While visiting downtown Fredericksburg, VA, we discovered a chocolate shop called The Frenchman’s Corner and met Tami, the owner of the shop along with her husband. Tami was like a ray of sunshine during the downpour of rain that hit Fredericksburg! We had a lovely chat hearing about how the shop used to solely sell Neuhaus chocolates under the previous owner, then Tami and her husband took over in October 2015 and have the dream that their shop will grow in size and in variety of what they sell. At the time of our visit, Tami was selling Moonstruck chocolates next to Ghyslain and Neuhaus chocolates. She also offered coffee and several baked goods including macaroons that she made herself. In the future, she wants to make freshly prepared desserts for customers while selling chocolate. A visit to Italy was what started her passion for chocolate when she saw Disney scenes recreated using the sweet stuff. Tami has a great desire to connect with and help sell chocolates from local chocolate makers and chocolatiers 🙂
Of course while we were there, we had to bring some chocolates home! I asked Tami what she suggested we try.
Viola – ganache flavored with violets and decorated with crystallized violets from Toulouse
This bonbon definitely smelled floral! It was kind of hard for me to bite into it at first because of the candied violets. The floral flavors were pretty strong, like lavender in dark chocolate, but the dark chocolate ganache helped mellow it out. I hadn’t had a chocolate with violets before!
Bonbon 13 – hazelnut ganache with rum
I smelled more rum than hazelnut. Flavor-wise, the rum overpowered the hazelnut at first, but at the end of my bite the hazelnut started to peek out more and lingered in the aftertaste.
I could definitely smell the whiskey once the bonbon was unwrapped! The first bite in consisted of a very viscous filling that almost dripped all over me, and a layer of crunchy filling with the immediate smack-in-your-face of whiskey flavor. The whiskey hung around the entire time in my bite and mellowed out toward the end.
Cornet crunch – hazelnut gianduja with pieces of hazelnut
This was basically the ganache filling of Ferrero Rocher doubled in size and with little bits of hazelnut inside. I’m not complaining. I liked it 🙂 It also reminded me of an ice cream cone in appearance.
Mango… something? I had written it down and then lost the description, sadly 😦
It definitely smelled like mangos and the crunchy bits on top were made up of dried mangos. The filling consisted of two layers. One layer of creamy with an almost lemon meringue-like flavoring to it. The bottom layer of the filling was of a smooth dark chocolate ganache. Maybe this was like mango and cream? It’s good and I would definitely get another 🙂
Désir – nougat filled with a dark intense chocolate from Peru
This smelled a bit earthy and nutty. Beneath the surface was a layer of chewy, caramel colored stuff, with dark chocolate ganache inside of that layer. I was expecting all dark chocolate with a dark chocolate ganache, so that lighter colored layer threw me off.
Rigolett0 – Milk chocolate filled with creme fraiche
This definitely smelled creamy and reminded me of those cream filled Kinder bars 🙂 The inside had a consistency like a very soft marshmallow, but better because it immediately melted and left vanilla flavors behind. I really liked the puffy consistency of this bonbon!
I could smell pumpkin spices from the bonbon before biting into it. After crunching through the hard shell, my mouth was filled with dark chocolate ganache filling with pumpkin spices mixed in. I’m already in the mood for fall, so this bonbon was perfect for anticipating the changing of the seasons 🙂
Milk chocolate with butter caramel and toasted pistachio
I could smell nuttiness and buttery scents. For some reason the warmth of the scent combination reminded me of Christmas. I liked the combo of the chewiness of the caramel and light crunchiness of the pistachio. Overall I tasted more of the nutty flavor from the pistachios than anything else.
This smelled like pistachios and tasted strongly like pistachios with a little extra bite of saltiness. There were some savory notes and some fruitiness like raisins as well. The fruitiness lingered in the aftertaste.
Maple walnut butterfly
I could smell the maple from this bonbon and my first bite in was crunchy. The filling inside looked a little sticky as though some kind of ganache was made with the maple and the walnuts were broken down into very tiny pieces. My mouth exploded with maple and walnut flavors. The texture reminded me of marzipan.
Key lime butterfly
The lime scent was very, very light. When I bit into the bonbon, I was surprised by some crunchiness on the bottom lay of the bonbon. The key lime filling was very, very light in flavor. It wasn’t overpowering at all compared to other key lime bonbons I’ve tried in the past. I was actually able to taste the dark chocolate, which seemed a little woody to me for some reason.
Milk chocolate butter caramel and toasted cashews
Like the green turtle, I could smell buttery and nutty flavors. This time the caramel seemed a bit salty and crunchy while the cashew barely gave a crunch and kind of just hung out in the background. The caramel lingered in the aftertaste.
Rum orange heart
I could barely smell the rum from this bonbon. My first bite in and again I was surprised by some crunchiness this time in the top layer of the bonbon. The filling was gooey and more viscous. I was able to taste more orange flavor in the filling than rum at first, but the rum lingered in the aftertaste. I’m not sure what the crunchiness was.
The viola bonbon by Neuhaus was definitely different for me since I hadn’t had chocolate with violet flavoring before. My top favorite Neuhaus chocolate was actually the Rigoletto because of it’s consistency, and the my favorite Ghyslain chocolate was the pumpkin one because I love pumpkin spice everything.
If you’re passing through Virginia and you know Fredericksburg is on the way, stop by and show some support for Tami! Maybe by then her store will have grown 🙂 And since The Frenchman’s Corner is in the downtown part of Fredericksburg, stop by local restaurants and shops to support local businesses!
Neuhaus: Made in Belgium
Ghyslain: Made in Union City, IN