Founded in France in the 17th century, Bissinger’s chocolates were favored by the luminaries of 18th and 19th century Europe, such as Napoleon Bonaparte and the Rothschilds. The company was granted the title of “Confectioner of the Empire” by King Louis XIV. Bissinger’s relocated to the United states in 1845.
The example of their products that crossed my desk (well, landed on it) is the Caramelized Blood Orange, covered in dark (60%) chocolate, with hazelnuts. Being somewhat of a chocolate purist, I’m often dubious about additives, but since orange and choclate are one of the classic combinations, I decided to give it a try.
It’s a 3 ounce bar, scored into eight squares, and rather flat. The hazelnuts seem to be mostly on the bottom. The chocolate surrounds a thin layer of blood orange caramel. The texture at room temperature is fairly firm, and a bite rapidly softens in the mouth, due probably to the caramel core. It’s a bit sweet, but the blend of flavors is good — the balance between orange and chocolate is just about perfect, and a reminder of why this has become a classic combination. The nuts add just a little bit of crunch, which accents the rather buttery texture of the chocolate/caramel combination.
I wound up liking this rather more than I expected. Bissinger’s website offers a chance to survey their offerings and purchase them directly. There is also a list of retailers.