Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Guylian Twists

Guylian Mixed TwistsFor much of my life the prototype in my mind of Belgian chocolates was Guylian’s assortments shaped like sea shells. It was one of my earliest introductions to hazelnut pralines and though I rarely got the opportunity to indulge in them, they certainly fixed in my mind an image of what European fine chocolates were like.

They epitomize the convergence of flavors and design. Cute seashells and seahorse shapes with different cream fillings.

Now that I’ve had more access to a greater variety of confections, I wanted to revisit them with a fresh perspective.

Guylian Mixed TwistsThe Guylian Belgian Chocolate Twists are a good way to try out their style without sinking too much money into the effort. For about $4, it’s a 4.51 ounce box with 18 individually wrapped “twists” in six varieties.

Each little piece is color coded and marked, wrapped in mylar. The pieces, I was surprised, are actually sealed and then twists (many other companies just twist the ends, these are actually sealed little pouches that look like twists). They do open easily though.

    Guylian Seahorse

The little seahorses are striking. Each one was in great shape, even though I toted these around the floor at the Fancy Food Show and then all the way back to Los Angeles in my luggage.

Original Praline is dark and white chocolate with a hazelnut praline center. It has a soft and sweet hazelnut aroma. The bite of the chocolate is on the soft side. The center is lightly grainy with a strong hazelnut flavor. But it’s also very sweet with a touch of milky chocolate to it.

Now I remember why I don’t buy these. They’re very sweet, though I have to say, they are gorgeous.


But this assortment has other flavors, and they’re not white chocolate, so maybe I’ll find something else in there that I like.

Strawberry - this one looked like the classic marbled seahorse. It smelled like Twizzlers. Upon biting it open I saw the construction of the piece. The white cream center was covered in a white chocolate shell which then had the marbled dark chocolate on top of that in a thin veneer. So it’s a mostly-white chocolate piece. The strawberry flavor is more delicate than it smells, with only a slight tangy note in the cream. It’s rather like a chocolate version of strawberry ice cream.

Guylian Mixed TwistsCaramel Crisp (top of the pyramid) - this one didn’t start out well because it had a fake butter smell like buttered popcorn. But the texture combination upon biting it was fun. It’s a sweet milk chocolate shell with a whipped cream center with a butter flavor to it and some caramelized crisped rice bits in there for crunch.

Orange (bottom left of the pyramid) - dark chocolate with a light cream filling flavored with orange. The cream center is light and not too sweet, no graininess. It’s all about the orange, the only chocolate is from the shell, which isn’t strong enough to contribute much more than itself as a container.

Cappuccino (bottom right of the pyramid) is a dark chocolate truffle-like piece. The filling is light and fluffy, a white cream base with a heavy does of ground espresso beans in there. It’s definitely at the other end of the spectrum from the cloying sweet classic praline. Bitter yet still smooth, strongly flavored. The center isn’t quite truffle-like, it’s cool on the tongue, probably because palm oil is the second ingredient in the centers.

Chocolate Truffle is a milk chocolate shell with a milk chocolate ganache center. It’s slick and creamy, not too sweet but like I experience with the palm oil based Lindor truffles, it ultimately tastes empty.

Like the Lindor truffles as well, these are incredibly caloriffic. I clocked them at 192 calories per ounce. (A serving is 5 pieces, 34 grams and 230 calories.)

The craftsmanship on these is undeniable, but I don’t think this is the best that Belgium has to offer. They’re a fun little sweet for the eye, but less satisfying for those with discriminating palates (and who wish to avoid palm oil). I do have some of their Solitaire chocolate tasting squares which I’ll try soon, just as a touchstone for their main ingredient and they do make their chocolate from bean to bar to bonbon.

Terry has a review of the classic shells recently.

Related Candies

  1. Harry & David Chocolate Pinecones
  2. Reese Hazelnut Creme
  3. Lindt Chocolate Carrots
  4. Pralines Leonidas
  5. CocoaBella “World’s Best Box”
  6. Cafe Tasse: Orange, Extra Noir & Noir Praline
Name: Belgian Chocolate Twists
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 4 BENIGN
Brand: Guylian
Place Purchased: samples from Fancy Food Show
Price: $3.99 retail
Size: 4.51 ounces
Calories per ounce: 192 (eek!)
Categories: Chocolate, Coffee, White Chocolate, Belgium, Kosher

POSTED BY Cybele AT 10:40 am Tracker Pixel for Entry    

  1. I had some of these a year or so ago, I was so unimpressed they probably stayed up the top of my pantry for an entire year! It wasn’t that they were horrible really, more…they weren’t worth the trouble of eating.

    Comment by Moyran on 2/04/09 at 11:25 pm #
  2. bettyfelon's avatar

    My father used to get fruit baskets every year as a Christmas gift and they usually had Guylian Chocolates in them so this post makes me feel nostalgic

    I e-mailed you a few weeks ago about Papa’s Opera Creme eggs that people in the Cincinnati area go CRAZY for at Easter but I never got a reply. Maybe it didn’t send
    Anyway they’re for sale now so if you’re interested I could send you some, let you know when I see them for sale online or you could contact the company if you’d like

    Chris A Papas & Son Company Inc
    921 Baker Street
    Covington, KY 41011-2007
    (859) 431-0499
    Papas Candies

    Comment by bettyfelon on 2/05/09 at 12:54 am #
  3. those little seahorses look like something a weird, rich aunt would give you one of, thinking it indulgent.  when really, as a kid, you could eat a whole ocean of those things.

    Comment by the pizza on 2/05/09 at 3:39 am #
  4. Belgium has amazing chocolate (I’ve spent a lot of time there) and in a way it is so good it is confusing people. Because a lot of what I see reviewed as high end chocolate is in fact supermarket chocolate, such as Cote D’Or and Guylian. Cote D’Or and Callebaut are everyday chocolate, literally what people eat for breakfast there (though I think Cybele would love Cote D’Or chocolate covered caramels). So maybe re-calibrate how you’re thinking about these products. (They were a revelation to me in the 80s when I was first introduced to them by Belgian friends, but of course American chocolate has improved a lot since then.)

    At the next level is something like Leonidas. That’s a chain with a store on every corner (kind of like Sees). You should go into their LA store, however, because what Leonidas does best is their fresh cream chocolates, which only last a week so they don’t ship them out. You bring these to people’s houses when you go to dinner (like we bring wine).

    At the next level above that is something like Neuhaus. They have both bars and pralines (the filled candies). That’s what I bring home when I go there. They have a great Earl Grey Tea chocolate bar.

    At the top level are famous chocolatiers, like the guy whose name I forget who is winning all these prizes and just opened a shop in New York.

    I think you’re doing a wonderful job with this blog, I just hate to see Belgian chocolate maligned.

    Comment by Nina on 2/05/09 at 5:52 am #
  5. oh its adorable!

    Comment by Bubbles on 2/08/09 at 3:08 pm #
  6. Please send me names of stores   here in Cincinnat   that have the famous papas easter eggs.  can not find them anywhere.  Do you have a store that sells them there at your factory.  If so please send me directions and hrs.  you are open.

    Comment by Ruth Lipps on 3/02/10 at 8:47 am #
  7. Papas Opera Creams and the different varieties that are sold at Easter and Christmas can be purchased at Walgreens in Cincinnati.  Or you can go across the Ohio river and purchase them where they are locally made in Covington, Kentucky.  Yummy those little chocolate covered delicacies are good.

    Comment by Fran on 12/14/10 at 11:51 am #
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