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It's a widely accepted norm to adapt your diet to suit the time of year. In winter you might eat more pastas and hearty soups, in summer it might be all about the salads. What lots of people don't realise, however, is that chocolate is also worthy of consideration. Dark chocolates, chilli flavours, creamy liqueurs - those sorts of things are great for dark, cold months, but in summer you need something lighter and fresher tasting. Like a nice pastel garden.
There are four types of chocolate in the Ferrero Garden, or rather there's one type of chocolate with four different flavour variations. International as this brand is, the wrappers show pictures not words. There's a couple of coconut shells on one, some lemon slices and lime wedges on another, a strawberry and raspberry share the third and then there's something weird and mutant like on the final one. Oh, that's pistachio.
These chocolates are shaped like Ferrero Rocher, and wrapped like them too, with fluted paper cups and pretty foil wrappers. The silver, baby pink, lime green and mint green make the chocolates look summery and are eye-catching, or, to quote one of my colleagues eyeing them up with an envious tint in their eye, "Don't they look pretty?" They are unusual and based on their appearance I would happily serve them up to visitors as they look yummy and high quality, and unlike other products on the market.
I had a disappointing experience with Ferrerro Rondnoir last year, and I don't like Rocher or Raffaello, but I will admit to buying these because they looked pretty and contained Zoë-friendly flavours (plus, I was in a cheap supermarket in Germany, had a little room left in my hand luggage, and they cost under Euro3 for 16. In the UK I have seen them in post-security airport shops, and I imagine posher chocolate shops might sell them too.
These may look pretty, but they aren't easy to get into so they're not really suitable for eating on the go. The best way to describe the wrapper is if you imagine a square brimmed hat sitting on a head. Except, with these, the base wrapper goes right across the head and is totally heat sealed, not just folded over. The foil is quite hard to rip unless you choose exactly the right place. I think this is a bit of a shame since, given their low chocolate content (see below), they'd be ideal for carrying out on hot summer days.
The chocolates are shaped like a flat bottomed ball and have an almond or pistachio floating in a fruity filling encased in wafer and then rolled in meringue pieces or coconut. The meringue pieces are nice, but messy - they fall off as soon as you get into the wrapper, and I think they're there for decoration (and camouflage of an otherwise dull looking wafer ball) more than anything else.
Each of the flavours has things in common with the others. On all of them, the wafer is dry and entirely lacking in flavour. Inside this, the creamy fruit filling is runny and rather silky, and a great contrast to the texture of the wafer shell. The outer coating (normally meringue, except in the case of coconut) also adds a bit of bite, though little in the way of taste. Finally, each variety is topped off with a dot of coloured / flavoured icing to complement the individual interior.
My favourite one is the Lemon and Lime as I found it super refreshing with a clear citrus taste and a nice tang to it. Though there is an almond sliver inside, this didn't interfere with the taste on these ones.
The Pistachio one tastes quite like Marzipan...too like Marzipan, in fact. It was ok - not my favourite but, as in the other cases, the texture helps distract from the taste.
The Raspberry and Strawberry mix has a shockingly unnatural bubblegum pink runny centre but you can forgive this (especially if you close your eyes) at is had a really nice, fruity taste and is the creamiest of the centres.
The Coconut flavour seems drier than the others - perhaps because meringue pieces are replaced by coconut flakes on the outer shell. The almond sliver in these ones may be bigger (or perhaps the flavour just comes across more) but overall they still taste coconuty, like a liquidised Bounty.
So there we have....wafers, meringue pieces, fruity centres, almond slivers. The one thing clearly missing is any chocolate but perhaps tellingly, I ate half the box before I picked up on the fact that these aren't what you would call chocolates in the strictest sense (or any sense at all) but they're also not sticky sweets so I don't really know how to categorise them.
I liked these for their contrasting textures (grainy, crisp, creamy) and the runny fruity centres. They were not too sweet or sickly (perhaps balanced out by the boring dry wafer, whose one saving grace is thinness).
I would take these as a gift to someone's house because they are presented nicely in a clear lidded box which lets you see the treats inside. Alternatively, I would get them again if I was having people over and wanted something to put out with coffee or as Petit Fours. But, for day to day munching I do not think these are something I would want to choose as they are messy to eat, hard to get into, and lack that all important chocolate kick.
The website's in German, but it shows you how pretty and fresh and summery they look:
This is a review of the Sommer Sorten (summer edition): they do different mixes at different times of year, and their winter garden is nuttier than this one.