Monday 1 November 2010

Chocolate Craft - The Alresford Chocolate Company Christmas Pudding Truffles

Well, Halloween is done and dusted for another year so I think that means I can start getting all excited about Christmas now ! And what better place to start than reviewing some luxury handcrafted Christmas truffles from The Alresford Chocolate Company?!

As they explain on their website, the heart of Hampshire is home to The Alresford Chocolate Company where they make award-winning chocolates, including the Christmas Pudding Truffles with Courvoisier VS Cognac that we received to review. They state that their mission is "to craft stylish and distinctive chocolates that taste as good as they look".

Well, I have to say that the first thing that struck me was that they really do look exactly like the photo on the website. They look so perfect that you could almost imagine someone sitting there painstakingly sticking on each individual chocolate flake by hand ! As they explain, "Using fresh Hampshire cream and the finest natural ingredients, our chocolates are made with uncompromising quality by expert chocolatiers using traditional artisan methods." These aren't mass produced chocolates and it shows.

But on to the all important taste test. Well, in a word - wow ! The initial taste that oozes into your mouth is delicious chocolate but as you chew and as the chocolate melts, a definite taste of Christmas pudding comes through and blends into the chocolatey taste without ever completely overpowering it. You do detect a subtle undercurrent of warming cognac too but it is nowhere near as harsh and eye-watering as when you eat a liqueur-filled chocolate for example. The blend and balance of flavours has been absolutely perfectly fine-tuned, with each individual taste coming through without overpowering the others.

I went to investigate the list of ingredients. The website describes the Christmas Pudding Truffle as : "a chocolate containing everything you find in a Christmas Pudding. Fruits, nuts, spices and of course Courvoisier... you will love the taste of this Christmas chocolate." A closer look at the ingredients list reveals a whole host of delicious-sounding natural ingredients with no artificial additives at all : cocoa mass, sugar, whole milk powder, fresh whipping cream, glucose, Courvoisier VS cognac, raisins, cranberries, orange, almonds, mixed spice (cinnamon, coriander, dill, fennel, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, cassia, turmeric), cinnamon, emulsifier (soya, lecithin) and vanilla. No E-numbers, just a lot of E-words - like exquisite, enchanting and extremely delicious !

The Alresford Chocolate Company declare : "We have a passion for creating unique chocolates of uncompromising quality that look as good as they taste". Well, all I can say is mission accomplished.

There is no doubt that these are luxury chocolates so they do have a luxury pricetag to match - a 70g pouch containing 6 truffles costs £5.50 so they're just under £1 a chocolate but as a special grown-up festive treat, a delicious gift or as one of the elements in a luxurious Christmas hamper, they are sure to go down well. The only problem is, they are so delicious, you really need a lot of willpower not to eat the whole lot in one go !

star rating : 5/5

RRP : £5.50 for 70g

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