Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Chompin' the Chocolates...

Today's tasters were a trial not always full of successes I'm afraid. We started with a Crème Brulee. This was a sugar crystal coated ball of pale milk chocolate - quite tough to bite through, but rewarding as the centre was firm and sweet, a custardy texture similar to a white chocolate ganache but with a delicious eggy vanilla smoothness. It's a lovely contrast of textures as the centre is firm enough to give your tongue a sensually creamy challenge and the chocolate is gritty with sugar crystals. Very very nice. "really nice".

The second one I was completely stumped by. I forgot what it was. It was brown with a gold fleck in the middle, but that's not much help - and neither was the lack of smell. I know my sense of smell is lousy, but even His Lordship couldn't tell what it was. My sense of smell is appalling, as you all know, though my sense of taste and mouthfeel is refined!. This is why I get His Lordship to smell things properly for me, and his opinions.

Apparently it wasn't me though - this chocolate literally didn't smell of much. It's a shame because the scent of a chocolate gives you a sensation of... anticipation. The scent is a guide to the filling, and I couldn't tell what it was without biting into it - which is no good if you want to give it to someone else. Thankfully I buy two of each! Turns out it was banoffee. The base of the centre was very creme deluche, all caramelly condensed milk taste, topped with a milkshakey banana mousse. Definitely what it says on the tin, and another success.

Next comes an orange mousse. It has a cute candied orange"slice", but sadly (and oddly, considering that's an actual slice of orange) lacking in scent again. It's a large, visually possessing chocolate - a big, white chunk of a cube, with a sweet, very sweet, white coating. The centre of this one is very much like a brownie:-the squidgy middle bit and is very heavy. It's lightly flavoured with orange oil, though I'd consider this more of a "fancy" than a chocolate due to its size. It's very rich, one to be melted in the mouth rather than chewed through if you want to enjoy the orange flavour - but the texture and humungosity makes you impatient and NEED to chew it. "It's like 4 chocolates wedged together - just tooo much of it. Oh, how weird; it doesn't go well with orange juice."

I remembered what the fourth was: a lime caramel. All I can smell is sweet, but then that's been the case on all of these chocolates so far. I deferred to His Lordship's much more sensetive sense of smell, but all He picks up is "Cocoa. That's allI get. Cocoa."

Which I guess is a good thing, as it's fine quality chocolate, but as previously mentioned, it's nice to have a precursor to the main course - an amuse nez, if you will. I was hoping for a sour/sweet ZING, but they've gone for oil rather than juice, and once you bite through the bitter, salty thin shell, you encounter an artificial lime flavour, like eating a solidified mojito. It's an acrid, side of tongue bitterness a little bit like caramelised washing up liquid - sorry, but it's just not very nice at all. The white cap softens the initial blow of the lime and I'd suggest the whole thing should have been made of white chocolate and a mousse rather than a caramel. Don't get me wrong, the caramel texture is GREAT and I would like to see the caramel used in other chocs. Just... without the lime.

Finally came the champagne truffle - coated with a heavy white dome shell, it was tough to "pop". However, this was satisfying and rewarding as the shell was delicious and chunky. The centre was almost chewy, like a warmed-up dark chocolate fudge. It was very dense, quite powerful and a little gritty. "Interesting". I'd have preferred a lighter truffle, and certainly a milk version than dark as it was a touch too intense for my tastes with the champagne flavouring. (please bear in mind I like 90% cacao). I also want to know where the champ comes from - some background information would have been nice. The story of the chocolate as it were, instead of just a whoof of alcohol flavour.

Final thoughts: Meh. These ones were ok, but they could do with some improvements. I wish people wouldn't make washing up liquid flavour sweets - they have so much potential, and then taste horrific.

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