February 22, 2007

MarieBelle, my belle...I want you, I want you

Be still my beating heart!

The sweet Christina from Brooklyn gifted me with this precious box of MarieBelle chocolates (along with a can of chipotle peppers!) when we met last Saturday. I made a feeble attempt at suppressing a squeal when she handed me the elegant robin's egg blue box with it's dainty ribbon for I knew what treasures lay inside. She had told me previously in one of her online messages that this was her favorite brand of chocolates, preferring them over La Maison du Chocolat. After thanking her profusely, I put it in my bag for safekeeping. I wanted to open it while alone in my bedroom (which, by the way, is done in the same colors as the packaging, just like my blog :-)), where I could really appreciate every moment of this sweet encounter.

As soon as I got home, I plopped down on my bed and slowly opened the box. I pondered it's uncanny likeness to a box from Tiffany's. And while it didn't hold any jewelry, what lay inside were gems in their own right. Nine beautiful, delicate chocolatey gems! I gazed lovingly at each one, admiring all the details. Each little nugget is a work of art, intricately designed with stylish and romantic images that just tug at your heartstrings. They were almost too gorgeous to eat, even though some of the pieces did not hold well in transit.

Life is like a box of MarieBelle chocolates, you never know what you're gonna get.

I picked one to try, first one top row. It had an image of a hanging skeleton and what looked like a little girl. Very mysterious looking; I had no idea what to expect. Could it be a halloween-inspired flavor such as pumpkin? Or maybe licorice, candycorn? But when I took my first bite it was clear as crystal. I experienced a burst of flavor that immediately transported me to a sunny beach in the tropics where the only sounds were those of palm leaves swaying in the breeze and waves lapping at the shore. It was the unmistakable taste of a sweet luscious mango, my most favorite fruit in the world. What a wonderful surprise!

Over the next couple of days I unlock the mystery hidden under each pretty design. Each flavor is so intense that it plays tricks on your mind. There was espresso, passionfruit, caipirinha (which at first I thought was margarita until I consulted the little booklet that comes in the box), pineapple, spices, mandarin and hazelnut praline. The booklet also showcases the other exotic flavors: manjari, coconut, gianduja, champagne, lavender, dulce de leche, pistachio, cinnamon, white chocolate kona bean (!), saffron, cardamom and wild berry. To borrow one of my friends favorite expressions, Santa Banana! I wanna try them all!

Thank you so so much, Christina, you made my week! :)


Lori said...

Those are gorgeous chocolates. I've read that Mariebelle also makes a hot chocolate similar to the one in Paris' Angelina cafe.

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

Ooooh, the most beautiful chocolates imaginable! I hope you enjoyed every one of them!

christine said...

Hi, Lori. :) When I looked up MarieBelle online, what kept coming up were articles and testaments to her Aztec hot chocolate, maybe that's the one? I'm so eager to try it after all that I've read about it, especially the spicy variety (I LOVE chili and chocolate!) :) Ok! So who's going to NY soon?!

Lydia, they're so pretty! Even melted and warped like some were, they were still a sight to behold.

Anonymous said...

These are so cute, too pretty to eat. They remind me of a box I have from Richart. Delicious as well! I might have one now, as I write ;-)

Christina said...

Hi Christine! Glad you loved them, they really are delicious.

A tip for anyone visiting NYC: it's a little secret that Maribelle does not make her own chocolates, Mr. Chocolate himself makes them (Jacques Torres). So basically, if you'd like to buy the same chocolate for a little cheaper, go to one of his fabulous chocolate stores: one on Hudson St in the West Village, one in Dumbo.

She designed and copyrighted the silkscreen images, which are done in buttercream and add a very special touch to it, for sure. That is very different from Torres', but his are fabulous too.

And yes, the Aztec hot cocoa is awesome!

I actually haven't tried the other place you mentioned Christine, I have to see what that's like, but I thought these might transport better, because they're not as delicate a shape as I think those others are.

Sidney said...

They are too beautiful to eat!
Amazing stuff! They must cost a fortune!

Anonymous said...

those are some of the loveliest/funkiest chocolates ive ever seen- cant wait to try.

christine said...

Hi Bea! I looked up Richart chocolates, and you're right! In the little booklet that comes with the box, the other designs are of geometric and abstract shapes and patterns that looks just like those of Richart. So pretty too! :)

Christina, wow, Jacques Torres makes these? No wonder they're so good!! Thank you so much again!! You must be in Camiguin by now, can't wait to hear all about it. See you soon! :)

christine said...

Hey sidney! It took me a while to take my first bite. I admired them for so long and snapped away with my camera before I did. hehe. They're masterpieces in their own right! :) Thanks for dropping by.

mrsa, I thought so too! I can imagine how fascinating it would be to visit the shop no? All the more reason to trek to the east coast when I'm back in the US again. ;)

vina said...

aaaaw...they're too beautiful to be eaten!

Anonymous said...

Those look so precious! And I love those unusual fillings! I'm always looking for different flavors to combine with my favorite chocolate. I love chili with it too. Did you ever try Bizu's Fire macaron? It was a limited flavor, along with Earth, which was choc. with rosemary -- also interesting. (Yes, there was also Wind, which was choc. with mint.) I once had a
Canadian designer choc. with calamansi inside, which was nice, but my favorite unusual combination that I've tried so far is choc. with ginger.

Hmm...I must remember to ask for these next time someone comes back from NY.

christine said...

Hi Vina! They are, aren't they? But the urge to taste them was stronger than their visual appeal hehe.

Hi Katrina, I've never tried the fire macaron of Bizu! Is it gone? I'd love to try it. I love their macarons, especially the lemon and pistacchio. Calamansi and ginger in chocolate?? Wow, that sounds so intriguing!

Anonymous said...

Hello Christina and all,
Just wanted to tell you all that Jacques Torres does not make MarieBelle chocolates. The company actually has a chef and a team of sous chefs that blend their own ganaches and flavors, mainly using single-origin cacao. If you want to verify this you can call or email the company directly.

christine said...

Chocoholic, thank you for the info. :)