Whenever you need to find a Christmas gift for that awkward-to-buy-for person, chocolates are the obvious solution. It's too easy to just grab a tin of the usual chocolates off the shelves in the supermarket without a second's thought though. If you want to show that you really care, you have to find a lesser-known brand of seriously gourmet chocolates. House of Dorchester fits the bill nicely.
They're labelled as luxury chocolates but unfortunately that's a word that has been so over-used by marketing agencies that it doesn't really mean anything any more. You even get luxury tissues and toilet rolls for goodness sake ! These chocolates really do ooze luxury and decadence though and I had no qualms at all about keeping them well out of sight of the kids - these ones were to be seriously enjoyed and drooled over just by the grown-ups !
You may think that's mean - after all, they're more than happy to share their half-melted chocolate buttons and fluff-covered Smarties with mummy and daddy ! - but just listen to this description and all will become clear. "A deliciously decadent collection, the new tin has two layers of eight hand-crafted milk, white and dark chocolates, including a Praline Bouchee, Pistachio Mousse, Raspberry Caramel and Marc de Champagne Truffle. House of Dorchester has over 40 years of Dorset chocolatiering skill and experience and this is poured into each and every one of its chocolate creations." Yummm I'm salivating already ! Pass the tin, quick !
The great thing about there being two of each is that there is no squabbling over who gets which flavour when you sit down and generously agree to share them with your partner ! You can also have a romantic tasting session in front of the telly (that's about as romantic as it gets in our house, I'm afraid !), sampling the same chocolate at the same time and comparing notes (or probably just noises, because apart from "hmmmmm" and "yummmm" and "oh yessss", we didn't actually say much. And I just want to confirm, the romance was only limited to the chocolate-sharing - forget When Harry Met Sally-type remakes !)
Believe it or not, the champagne truffle wasn't my favourite (although it was very nice). I love some of the more exotic, really unusual flavours that they use in their chocolates. As they explain, "Christmas for us, started in January this year and since then our team of master chocolatiers has been working incredibly hard to create our Christmas chocolates. Our new tin combines classic award-winning recipes such as our Violet and Rose Crèmes with dessert inspired creations, Strawberry Cheesecake and Lemon Meringue. With caramels, fruits and nuts galore, our new Christmas tin is beautifully designed and full of chocolates which have been chosen for their decedent, rich and indulgent flavour," said Jeremy Moore from House of Dorchester." Yes, they really do have violet and rose-flavoured chocolates ! Before I lived in the North of France - where they have not only violet and rose but also poppy cordials that can be used to make delicious drinks and desserts - I used to turn my nose up at floral ingredients, thinking they would have a flowery, overly-perfumed, unpleasant taste. But that's not true at all, and I have to say, judging by the Violet Crème in the Christmas tin, the flavours do combine really well with chocolate too. If you want to sample the other gorgeous-sounding chocolates mentioned, you'll have to check out their Connoisseur Collection too, which look seriously tasty.
But back to the Christmas tin at hand. As I was saying before I got sidetracked by even more chocolate, I love the Violet Crèmes and also the delicious Raspberry Caramel, which works so well that I can't believe it hasn't been done before. I love the fact that each chocolate is totally different in taste and texture. You could do a blind test and easily recognise each chocolate (but I wouldn't trust my other half not to eat the whole tin while I couldn't see !).
Speaking of the tin, it's a beautiful, timelessly elegant, deep red and gold box that can be recycled for keeping homemade cakes and biscuits fresh, storing all your unused Christmas crads (because the reindeer design makes it lovely and festive) or ... best of all ... buy some more chocolates from House of Dorchester and fill it up again !
star rating : 5/5
RRP : £9.99
for more information : www.hodchoc.com
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