Box Chocolate Review

Lenôtre

Info Details
Country France   (Paris)
Style Classic      (Gallic)
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med
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CQ
Sweetness
Intensity
Complexity
Impact
The Good Rev. Ron DMC (for Doctor of Meditational Chocolate) returned from Paris again with her latest haul.

Having finished it, she came to this startling revelation: there'll be of no more bonbons for her except on very rare occasion & trips because chocolate -- which may be the 'food of the Gods' -- started its long journey as litter or jungle trash spit out by monkeys on the rainforest floor so the gods have been feeding on, ahem, junk food.

Heresy or enlightened truth?

Beyond the fact that bonbons are generally unhealthy, they weigh one down the good Reverend elucidates, compounded by the problem with the business of chocolate is the business itself. All the abuses in growing, importing & manufacturing related to the needs for volume production & shelf life.

A century ago, a local chocolatier worked in a small town, & rarely if ever shipped product half way around the world. Each precious piece would be consumed fresh within a short time of being handmade.

This site, in copious entries, lays much of the blame at the feet of the industrial giants & consumer masses habituated in their air-conditioned hells to crave empty calories. Add in a more recent dynamic with teaching academies that instruct aspiring chocolatiers, however small, to produce for mass consumption. These encourage the use of glucose, sugar syrups, invert sugar (trimoline) & sorbitol stabilizers for extra smoothness & extended shelf life. Just reading their recipes is enough to cause diabetes. What the chocolate-cutter schools pump out & int'l bonbon awards recognize may be artistically beautiful, sometimes delicious, but nevertheless junk food.

Case in point, Lenôtre. Far from strictly fresh, small batch, local & healthy, it amounts to a grand dame of sorts in style & function. It offers culinary classes, shops, merchandise, utensils… the whole mixing bowl.

Amen, Rev. Ron DMC, even if 'junk food' sounds harsh, no matter how true.

And as for this particular box -- damn, junk food sure goes down well.
Presentation   4 / 5
corporate with large picture-window onto the contents within
near-perfect enrobing + even some bottoms bear Lenôtre imprints
Aromas   2.7 / 5
flatter than a riverboat on the Seine
Textures/Melt   7.9 / 10
Shells: substantial / heavy gauge, creating long melts
Centers: uniform
Flavor   45.2 / 50
thick; concentrated; persistent
Quality   25.4 / 30
Intensely dark, brooding affairs (inclusions included), leavened ever-so-lightly by cream ganache… the white shirt of a black-tie tuxedo
Selections
Couverture: solid
Coffee -- set in a Rubic's cube with signature "Lenôtre" lettering wrapped around the exterior of a caramel ganache; strong & long on the palate with a dark smarting acidity from coffee more than cocoa

Dark -- plain 'n simple, indistinct / non-descript, probably alkalized, interminable melt a virtue except the emasculated Flavor flips it into an annoyance

Anise -- persistent pitch on the infusion, hazelnut tail to the couverture; heady & intoxicating

Caramel -- dark, molasses-deep caramel matched by stark, tannic cocoa

Praliné -- chewy, slightly gummy & crunchy classic with a twist -- a drop of coffee, & just a drop -- sweeter than necessary but nothing to complain about really; rather Gallic

Reviewed June 5, 2014
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