Tasted Neuhaus chocolates for the first time -- wow! My husband and I were throwing a dinner party for 12 people (including ourselves) and we wanted a couple of pounds of really good chocolates to put in fancy compotes on the table for after dessert/coffee time.
We bought these in the basement of Macy's at the chocolate service counter. I think Macy's is in many big cities in the US, but I'm not sure if they all have Neuhaus counters. We had the attendant make up an assorted boxful, including some of the glaceed fruits and candied orange peel.
Also -- warning. These are not cheap. A two-pound assorted box of choose-your-own (not prepacked) was $88.00.
I have to say that these are some of the very best chocolates I've ever had. We were looking for something not only visually stunning but great tasting as well. This was a special occasion dinner for people we really care about, and we wanted to go all out. We were not dissapointed.
Neuhaus seems to be heavy on the praline and gianduja (sp?) flavors -- which is fine with me :) Lots of hazelnut cream and little layerd confections consisting of a hard inner cup of chocolate, filled with a flavored cream of some variety, topped by a sprinkling of nuts or crushed praline, and then covered by another layer of chocolate -- sometimes a different kind dark/milk/white, then with a decoration over that! These are not simple at all -- and I'm sure that some people would consider them overdone. The fraises des boise chocolates, wrapped in foil, were unbelievable. The orange peel coated in chocolate was, and I say this with trepidation but the truth compells me, much much better than the homemade version I've done in the past. How many things taste better when they are not homemade? I don't know -- but this is one of the few.
Also included in the wonderful assortment was a totally unique chocolate -- at least I'd never seen or heard about it before. It was a pyramid-shaped solid gianduja (hazelnut-flavored milk chocolate, very dense and rich), which was coated lightly and evenly with a crunchy white sugar crust. It was very fine -- no discernable crystals -- just a white frosting-type crunchy layer. Spectacular! I'd never experienced that before.
I'd love to hear what other hounds have to say about Neuhaus, and other really fantastic fancy chocolates that they've had. Every once and a while, I want to have a party where I would invest the $$$ to serve this kind of treat. Always interested in hearing about other good choices.
This was far better than anything I'd ever had from Godiva before, which most of the people I know seem to think is the best. Neuhaus, in my opinion, blew Godiva out of the water.
Oh -- and they went over VERY well at dinner. Everyone had eaten dessert with gusto ( Bill Yoss's Meyer lemon-soaked pound cake, with raspberry coulis, and homemade spearmint granita), and said they didn't want another bite. We brought out the chocolates in two footed compotes to put on the table while the coffe was being served. Over coffee and a little port these 12 people put away 2 pounds of these chocolates and looked like they could have had more :) Next time I might get an extra pound and save a few, so Mr. Smith and I can have a secret delight separate from the party!