does seem to be a little more going on. The ingredients list vodka, chambord, and black raspberry liqueur, but I don't know which truffle they're in. The liqueur is perhaps for the Blushing Berries, but might the vodka or chambord be here? There is certainly a high level of indulgence to the ganache's flavor. The texture, as well, is incredibly soft, melting quickly into liquid in the mouth. This isn't a dark chocolate but neither does it have what I would consider the usual confection level of sweetness. Chocolate like this is why I had to start using the separate word bonbon, as well.
Liquid Caramel Hearts - I've had these before. I seem to enjoy them more each year. The heart shape holds a good pocket of sweet vanilla-tasting caramel, while the shell is thick enough to hold it both physically and flavor-wise. The dark chocolate is once more mild.
Blushing Berry Truffles - These I have also had before. So yes, my Valentine's box this year had two repeats and only two new flavors. But they're good repeats. A juicy raspberry flavor here pairs with that soft ganache to create a classically feminine effect.
Overall, as the pink suggests, this is a more feminine than masculine collection. Valentine's offerings in general, though, tend to be so. But there is still dark chocolate in here, so it's a balanced femininity and not quite as frilly as the floral Grand Elle box. In fact, for only having four flavors, this set hits a lot of bases. Milk chocolate, dark chocolate, berries, caramel, crunchy texture, smooth texture, plain, flavored. At $50 for 20 truffles, that comes out to the perfectly-average price of $2.50 each. So whether you're getting these for a sweetheart or a friend or yourself, once more you'll find them a wonderfully indulgent box of chocolates.
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