Saturday, June 12, 2010

The EU of Hazelnut Eggs

Ah - what came first - the hazelnut or the egg?

I saw these at Candy Expo and I happened to have some I found at World Market.  They are pretty clever - it's a real eggshell, decorated and filled with a hazelnut truffle egg:

They are made in Germany - aren't they pretty?

It really is an eggshell!

Pretty clever!  I'd like to see the process of making these!

They also taste delicious!  Smooth creamy milk chocolate with a good hazelnut flavor.  Dreamy!!  And gorgeous!

These milk chocolate nougat filled eggs were also made in Germany:

These are delicious too - there is a good hazelnut flavor here also and the milk chocolate coating is rich and creamy.  They are made by Niedergger, a German confectioner known for marzipan (I've reviewed some of their creations).  Europeans are bigger on hazelnut in their chocolate than Americans, but I really have developed a tasted for it.  (Chalk that up to Nutella.)  I like these WAY better than marzipan.

The Italians also got in on the hazelnut egg action - I got these at A Southern Season in Chapel Hill.  They had a huge barrel of them and you could serve yourself.

They were very creamy and delicious, but I could barely taste the hazelnut.  Fantastic for milk chocolate truffle eggs, not too impressive for hazelnut cream eggs.  Seems hard to believe the Italians would be subtle.

This is Lindt's Lilliput Egg Bag:

And the eggs are assorted - blue and pink are milk chocolate solids, purple is a dark chocolate solid and gold is hazelnut.  The autopsy photos are weird - this is a milk chocolate cut in half lengthwise:

This is a hazelnut cut in half width wise:

I liked the hazelnut better than all the solids.  The solids were just too boring in comparison.  The chocolate is good, but still - zzzzz.  And, compared to the Italian and German eggs, Lindt didn't fare so well.  Those were better.  Sorry, Lindt - I still love you.  Just maybe a little less than yesterday....

Okay, this is a creative way to offer chocolate and it does look like a carrot (or an umbrella):

But I didn't like it that much.  I don't like eating chocolate off a plastic stick - it seems to alter the experience (and not in a good way).  And again, not so good with the hazelnut.  The German eggs are so, so much better!

However, I really do love Lindt's ladybugs:

It's the creamy hazelnut with the crisps - love that textural mix!  And they are just so damn cute!!

Neuhaus is a Belgium company and has been kicking some chocolate butt in my reviews.  Expensive as heck, so far they have proved worth it.  In blue foil is a milk chocolate coated speculoos (a spicy cookie - like gingerbread flavor) and the pink is milk chocolate with gianduja (a hazelnut paste):

I really liked the speculoos (see, we learned a new and utterly useless Dutch word!) - it has a crunchy brown sugar texture and was really tastey - hard to describe - not too strongly of gingerbread, but a lovely spice flavor. 

And - shockingly enough - I liked the German hazelnut eggs better than the Neuhaus!  Wow!  The hazelnut flavor was just too faint.

Here the green is a dark chocolate with a praline nougat and the red is a dark chocolate with hazelnut paste:

I found the Neuhaus dark chocolate - which is absolutely delicious dark chocolate - overpowered the fillings and I could hardly taste them.  I think part of the "problem" is the Neuhaus eggs have a layer of chocolate between the two halves - meaning a higher chocolate to filling ratio.  And in this case - it's too much, offsetting the flavor of the filling.

Neuhaus had a lot of other eggs flavors - one that was new this year was a milk chocolate and creme brulee.  It got crushed in the autopsy photo - sorry!  But it was way too sweet for me.  But I like that they offer so many different flavors, although next year I might buy them individually so I can pick my favs.  This year I bought an assortment.

Thanks for visiting a few European countries with me today!  As always, taste is up to you - some of you may prefer the subtle hazelnut to the stronger flavor that I like.  And some of you may hate hazelnut altogether.  The key is to keep trying new things and figure out what YOU like.  Life is an adventure - both culinary and otherwise.  The key to good adventuring is:

1.) keeping an open mind
2.) trying things you've never tried before
and 3.) following your bliss.

And chocolate can definitely be your bliss!  Have some adventures this summer!!


Kris, in New England said...

I'm breaking out in hives just reading this - allergies to hazelnuts being what they are.

But - chocolate is bliss as you say, I just have to make sure my bliss is nut-free.

Which...could be a good philosophy for life in general.

Denise Ryan said...

Bwah, ha, ha! THAT'S the truth! It's those unlabeled ones that get you! Are you allergic to any other nuts? What a bummer!

Kris, in New England said...

Denise - I am allergic to all tree nuts. I can eat peanuts and macadamia nuts because they are legumes, members of the bean family. I've had this allergy since I was about 4 years old.

It can make things challenging especially in restaurants. My philosophy is when in doubt, I don't eat it.

Denise Ryan said...

What a bummer!! But I'm soooo glad peanuts and macadamias are still in. And I didn't know that about macadamias - you learn something new every day!! But I bet it is hard - they throw nuts in a lot of things these days when least expected!