My daughter Helen was kindly given these chocolates when visiting Daskalidès cafe a couple of months ago and passed them on to me to sample. Situated above the Covent Garden cafe, Daskalidès chocolate shop sells an array of chocolate-based products including a number of beautifully presented gifts. Along the length of the shop runs a glass counter showcasing an extensive range of pralines priced at £1.90 for two. We tend to associate pralines with nuts, but in Belgium this is the name given to all filled chocolates. Originating from Belgium, Daskalidès now have 140 stores worldwide selling hand-crafted Belgium chocolates at an affordable price.
Merveilleux – meaning ‘the marvelous one’
This chocolate looks a little like a cupcake with the dark chocolate base and sides, topped with swirled gianduja.
After biting into the chocolate the dark chocolate melts very easily and the taste is good. I never know what I’m biting into before tasting a chocolate as it’s a good idea to see if I can tell what it is. I certainly knew this was hazelnut in the centre. The ‘paste’ is creamy smooth and runnier than a paste although it doesn’t ooze out nor make a mess. I wasn’t sure about the top of the chocolate which I presumed was milk chocolate. It is in fact ‘gianduja’, which is “a sweet chocolate containing hazelnut paste invented in Turin during Napolean’s regency (1796-1814)” (according to a very knowledgable website). This didn’t have a strong hazelnut taste and I had to look it up to see what it was – hence the quote – but it was smooth and creamy, melted nicely with a nice taste. I’m not a hazlenut fan but this was very pleasant and I would not be displeased if I had another!
Cœur d’Amour – meaning ‘Heart of love’
The chocolate is a red heart with ‘Daskalides’ imprinted on top.
On smelling the chocolate I can tell it contains alcohol. Biting into it the outer layer is a crisp – yellow looking – white chocolate with a thick base. It’s not too strong an alcohol taste, but just lurking in the background so you know it’s there. The centre was very smooth and creamy and melted in my mouth. I really liked this chocolate. On looking to see exactly what it was I was surprised to find it was a ‘raspberry ganache’. I couldn’t taste the raspberries but this was a lovely chocolate, one I would definitely choose.
A dark square chocolate with a thin band of orange
This is a dark chocolate and very rich it is, smooth and melts wonderfully in the mouth. The base is thick as is the outer layer. When I bit into it the centre stayed exactly where it was which allowed me to taste the chocolate on it’s own, which is a gorgeous tasting chocolate. I then bit into the centre which was again very rich, smooth and an unmistakable tangy orange tasting ganache. This was my favourite.
I visited Bruges earlier last year and bought some chocolates and also shared a friend’s box which he had brought back too – both from different chocolatiers – and I was very disappointed. But, after trying these chocolates from Daskalides they have restored my faith in Belgian chocolates. Daskalides Chocolates will definitely be on my Mother’s Day list this year – and perhaps even Easter and birthday!
Living life, loving cake,