Box Chocolate Review


Info Details
Country Belgium   (Brussels)
Style Industrial      (Neo-Industrial)
Cocoa-gurus out there still write books & give lectures about “Belgian-style chocolate” vs. “French-style” vs. “Nouveau-American”. These categories ring with all the meaningless outdated nonsense of the ancien regime.

In the 21st Century global economy on island Earth, artificial political borders & ethnic tribalism yield to transnational interests & ideas; memes that skip over & under the space-time continuum in an ever-flexible media trespassing boundaries.

And yet the goods can often stay rooted with a sense -- or at least an appreciation -- in remembrance of things past (thank you M. Proust) for that auchtung je ne sais quoi authentico moment.

Boxed Chocolate Exhibit ‘A’: Wittamer. Former archetype of “Belgian-style”, now a clan that surmounts old dynasties while inheriting their DNA.

Wittamer: 1-stop sugar-shop (bakery, ice-cream parlor, chocolate salon, et. al.). King of the Brussels big-butter scene. Living off the inherited fumes of the past, when Belgium -- once crowned & renowned for chocolate -- catapulted into commerce to create a new category: Neo-Industrial. Extremely well-branded & yet completely forgettable as in 'quite-can’t-remember-the-name'... W2 or something... Whitman’s? WD-40?

Just the side effects to the impact of a sugar implosion.

Presentation   5 / 5
ultra-21st Century displaying clean lines, sharp colors, & easy functionality; almost Asian-Japanese in its origami configurations & sliding trays holding an array of shapes in measured 1.5-bite size
Aromas   3.4 / 5
strong nut-praliné & sugar w/ subdued fruit & nearly mute chocolate in their wake
Textures/Melt   6.1 / 10
Shells: some soft glob (striving for mousse-like) runneth over into fluid; others gum up the works... seaweed emulsifier?
Centers: built for shelf-life; heavy gauge mold in a shell-shock ode to Jean Neuhaus 1912
Flavor   21.9 / 50
couverture (schlockolate) marked by plastic-wax residue; scorched nuts, scalded milk diluted with lot of sugar highlights
Quality   12.6 / 30
Industrial Cheap... high-image / low-substance. Formula based slag without, on the plus side, any significant chocolate wrecked in this confectionary disaster. Surely the sugar is of the highest quality: like street crack for teeth.
Couverture: Callebaut
Le Wittamer – signature piece; medium-light cream ganache inside a thick cube of shell; plain, naked w/ just the mildest tannin to suggest alkalis in the starkness
Venezuela– near carbon copy of Le Wittamerabove except even softer tannins adhering a fleeing fruit plume
Exquis Noir– crag-molded truffle shape save for a ‘W’ imprint on the bottom; cocoa-powdered up w/ durable fudge-backing
Exquis Lait– the Milk version of the dark-Noir above but of a wetter ganache & a chemical butterscotch + some sorbital-type sweetner
Java– dark coffee, no mocha... strong & long w/ cereal grain pull at the finish & then that now-Wittamer signature alkali cocoa powder; consider it for breakfast
Quatre Épices– neo-classic 4-spice blend (ginger, pepper, nutmeg & cinnamon) conjures maple pumpkin-pecan pie; overly sweet yet excellent synergy
Poivre– pepper w/ a sechuan-like lemon-ness busts thru the fortified shell to team w/ cocoa (alkalis well-served); among best in collection
Trianon– which one... Le Grand (leave it to Louis XIV to take light repasts in his ‘casual porcelain palace’) ou Le Petit (romper room of Marie Antoinette)? Neither, but the 1920 Treaty of Trianon that cost the country of Hungary about a third or so of its territory & this piece holds up 3 facades (+ a 4th including the bottom) in a kind of ramshackle clapboard that will rid you of yours... a gaudy, gookey & gooey nougatine
Pavé de Bruxelles Lait– another glucose sweet-house Milk Choc caramel praliné
Cœur Framboise - the thickest couverture seen on a bonbon tube; almost passes for rock-solid except for the bubble-goo (raspberry) at the heart of it
Cognac Truffle– the tongue just booze-smacked by this runaway drunk pissing its sweatpants
Passion Fruit - a “star”... but in any other box... well, let’s just forget it
Tarragone– well-masticated Milk Choc Praliné (RE: cardboard) soaked in booga-suga
Arlequin- cream fats coat & loiter about scorched nuts (almonds / filberts)
Diamant– overly sweetened caramel runs faster than the yolk of a perfectly poached egg
Cannelle- 15 seconds of cinnamon-heat, then mysteriously punked to a cipher
Grénoble– almond paté; oh, how the nobles have fallen

Reviewed April 2010

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