Box Chocolate Review

Lula

Info Details
Country Italy   (Milano)
Style Neo-Modern      
lo
med
hi
CQ
Sweetness
Intensity
Complexity
Impact
A quiet exquisition of emotional intensity
Presentation   4.8 / 5
slick, pristine white box (hi-gloss) & peach-colored ribbon; opens to Victorian & Albert wall-paper liner patterned w/ hummingbird design then sealed w/ logo-printed sticker; beeeeaaautiful knockout petite gem-like pieces sitting in unremarkable plastic cradle but oh-so-button-cute li’l pink cups; excellent temper on the couverture, nice personal/hand-applied finishes; none too dear or picture perfect... just enough to wow / to want
Aromas   4.5 / 5
potent: everything at expressly hi-levels – mink musk, mint, lavender, white pepper, chocolate, gianduja, balsamics tumble out; add pistachio & cotton candy... even the sprinkles spank the nostrils
Textures/Melt   7.7 / 10
Shells: slightly uneven hand on the dip/enrobe; some snapping thick / others too damn thick (Gianduia); decent if unremarkable melt on the shell
Centers: pure & clean - all possess great if diverse mouth; soft ‘n smooth texture on ganache; disturbing but grows-on-you praline crunch; fab Pistachio Marzipan; well crafted
Flavor   43.1 / 50
fondants are flavor-furious; the pralines all about perfectly balanced equilibrium right in the cross-hairs; either way, incomparably clean lines... no synthetics / chemicals, soy or agar agar; again, ‘clean’ the byword, natural too, very assertive w/o aggression; good though a bit sweet in the base chocolate (seemingly used in couveture & ganache too); overall crisp, measured flavorings w/ lingering aftertastes
Quality   25.3 / 30
Tuscan-style chocolate, instead of no or low salt, it's less sugar ‘n cream in the fillings (though couverture re-calibrates that).

Like many high-end Italian chocolatiers, Lula walks its own path paved with the knowledge of the craft. Little in the way of the mechanical: the hand measures, melts, blends, fills, seals & finishes. Solid balancing act between shells & fillings, chocolate & flavors: clean, titillating & surefooted.

Even with a few stumbles here & there, a box that shines.
Selections
Couverture: standard
Gianduia – classic MC; hyper clean / ultra refined to the point of recessed, as if diluted or water-based
Sesamo e Fave Cacao – spectacularly finished Dark robe topped by gold-dabbed tile; crystal nut micro-crunch (sesame seeds & cacáo Nibs actually); delicatia on the flavor tip sublimates feelings of Textural anxiety w/ rapture
Latte e Arachidi – the MC version of praline w/ silvered tile & bigger chunks of peanut creating a thicker paste on the chew ‘n melt; similarly soft euphorics in taste
Pistacchio – one-of-a-kind pistachio marzipan killed by a too heavy pleated-cup / Dark shell filled w/ the green nut ‘n butter cream verging on cafe pastry
Crema Gianduia – another too-thick-‘n-sweet industrial pleated shell but Dark-in-Dark thru & thru save for a screaming hazelnut paste, laden w/ sprinkles giving off whiffs of talcum & soap bubbles, then burning cocoa-rubber; off kilter
Fragola e Aceto Balsamic – phenomenal glitz on the outside mold of this Strawberry-Balsamic; super-sweet fruit-mash w/in, the berry accenting the grape... tapers off as cacáo tannins bite thru, leaving in its wake blinking flashes of spice (cinnamon, clove &, of course, vanilla); great progression & well-proportioned
Caffe e Caramel – another stellar-looking beauty; silk-smooth Milk Choc base surrounds a snail-trail caramel spiked in coffee &, seemingly, a drop of alcohol burn harmonizing a fennel tone at the back; outstanding synergy & equilibrium that stands for oral nirvana
Vaniglia e Lavanda – immediate & multi-faceted; combative / jolting herb (lavender), then hard fruit (cocoa), settled by spice (vanilla); potent & persistent troika
Albiccoca e Fave di Tonca – tart apricot embraced in White Chocolate cocoa butter then subtly fortified w/ tonka bean; stemwinding finish; top-of-the-box / ultra cake frosting
Cremino- - sensual takedown from huge cream fat, hazelnut paste & Milk Choc; oral sex in a bonbon
Mentha – exploding mint-backed fondant; dry & crunching crystallized texture; Girl Scout™ cookie standard
Viola – plays long on the tongue w/ candied violets (no wonder these 2 form the same word in Italiano); perfumed enough to refresh a restroom w/ or w/o the Roman bath musicians to carry the notes; practically leaves trails of incense smoking thru the cavity
Liquirizia – cocoa the mere conduit to another long & strong piece but this a licorice stick; no twizzler fake-flavors... just unreal super-charged concentration
Cuba 70 – probably Barry-Cacao re-melted; good raisin component strained thru the mint from the Mentha (above) that reeked thru the box

Reviewed Spring 2010
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