Monday, 27 January 2014

Duke of Delhi Chocolate Delhi Mix Bars

Duke of Delhi sent me a few of their chocolate bars: dark & lime, dark & coconut, milk & Indian cinnamon, milk & cardamon and vanilla chocolate to taste! The dark chocolate consisted of 60% cocoa solids and milk chocolate 34%

I loved the traditional Indian design of the chocolate, as well as the silhouette/contrasting colours on the packaging. The bombay mix gave each bite a crispy texture, and with the general smoothness of the chocolate itself it was a great contrast. Duke of Delhi definitely are unique, and with this edgy concoction I wasn't too sure how it was going to go down... but I was surprised to find that I actually really enjoyed it

The snap of the chocolate was crumbly, and didn't break along the indentations. The dark chocolate was very dark in colour and the milk was also fairly dark considering it was milk chocolate

Dark Chocolate & Lime
This chocolate had an incredibly strong aroma, distinguishable lime with subtle alcoholic hints. It was quite refreshing, but lacked a zesty kick

The spices from the bombay mix contrasted so well with the sweet lime. Bearing a more sweet flavour, the lime wasn't as acidic as you'd expect and it was the finish of this chocolate. I personally wouldn't have this chocolate again, but I'm glad I did try it; it was innovative, unique and just interesting 

Milk Chocolate & Indian Cinnamon
The cinnamon aroma was beautiful, not as sweet as you'd hope for but that was because of the bombay mix singing out with its more distinctive spices. This one was very aromatic 

Being the cinnamon devotee that I am, I must admit that I was hoping for so much more... I wanted the flavour to be more intricate. If this one was dark chocolate I think it would have been finer. But, cinnamon and chocolate is a genius concoction

Dark Chocolate & Toasted Coconut
The aroma was slightly perfumed with the coconut remaining subtle but it definitely was there. The flavour wasn't as bold as the lime, but I was glad as it made for a more relaxed, delicate chocolate

After trying Duke of Delhi's milk chocolate, I was glad that this coconut flavouring was paired with the dark chocolate. As I just thought that the dark chocolate had a superior taste compared to the milk, probably because of the bombay mix playing a big role

The bombay mix and dark chocolate did overpower the toasted coconut, but not in a bad way. The coconut tasted natural, and if it was to be more prominent it could have almost seemed artificial. I liked this one

Milk Chocolate, Cardamom & Vanilla 
The aroma of cardamom is prominent. Same went for the taste. This without a doubt needs an acquired taste, so I could understand why many people may not enjoy it. But I liked it. Due to its bold flavour I think this was my favourite one out of the four. For some reason, I had a better experience with the milk chocolate this time compared to the cinnamon chocolate... no idea why, but it was lovely getting the undertone of the milk chocolate at random bursts, as the cardamom was the main attraction

I loved the dark chocolate because of the deep, rich and intense experience it had. But the balance, in all, with the contrasting flavour fusions were just spot on. The melt enhanced those distinctive flavours

Monday, 20 January 2014

House of Dorchester Caramel Collection

I was very kindly sent this caramel collection box by House of Dorchester. Now, I absolutely LOVE caramel and chocolate together so I was excited to see what HoD had to offer

The packaging was very cute, each chocolate being placed in a black petit four case which made it look more artisanal; very nice touch. As they were all hand finished, I liked how each chocolate wasn't identical. House of Dorchester work with Barry Callebaut's QPP  sourced cocoa beans

Hard Caramel
A 70% dark chocolate coating. The caramel was very hard, and had a light nuttiness, possibly brazil nut. The chocolate coating broke away from the caramel too easily when bitten into, whereas I'd prefer the chocolate and caramel to stay together in each bite. The caramel started to soften up, the darkness of the chocolate began to fade and a sweetness grew; it was a magnificent journey. This was my favourite within the selection!

Chewy Caramel 
The crumbled fudge on top hadn't much flavour which could be due to it infusing all the other scents. The chocolate caramel filling was very smooth. The milk chocolate coating was of 30% and the overall flavour was very chocolatey. I liked it but the bite and feel of this chewy caramel was a little too soft for me

Fudgy Caramel
The fudge itself was very sweet smelling. I liked the grainy texture as it reminded me of real fresh fudge. However, I much prefer my fudge smooth, soft and buttery. The sweetness was pleasant but I wish I didn't leave this chocolate 'til last... because there was a slight unpleasant vanilla aftertaste and I would have much preferred to have been left with a dark cocoa flavour. Although I did enjoy this chocolate, I think the fudge and caramel filling was a little too sweet for a white chocolate

Overall, this collection of caramels definitely did not disappoint. I really enjoyed it, however a runny caramel is what I was missing. I still loved the selection and i'd advise you to eat it going from white to dark

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Green & Black's Mint

image: Tesco
The pungent mint aroma was far from overwhelming and rather beautiful. The subtle darkness of the cocoa really complemented the mint (& vice versa)

This chocolate wasn't as dynamic as it could have been but the peppermint oil did have a fresh, cool and potent flavour. It wasn't bitter, nor was it as dark tasting as the Burnt Toffee, both of 60% cocoa solids. Once you get into the depth of the melt it opens up an undeniable sweetness. Peppermint flowers naturally have lots of nectar, so it almost felt as if there should have been notes of honey in there (i'm only saying that because of bees collecting nectar to make into honey), this just my arbitrary thought

The texture of the melt, like all Green & Black's chocolate, was slightly disappointing. That's the only thing that really let down this chocolate, otherwise I really enjoyed it

I would never go out of my way to have a mint chocolate, but I'm glad I did with this Green & Black's as it reminded me of my love for mint. I have my own mint bush that comes alive in spring

Again, the use of Fairtrade and organic ingredients makes me highly praise Green & Black's chocolate

Friday, 17 January 2014

Green & Black's Burnt Toffee

image credit G&B
I was immediately drawn to the purple packaging and the name: Burnt Toffee. The gold shiny lettering was also very appealing. The 60% cocoa suggested that I wasn't going to have an overly bitter experience and in fact, it was very sweet

Although it's not noted on the packaging, Green & Black's use organic Trinitario beans. This chocolate being Fairtrade and for all the ingredients to be organic made me appreciate it that little bit more

On the back packaging, Green & Black's refer to the dark chocolate as "smooth"; however, I have to disagree. I always find Green & Black's chocolate fails to have a smooth melting texture, and that to me is a real let down. The chocolate is too thick for me and almost impossible to snap 

The toffee pieces within certainly were attractive, like golden nuggets in hiding. The aroma was fairly spicy. The dark and deep smell intrigued me as I had no idea what to expect in taste

The pairing of burnt toffee and dark chocolate sounds very deluxe, but how does the taste compare? Oh so very well. The sweet toffee pieces complemented the fruity toned dark chocolate. The texture when biting was satisfying, but I much prefer to be able to just let my chocolate melt in my mouth, and like I said before, Green & Black's melt disappoints me. However, when you do leave it to melt, you're left with the toffee pieces which then allows you to have a pleasant crunch. The taste of that Yorkshire butterscotch was richer and darker (due to the touch of molasses) than standard toffee and it was beaaaaautiful 

The flavours were on point, but I'd love Green & Black's to work on their textures

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Asda's Extra Special Belgian Marc de Champagne Truffles

Winning a confectionary Own Label Award: Asda's Extra Special Belgian Marc de Champagne Truffles

This specific packaging design is fairly popular with other supermarkets too when selling their own speciality truffles. Inside was a light purple tissue paper placed on top of a golden coloured bag which carried the truffles

The Marc de Champagne was surprisingly strong. It possibly tasted as strong as it did due to it being milk chocolate rather than dark, so initially it's lacking the intensity of cocoa to focus on the alcohol
I was not so keen on the teardrop appearance of the truffles. A harder coating of chocolate would have been more interesting, as I found the coating and ganache filling to merge together. I must admit that at first I did not like these truffles. That may have been because I hadn't cleansed my palate as when returning to these chocolates just days later, I found the taste to be much more enjoyable. I found them easy to eat and they weren't messy. I found myself eating them one after another

At £2 these truffles are certainly worth it. I'm surprised that they were only £2... I think Asda could definitely get away with raising up the price, but of course I'd never encourage that. I felt the quality of the milk chocolate was something to brag about (from Asda's perspective), as I absolutely loved letting the truffle melt on the tongue. It had a lovely smooth texture as well as tasting great

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Lindt Excellence A Touch of Sea Salt

I'm ashamed to say it, but this was my first time trying salt in chocolate

Lindt's salted dark chocolate was of 47% cocoa solids with a minuscule 0.3% fleur de sel (sea salt)

I love Lindt Excellence's cardboard sleeve packaging and the design upon it. The contrast of dark colours against the white looks sharp, elegant and impressive

This dark chocolate wasn't as intense as some of the Lindt Excellence chocolates, i.e. 70-99%. I liked the fact that it was only of 47% as it could do wonders for a sweet craving without having to revert to milk chocolate. However, butterfat being enlisted on the ingredients may make this a milk chocolate

The aroma wasn't as potent as the higher cocoa percentages of Lindt. This wasn't necessarily a bad thing, but I much prefer my chocolate to have an intense and intricate aroma to allow for a dynamic experience (as they say you taste predominately with your nose)

The salt crystals within accumulate and accentuate the sweetness of the chocolate allowing itself (the salt) to delicately come through, resulting in a subtle savouriness against a dominating sweetness. When taking the first bite I didn't notice the salt, but then it softly touched me quite suddenly. The feel of the crystals were what really made this chocolate live up to Lindt's prestige. The best way to experience the salt crystal texture is by allowing the chocolate to melt slightly (or completely), and feel them with your tongue and then bite

Overall, the salt flavour wasn't as clear cut and defined as I was expecting, but the chocolate resulted in a flavour that was delightfully enhanced by the sea salt which I really enjoyed. This bar was certainly made sweeter by the touches of salt. I would recommend this bar for sure! However, i'm not completely satisfied that this bar is dark chocolate, with that butterfat included... but never mind, I liked it nonetheless

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Forever Cacao 72% and 80%

Forever Cacao - stone-ground, single origin, handmade raw chocolate. The Wales based chocolate company produce Artisan chocolate made from just 3 organic ingredients 

I loved the simplistic, rustic feel of the packaging: the brown paper, printed black ink logo and the foil wrapping the chocolate

The 72% - 'Organic Criollo Raw Cacao Nibs, Organic Coconut Palm Sugar, Organic Cacao Butter'

The chocolate was of a dark ebony colour with a matte finish. A beautifully deep aroma with roasted coffee notes. The taste was a prominent sweet red pepper with hints of blueberry and smokey, earthy undertones. The melt was completely smooth; as I read 'stone-ground' I was expecting a coarse texture... 

A distinct flavour of pepper lingers for many minutes, a superb finish

The 80% - 'Organic Criollo Raw Cacao Liquor, Organic Coconut Palm Sugar, Organic Cacao Butter, Ecotribal Coffee'

On the bottom of this chocolate was finely ground coffee. The higher cocoa content, for me, didn't make it taste any more bitter than the 72% just a little less sweet. The coffee achieved an elegant deep flavour but not as potent as I was expecting. The ground coffee would get left behind on the tongue

I preferred the appearance of the 80%, not too sure as to why they were different. The 80% chocolate had a red tint and a smoother, glossier appearance compared to the 72%

Forever Cacao obtain their Criollo cocoa beans from the Satipo region of Peru, then combine it with coconut palm sugar to make a sensational chocolate experience

I absolutely loved these chocolates; a distinct high quality cocoa

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Charbonnel et Walker Dark Marc de Champagne Truffles

I received these Charbonnel et Walker Dark Marc de Champagne Truffles as a Christmas gift. The fancy packaging is very traditional and distinct of Charbonnel, "Purveyors of fine English chocolates since 1875" parading their prominence... especially with the gold embossed font

When opening the packaging I was greeted with a fine alcoholic aroma and 8 truffles! They were far from small, but only having 8 suggested quality over quantity

Each truffle looked and smelt luxurious in their petit four cases. The perfectly spherical truffles were lightly dusted with cocoa powder. I loved the hard chocolate coating contrast with the truffle filling. The coating had a nice thickness too however that made it a little challenging to eat. The ganache filling was creamy, smooth and not as dark as I was expecting which was a nice surprise

The dark chocolate was of 77% cocoa solids. The ingredients of these truffles were quite minimal (to an extent) which was reassuring of the quality, but also I saw that a little white rum was infused into them

Overall, the taste of the Marc de Champagne is subtle, dominated by the dark chocolate. The aroma, on the other hand, was a lot louder when it came to the alcohol which paired superbly with the high cocoa content

My favourite thing about these truffles would be the feel of the bite. Also, the fact that the added flavours (Marc de Champagne, vanilla & white rum) didn't give an artificial taste