I suspected these chocolates would be good when my dog tried to grab them before I could sample them. Even through a manila envelope and padding, apparently, Baylee’s Best Chocolates are powerfully attractive to a sensitive nose.
On opening the tooth-dented box, I had to agree; these offer the slightly dusty, understated smell of really good chocolate. Unfortunately, I had no idea what I was looking at, because there was no guide on the inside lid, or anywhere else. They were all very pretty: swirls of purple, red and white; coconut sprinkled across one, others rolled in cocoa powder. One looked like a large caramel, wrapped in a twist of plastic.
Undaunted by ignorance, I plunged in, deciding to start with the top left corner and just sort of work my way through. (Diet? What diet? And dinner? I’ll pass, thanks. Ah, the rigors of reviewing food.)
Rolled in cocoa powder, the smell of the first round lump of chocolate gave nothing away but that basic fact. It turned out, not surprisingly, to be a truffle; soft interior, buttery and sweet and chocolatey and gone far too quickly overall, with the cocoa powder lingering as a nice, bitter hint that kept it from being over-sweet. Next came a thin, square wafer, with an elusive spicy smell I couldn’t quite place; that one turned out to have a slightly gritty, soft interior that left an odd bitter aftertaste, less pleasant than the cocoa powder and distinctly cinnamon-y, rather like chocolate infused with a Red-Hot. I have absolutely no idea what was in this one, but didn’t care for it too much (mainly because of the grittiness). Ah, well, I never like all the chocolates in a box….
A heart-shaped chocolate with purple and white swirls in the coating came next; this, too, had an odd spicy smell. Its white interior tasted very strongly of cinnamon (as above) and peppermint, a bizarre combination but an intriguing one. I skipped the caramel for the moment, deciding to save that for last, and picked up the only white chocolate in the collection instead. Again, the scent gave nothing away; just chocolate and white chocolate aromas here. The interior of this one was strong right from the first: a creamy intense dark chocolate with some rum flavor underneath. I could get myself in trouble eating a box of these…the white chocolate covering wouldn’t be my prime choice, but I can live with it.
I found myself really wanting to know what these chocolates were by this point, so I went to the Baylee’s Best Chocolates web site. To my disappointment, while they offer descriptions of some of their chocolates, there are no corresponding photos, so I still had no idea what I was dealing with. I hazily guessed that I had a box of their truffles in hand, but there seemed far too many different chocolates for the descriptions offered, so most likely there was a combination of the truffles and the European Line in this box. Maybe even the buttercreams. I had no way of knowing.
I also realized at this point that I simply couldn’t go through the entire box in one sitting. Not even with taking one small bite out of each chocolate. They’re extremely rich, and the aftertaste hung along the back of my throat, threatening me with dire consequences to more than just my diet if I kept going. I put the box aside to finish sampling another day, but decided I had enough for a verdict from just those few bites: stupendously good quality, odd flavor combinations, and rich enough to make one ill after a very short time.
My dog was right (as usual): this is one collection of chocolates well worth fighting over. You’ll have to order them direct, though, as Baylee’s only sells through their web site or their brick and mortar shop in Roanoke, Virginia.
Hmmm…that’s not too far away from me…road trip, anyone?
Baylee’s Best web site may be found here.