Duc d'O is a silly name for a chocolate company. I mean, how do you even pronounce it? I always think it must be akin to Duck d'Eau, which is an even sillier name for a chocolate company. I've seen these in many a shop, but having tried them once years ago and decided in my mind they were cheap and nasty chocs, I never gave them a second glance. However, one day at work I decided to shun the widely accepted notion that lunch is for wimps, and went shopping. To the Co-op. I know how to live it up, I do. These were on the end-of-lines shelf and the dazzling 50p sticker momentarily caused me to forget what I knew, and bung them in my basket.
The box has 18 chocolates in, and with 9 different sorts you get two of each. Inside the cardboard the chocolates are handily split into two matching plastic pallets, so for example if you wanted to start eating but make sure you kept one of each for review writing purposes you're sorted.
The chocolates are rather small - that's why you get 18 in a pack the size of a pencil case which weighs in at 100g (the same as a single bar of Milka). And, they are rather strangely designed, giving the impression the chocoltaier took their inspiration from the Auto Shapes feature on Word. There are cubes, cuboids, hearts, pyramids, all barely bigger than my thumb nail. These are bite-sized chocs personified. But do the best things really come in small packages?
Some of the chocs are two toned but still predominantly one type of chocolate, and fall into one of the three categories below:
There are 5 chocolates in this section, one of which boasts a white chocolate top and one a dark chocolate one. They might all look different (we have a heart, a flower, and what looks like a coat of arms, among others) but according to the insert they should taste pretty similar, since they are:
- Praline nougat (white topped)
- Praline nougat (dark topped)
- Crispy nougat
- Crispy truffle cream
- Vanilla truffle
The interesting bit was that they didn't quite match up, even with those vague descriptions. Both the praline nougats, for example, had crispy bits in, which from the descriptions given, you wouldn't expect. They did taste slightly different, though: while it was hard to pick up what the white chocolate added to the flavour, the thin layer of dark on the other one packed a surprisingly bitter punch which was quite unexpected given that it was predominantly a milk chocolate. I thought the crispy truffle cream lacked crisp, but ignoring this it was quite nice, with a smooth truffle centre that wasn't too rich. The vanilla truffle was also pleasing, though the vanilla flavour was only slight and it tasted more like a cream centre than anything else. None of the chocolates were very rich, though this would have hardly mattered given their miniature size.
There are only two chocolates that are predominantly white chocolate, and one of these has a dark chocolate disk on top. Again, there's some repetition:
- Praline nougat (white topped)
- Mocha praline truffle
The praline nougat had the now anticipated crispy bits in but was nice and the dark chocolate top didn't seem quite so bitter now it was set against a white chocolate body. I don't like coffee flavours, so was never going to like the other chocolate, but tried it anyway. It had a distinct coffee taste and seemed ok for what it was. It's perhaps unusual to have white chocolate that's coffee flavoured, so mocha fans might like this.
If you've been doing the maths, you'll have worked out that the remaining 2 chocolates must be dark chocolate. You've probably also deduced that the flavours of these two might be similar, and you'd be right.
- Pistachio truffle
- Mocha praline truffle
The pistachio tasted rather randomly of marzipan, something I dislike, and the mocha tasted, well, like the previous one, so this was a section I didn't rate too highly, but that's a personal preference and not down to the quality of the chocolates per se.
Having said that...I don't think these are high quality chocs. They taste and look a bit cheap, and prove the point that just because something says "Finest Belgian Quality" doesn't mean it is in the slightest. In fact, much like all those "Luxury Hotels" which never are, it seems if you go out of your way to label yourself as something like that, you're probably not.
These chocolates are hard to rate. For the price (50p, or even when at full price - about £1.50) they're not all that unbelievably bad. You can eat the whole lot in one go for an estimated 520 calories (interestingly there is not a scrap of nutritional info on the box) and because they're so small, you wouldn't feel as sick as you might after 18 proper sized chocs. At the same time, there's too much repetition for my liking. They're something of a cross between a normal selection and something like Guylian seashells where you only get one thing, but it's a good un'. I would like a little more variety - maybe an orange or a mint centre, or even a pure chocolate cube with no truffle centre.
I might buy these again if they were super cheap, but wouldn't want to give them as a gift. The packaging is not too bad, but knowing what they taste like, I wouldn't want any of my friends or family to think I thought these were a high quality and appropriate gift to give. For day to day chocolate eating you can buy a simple bar. Boxes such as this are supposed to be for when you want more of a treat, or for a special occasion when you want something a bit more luxurious. Unfortunately, this brand is far from a luxury one, and therefore fails on that rather simple criteria for boxed chocolates.