Thursday, 28 April 2011

Sweet Treats!

Found a tiny chocolatiere's hidden inside a florists today - literally a wee little counter hidden amongst the roses and ribbons. They've got a surprisingly large range in from Belgium, though I'm told this is only a small selection as they've used a lot of space for the Easter treats. I'm looking forwards to seeing the rest of the collection in that case.

So, as follows, here's the review on some of the chocolates we tried, with more to come later as we sample the rest as they come in stock. Note: I should have thought to take pictures before we ate them. Whoops. I've drawn them instead!

The sticky toffee pyramid looks great. It's big, bold and chunky; a milk chocolate pyramid with stripes of white marbling. The chocolate is very sweet, clearly high grade with a slight burnt caramel flavour as you bite into the centre... though the texture of this is delightful. I had expected something with a rolo caramel aspect, but it's definitely more of a ganache - like a thick, slightly caramelly cream. "Like a cold version of a toffee that's been left in the sun. But with a LOT of vanilla." He's right, as there's a LOT of vanilla kick - an early alcoholic burn texture that I'm not sure what to make of. It distracts from what it's meant to be as the chocolate has more toffee flavour than the centre. I wouldn't kick it out, but it's been mis-marketed. "Vanilla volcano" would have been a genius name for it.

And yes, it's much more accurate as it's got that heavy milk chocolate shell, it's a BIG pyramid with white marbling running around the outside - looks like molten vanilla lava!

The Apricot Creme Fraiche had a similar problem with the flavour being lost somewhere - it was perfumed with apricot rather than flavoured I found but, again, the centre was fantastic. It had a silky-milky, creamy texture and the shell had a satisfying "pop!" thanks to the layers of dark chocolate. That was sweet, dark, smooth and refined. His Lordship was disappointed by the subtle flavour: "not poncey enough to think such things like 'scented'. But then again I'm not about to spit it out - that's my man-review of it". The only aftertaste is of sweet dark cocoa - but not at all powdery.

The cherry cup smells very dark. It looks fabulous with a shiny, dark chocolate cup, and a fleck of gold leaf in the middle of the deep, dark red cap. Initially it has a harsh dark taste, bordering on bitter, though I suspect the cap to be coloured white choc - it's a little floury. The core begins with a subtle scent, a slight coarseness to ganache (which was nice!) - and then a well rounded cherry comes storming in a bit late and settles into cherry brandy finish. It's a bit intense - in fact I'd say it was sulking! His Lordship isn't keen because it's a "bit too much" and again, I have to agree with him, because I'd like to see a summer version of this; something lighter, perhaps milk chocolate based with a slightly sour, sweet and perky cherry flavour.

The orange cup surprised me, as there's no scent at all through the chocolate shell. The orange flavour in the shell is late and short, like a bad date - I want something subtle but longer lasting, especially as the candied orange peel in the dark chocolate cap gave it a nice sweet orange flash... But then, sadly, it's quickly overwhelmed by the darkness, like a match struck at midnight, which is a bit of a shame.

But hang on a minute - the middle is AWESOME! It's a thick, truffly smoothness with a fantastic powerful orangy blast leaving a citrussy tingle in the centre! It's a lot like the orangey bit in the middle of a Jaffa Cake, but with chocolate already added. My suggestion for improvement would be to go for a thinner dark chocolate shell and cap, line it with a strong, sharp orange sugar crystal layer for crunch and a whoosh of flavour - something to emphasise and add a little texture and excitement to that MAGNIFICENT truffle centre with perhaps a teeny touch of popping candy... That centre is stunning, but the shell needs to come up to the same standard I'm afraid.

I also got a loyalty card - fill it five times and get a free box of chocolates. I think that should be easy!

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