Tuesday, November 10, 2009

006.Jules Destrooper Virtuoso Belgian Chocolate Covered Cinnamon Biscuits

Produced in Lo, Belgium

Distributed by American Marketing Team, Bloomfield, New Jersey

Claim: “Purveyor to the Belgian Royal Household”

Ingredients: chocolate (60%) (sugar, cocoa butter, whole milk powder, cocoa mass, dextrose, emulsifier: lecithin), wheat flour, brown sugar, butter, eggs, sugar syrup, leavening: sodium bicarbonate, salt, cinnamon.

$2.95 for a 3.52-ounce box

"Reminds me of a Heath bar," chimed my missus, noting the shape and snap of the chocolate-coated ("enrobed," the Web site terms it) Virtuoso. But in lieu of a thin, crunchy toffee within it's a thinner, crispy cinnamon cookie.

The box contains 12 cookies. Nowhere is this on the box. Is that typical? I don't buy many cookies. At 24.5 cents per, I doubt I'll be buying many more of these.

In fact, it isn't the price that spooks me – and I adore the elegantly designed box, which stands as an invitation to a place of cobblestones and gnomes but, I'm sure, is a street (Gravestraat 5, to be precise) paved with more industrial passions – it's the chocolate.

Jules Destrooper began selling a crispy almond thin in 1886. It's hard to expect companies with such history to turn the boat around, given the inertia of success, but I should think this product could benefit from a less indifferent chocolate. It's 60-percent cacao, so says the box, but tastes as milk-chocolate as any candy bar I can imagine. It's not bad – it's just that I don't look to Belgium for not bad when it comes to chocolate (though I am learning).

What they do have is a bevy of enticing desserts that employ Destrooper's range of biscuits along the edges, like garnish.

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