Fine gourmet chocolates made by Godiva Chocolatier. These are some of the tastiest (and most commercially-successful) bon-bons made, with deliciously smooth chocolate in a variety of shapes, packaged in richly decorated gold foil boxes. If you want to please that special chocolate-loving someone, you usually won't go wrong with a gift of Godiva (unless they are a real chocolate snob).

Joseph Draps, a chocolatier in Brussels, Belgium, opened a shop there in 1926 and named it after Lady Godiva, the Lady of Coventry who, according to legend, rode naked through town on horseback in about 1057 on a bet with her Lord, so that he would lessen the tax burden on the populace.

Mr. Draps devised a formula that resulted in extremely smooth chocolate, and started Godiva's tradition of elegant molded shapes and beautiful packaging. Godiva chocolates became known throughout Europe as some of the best luxury chocolates available.

Godiva chocolates were first sold in department stores in the United States in 1966. Godiva opened its own chocolate boutique in New York City in 1972. In about 1976, my dad got a gift box of Godiva chocolates from a business associate for Christmas. To this day, it remains the most awesome box of chocolates I have ever laid my eyes on (or been allowed to sample!) This thing was four layers thick, with about 30 chocolates on each layer. Each layer was different, and they was a little map on the lid that told you what everything was. On the cover, embossed in gold foil, was a depiction of the beatiful and naked Lady Godiva, her embarassing bits discreetly covered by her long flowing hair.

Today, Godiva chocolates are available in just about every department store in the US. They also manufacture a chocolate liqueur, and a line of extremely rich and delicious ice creams in the following six flavors: Pecan Caramel Truffle, White Chocolate Rasberry, White Chocolate Macadamia Toffee, Belgian Dark Chocolate, Chocolate Raspberry Truffle (vivid's favorite!) and Chocolate Hazelnut Truffle.

Godiva Chocolatier is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Campbell Soup Company. While this may not say much about the actual product, as seemingly almost all companies are owned by some other larger company, many chocophiles consider Godiva chocolates to be decidedly not worth the price. Godiva chocolates are not made from proper gourmet ingredients, but are priced in the "prestiege" or "gourmet" markets, which makes them, in my opinion and in others' opinions, to be a poor value. I consider Lindt truffles to be a much better deal, but they're not exactly stellar either. Comparing US$10 per pound for Lindt chocolates to US$35 for Godiva chocolates can be tricky given the different marketing of the two products, but they are made from very similar ingredients, and compared to proper gourmet chocolate, they're about at the same quality level.

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As an addendum to this writeup, I will advise the viewing public that while Godiva chocolates aren't really worth the money at normal price, if you can get them at 50% off after certain holidays, they're quite tasty. Do not, however, eat a half a pound of them in an evening, as I recently did while depressed. You will be more depressed in the morning when you find out what it'll do to your digestive system.

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