Well, this is my 100th post!!! I know usually people do giveaways for these kind of posts, but being the selfish brat that I am, I decided to indulge myself by accepting a box of luxury chocolates to review from the newly established Cocoa Boutique! (sorry loyal readers... but there is an opportunity to get a free box for yourself though, see the bottom of the post for details!)
Cocoa Boutique is an artisan chocolate tasting club, where after purchasing an initial 'introductory selection' box of chocolates, you can then have boxes of chocolates dropping through your letterbox on a monthly basis, for £19.95 per month. And they really are just the right size for your letter box, so no need for screams of dismay when you get home from work desperate for a chocolate fix to find a 'sorry we missed you' card telling you that your chocs are at the sorting office which closed half an hour ago. Each month you will get a different selection, all of which have been hand picked and taste tested for you.
I liked the design and packaging of the box, which definitely gave the chocolates a luxury feel. They also looked mouth watering! The chocolates are created by award winning chocolatiers and my box included chocolates from Pierre Ledent, Claire Hicklin and Barry Colenso - who also had a hand in making William and Kate's wedding cake! There was a good selection of chocolates, and I was really happy with the balance and variety in the box - milk, white and dark chocolates were evenly represented and there was a good mix of types of chocolate - creams and truffles plus more simple options like plain buttons, honeycomb, caramels and coffee beans.
My favourites were:
Rum Cafe Cream: this felt like a grown up version of the old Roses coffee creams (which were my favourites, why did they have to get rid of them?!).
Raspberry with a hint of orange: a very unique (I think?) and very delicious combination.
Vanilla Irish Cream: Smooth, light and creamy.
Cocoa dusted dark chocolate salted caramels: possibly my favourite out of the box, the caramel was rich and runny with just enough salt to give it that distinctive tang.
Mike also enjoyed the Pink champagne truffle and the White strawberry cream and we felt these were definitely the prettiest looking ones (oh yes he goes for the 'man chocolates'!) - I loved the pink, slightly glittery hue on the white strawberry cream and the petal-like effect of the raspberries on the champagne truffle.
A slight complaint was that there was some definite 'cross contamination' between flavours - the coffee beans were so strong that you could taste the coffee in the chocolate honeycomb next to them, the white chocolate buttons had a slight orange tinge and Mike felt like he could taste brandy in the milk chocolate truffles. I guess this is perhaps unavoidable where you have a selection box that includes strong flavours.
To be honest, another negative would be the price. At £34.95 for the introductory box and £19.95 a month thereafter, to me these chocolates are pricey and you would really need to love your chocolate to justify paying this. It is worth noting though that you don't have to have them monthly - you can choose how often you receive your chocolates.
The chocolates are clearly excellent quality and there are some extra touches such as the range of chocolates, packaging and the information you receive with the box that give them an exclusive feel and go some way to justifying the price tag. Having said that, these are probably chocolates I would be happy to give or receive as a gift for special occasions rather than sign up for, but if a chocolate tasting club is your thing then I don't think you'd be disappointed with the quality of these chocolates.
At the moment the 'introductory selection' is available at a special
launch price of £9.95 - to take advantage of this offer, go here and the discount will be automatically applied - there's no obligation to continue with the monthly chocolates. You can also be in with a chance of getting your mitts on some free chocolates by entering this competition to receive a box to taste test. Details are here and entry closes on 31st October 2012.
Normal cake related service to resume shortly!