Monday, September 16, 2013

Dr. Chocolate Appointment: Godiva's "Mooncake" Collection

As far as mooncakes go, I am a through-and-through traditionalist. Ok, I might not like that gritty-as-hell fruitcake-adjacent five-kernel filling, but I definitely appreciate it more than those contemporary "mooncakes" made with gelatinous/mochi skins and filled with ice creams, custards and other faddish shenanigans (I half-expect to see cronut versions injected with cold-pressed juices this year.) I'll take mine with white lotus seed paste & two yolks, to be polished one-quarter at a time, thank you very much.
Godiva Mooncake Box & Contents
So when Godiva invited me to try their Mid-Autumn Festival collection of mooncake-shaped bonbons, I disclosed to them my bias towards the classics before they even sent along the box. Nonetheless, I was intrigued by the eclectic flavor offerings in these truffles, which according to their press release is already a hit throughout Asia and making their U.S. debut this year.

When I saw the spec sheet was in the box, I can't help but chuckle at how upbranded these chocolates were. There were mentions of single-origin chocolates and ingredients from seemingly fascinating locales (e.g. Turkish hazelnuts, Australian macadamia praline,) even the box itself is made to be a work of art (and actually, after I finished tasting these with my friends -- one of them took the box home to use as a tray to hold keys and assorted bric-a-bracs.)
Godiva Mooncakes
As for the chocolates themselves? They were actually quite delicious, definitely tastier & more exotic than the Godivas I've tried years ago. While I did find the fillings formulaic (in general, each bonbon's top layer is a tangy fruit ganache & bottom layer some form of nutty crisp,) I was able to parse out some of the nuances in each truffle. The white mini mooncake did have the faintly pleasant fraise des bois fragrance, and the dark mini mooncake did ring true with the tropical tartness of passionfruit and mango.

For photo purposes, I'm also thrilled none of these are caramel-filled, which would've turned into a runny-sticky mess when I cut them open for the interior shot.

My favorite of the set was actually large mooncake, with its dark chocolate shell encasing a rather sublime combination of pear, redcurrants and citrus. I actually give them props for not going overboard with last one, a common pitfall of many citrus-infused chocolate (even today, I'm very wary of bars, truffles and desserts that have chocolate and orange in the same line.) Having said that, it would be great if future Mid-Autumn collections were more Asian-centric in flavor choices, to pay homage to cultures that actually celebrate this holiday.

And like regular mooncakes -- this collection will cost a pretty penny ($50). But if you know Mid-Autumn celebrating folks who shudder at the thought of lotus & jujube pastes and not really into borderline slimy "ice skins", or are just chocoholics (like me!) in general, this collection may be the classy way to go. Just don't forget a get a paper lantern too!

Godiva's Limited Edition Mid-Autumn Festival Collection is available for sale online & at its California stores through Sept. 19.

Other stories about this collection:
L.A. Times
Mochi Mag
That Food Cray

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