You’ll know, if you’ve been reading the blog for a while, that I am something of a slave to chocolate; so much so that early this year I instituted a voluntary ban which I continued for a while. Inevitably though, I was lured – lured I say – back to the chocolate loveliness, so imagine my joy on being asked to try not only a collection of chocolate, but a collection of handmade, good quality artisan chocolates that are delivered to you through the post.
Nottingham-based Cocoa Boutique launched just last month and promises to deliver the finest hand-finished artisan chocolates once a month (or to your schedule which you can set on the website) for club members to try. After tasting, members can then leave feedback, either online or using the postal form enclosed with the chocolates, to help guide what goes into subsequent boxes.
Inside the pretty (for a postage box) outer packaging, the Tasting Box that came to me looked like this:
And then I opened it and heaven lay within…
Go on – click it and make it bigger, I dare you! This is one of those occasions where I wish the Internet had smellevision or something because the box just smelled delicious!
This particular box contained chocolates made by Barry Colenso, formerly Chef Patissier at the Savoy hotel, Pierre Ledent, who is Belgian, so obviously automatically more qualified than the rest of us, and Claire Hicklin who is a Chocolatier to watch in 2012. The box also had a sample section which included coffee beans in dark chocolate, honeycomb in milk chocolate and Ecuador Dark chocolate buttons.
The box itself arrived very securely wrapped and fit right through the letterbox, so no soggy chocolates on rainy days; not even one chocolate was battered or bruised – as you can see above. The introductory information and tasting leaflet were very clear about the source of each chocolate and what was then expected of you i.e. score the chocolates honestly.
My favourites out of this particular box were the dainty Dark Chocolate Salted Caramels and the Rum Cafe Cream and Mr W agreed with me on the caramels, but his favourite was the Vanilla Irish Cream – considering that we both rarely drink, we both do seem to like the boozy chocolates!
At £19.95 per month, the service is by no means cheap, but having said that, considering that the chocolates are handmade and clearly of excellent quality it’s really up to you to judge whether that’s worth it – for the perennial chocoholic it’s a big fat yes.
Note: I was supplied with a tasting box to try, but the opinions – and uncontrolled love of chocolate and all it’s workings – are entirely mine.