Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Who can take a sunrise, sprinkle it in dew: Cocoa Boutique, a review

Who can take a sunrise
Sprinkle it in dew
Cover it in chocolate 
and a miracle or two?
The candyman

Or should I say that Cocoa Boutique can? A couple of weeks ago they contacted me asking if I'd review their chocolate tasting box. Now, as you know I'm mid diet but I thought - what harm could a box of chocolates do? And then they arrived. Oh dear Lord, the self restraint required not to just fling myself face first into the box is legendary.

My own personal battle to develop willpower aside - I must be one of the last food bloggers in the known universe to have come across the concept of a monthly tasting box. I think it's genius, a really great way to try chocolates that you might not otherwise come across, on this occasion from three chocolatiers: Barry Colenso, Pierre Ledent and Claire Hicklin. 

The chocolates arrived simply and sturdily packed - even Royal Mail and their tendencies towards recreating football matches with my packages had failed to dint, damage or destroy this parcel of loveliness which fitted through our letterbox; a thoughtful touch. 

There was a real variety of flavours - from the banana hints (which even a chocolate dunce such as myself could pick up) within the Ecuadorian dark chocolate buttons, to some white chocolate buttons that M has given 9/10. Yes, we have scored them.  The chocolate notes - not only give you some tasting information as well as information about who made them, but the opportunity to score and send back your feedback. Being from a training background I really appreciate any system which develops excellence by building on customer feedback. 

For me, there were probably a few too many white chocolates in the selection, but that's just personal taste, and with M on hand to hoover them up we can be sure that none were going to waste. I was most excited to finally try a salted caramel, and it didn't disappoint, the salt just there increasing the flavour of the caramel ever so slightly and taking away some of the richness. 

I think my only negative about the box would be that Claire Hicklin's chocolates come under the Freefrom food banner, and as such I'm not sure if what makes them special is slightly lost being in a mixed box where cross-contamination from nut products could occur. That said, by being included in the tasting box I know who to look out for if I want to get my friend Nicki something special! 

The introductory cost of the first box has been discounted to £9.95, with subsequent boxes £19.95 which although too expensive for us to commit to would make a wonderful gift for someone you loved very, very much.

The tasting box was provided to me free for review purposes, but all opinion is my own

Photo credits to M

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