Box Chocolate Review

Marcie Blaine

Info Details
Country USA   (Philadelphia, PA)
Style New School      (w/ Classic nod)

At times cryptic like the prophetic oracle at Delphi (the serpentine priestess Pythia), as if inspired by the vapors of the cacáo gods drifting about Mexican & Indian cuisine.

Described by dissident feminist Camille Paglia in one her riveting lectures: "possessed by Apollo, the Delphic oracle went into paroxysms after intoxication by fumes from a cleft in the earth". (Fault lines have recently been identified in the bedrock at Delphi by an archaeologist & geologist, who speculate that the priestess was maddened by oozing petro-chemicals like ethylene prized by modern glue-sniffers.)
Presentation   4.3 / 5
urban chic; good-looking, dark & handsome crew (some enrobed, a few molded, & couple rolled); a few irregular fit & finish
Aromas   4.5 / 5
perspired scents of Marcie’s playground emanating from the garden of Earth that smells of sex & candy: herbs, spices, nuts & seeds, plus hard-working sweat
Textures/Melt   8.7 / 10
Shells: variable (encrusted; dusted; generally thin & malleable)
Centers: soft erogenous zones
Flavor   44.9 / 50
intelligent, well-proportioned combinations free of haphazard clashes (excepting nut pieces which trend toward imbalance) including a couple that muddle along before plumbing some profound depths
Quality   26.1 / 30
None of the skullduggery & secrecy by which so many in this industry operate. Instead, a big picture-window at the rear of a flower shop called Verde right in the heart of Philadelphia, PA – plain for all to see the labeled couverture, equipment, & chocolate pieces being made in an open kitchen to bend tradition with creative purpose.
Couverture: Valrhona; Barry Cacao; Callebaut
The Classic - pure ‘n simple truffle ganache; Valrhona’s Manjari tamed by the cool forces of cream; nonetheless a slight tug to the tart side before butter fat predominates, drawing a bit of pastry blank until an underriding tannin rekindles it to finish off a ravished kiss of star anise
Mint Julep - a dark smoking storehouse as much caraway-inflected as mint-possessed (in fact, very little of that) to conjure up bourbon at the back of a speakeasy
Green Tea - rustically potent (including dried tea leaves), well layered, & Dark yet transparent thru & thru; exceptional
Passion Fruit Caramel - caramel an early non-factor on brassy orange-twisted passion wisely covered in White Choc, then a subtle butterscotching tones it down; sweet... but good cut & geometry to the flavor’s shape
Coconut Marcona Almond - chocolate absent (for the most part) around this nut sack of a truffle; the Spanish Marconas (smaller & softer than regular almonds) sweetening the coconut into a hi-class macaroon
Spicy Peanut Gianduja - chocolate again minimized in a micro-crunch of peanuts that pop out in praline-like layered-sheets against increasingly warm chili at the back that never ventures too far forward; well-sequenced with good movement across the palette of this dramatic variation on a theme
Rose Tattoo - no simple floral spray; unique for the collection; thick hard shell encases soft caramel unfolding roses as cacáo’s own structure (easily the most brooding of the set) blends seemingly with stinging alcohol followed by just the lightest soap-bubble chaser to imprint chocolate cognac; an acquired but excellent taste
Balsamic Strawberry - another caramel deception, this one holding berries & grapes in suspension thru a slow prism of chocolate to a mysterious laggard end that some could mistake for confusion; profound

Reviewed Summer 2010

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