Monday, December 29, 2008

Russell Stover's "Urban" Chocolate Box

My husband and I received this box from a relative, who is well aware that we not only adore good chocolate, but I make some damn good truffles, if I do say so myself. Apparently Russell Stover is trying for the foodie audience by offering pseudo-high end chocolates with names like "Grapefruit Ganache," "Pistachio Nougatine," and "Key Lime" (Key Lime what, exactly, they don't say). We gave them a chance, truly we did. However, I wouldn't recommend these chocolates to people who want good chocolate, or even people who like a normal Russell Stover mixed box.

First of all, when we opened the box, we were rewarded with the smell of Lime. Not a subtle lime, either, this was Lime Jell-o scent at its finest. Knowing that chocolate picks up smells rather easily, we braced ourselves for tasting what were probably now "(Lime) Espresso Truffle" and "(Lime) Sea Salt Soft Caramel."

We were not disappointed.

The first to be tasted was "Espresso Truffle." Instead of being cylindrical, as shown on the box, it was more like they had taken the normal half-spherical chocolates and put a flat decorative circle pressed on top. Not very attractive. The filling was hard and crumbly, which I'm hoping was staleness and not intentional, because ew. It tasted nothing like espresso, and nothing like chocolate. Just kind of limey and crumbly and ew.

Next came the "Grapefruit Ganache", which really means "white coating over a pink filling that tastes kind of like lime and has the texture of Crisco". Yummy.

"Pistachio Nougatine" was chewy. It still tasted somewhat limey and had little bits of what I think were pistachios, except they didn't taste like pistachios and didn't add anything to the flavor, which wasn't pistachio anyway.

Since we'd already had three lime-flavored chocolates, we decided to try the actual lime chocolate. Apparently "Key Lime" means Key Lime Cream, and for some reason it had to be bright green, even though the smell coming off this thing immediately identified it as Lime, and it was more Lime-flavored than the aforementioned Lime Jell-O. Now, I don't like Lime Jell-o, I think it tastes like cleaning supplies, and I said so as I spit it into the trash. The husband then came in, spit it out, and said "thank you. I knew I recognized the flavor but couldn't place it until you said 'cleaning products'." Yeah, that flavor was a huge mistake. Key Lime that was not.

We saved the best for last, surprisingly. Now, I've had good Sea Salt caramels before. This was not really a good sea salt caramel, but it was decent. No lime flavor (or we had completely overblown our lime taste buds), soft, smooth caramel with just enough salt to offset the sweetness. Plus, it was covered in dark chocolate. Not great, not something I'd ever crave, but it didn't offend either of us.

The "60% Cacao Dark from Ghana" is sitting in the kitchen. We decided to give it some time to let the lime dissipate before we try it. 60% is pretty weak, and I'm sure it'll just taste like off-brand dark chocolate.

Today's Lesson: Just splurge on the good stuff. Russell Stover is NOT good stuff, unless you normally eat chocolate-scented candles. It's not worth the calories or the disappointment.


Sara said...

That's funny about the lime jello flavor. On the other end of the spectrum, we received a box of very expensive chocolates as a gift. I cut them into pieces and we did a chocolate tasting...I also included a piece of the belgium chocolate from trader joes that I use for baking. $100/lb chocolate vs $4/lb chocolate? The $100/lb wasn't that much better!

Kathy said...

Sounds pretty horrible. I think Russell Stover makes a pretty decent box - the regular one, not this awful sounding stuff, but then my standards are pretty low. But whenever someone gives me a box, I hunt specially for the dark chocolate pink nougat kind.