Saturday, 27 June 2009

One for Me... One for You...

Regular readers may remember my delight at attending the launch evening for Artisan du Chocolat's new Westbourne Grove store. As well as treating myself to a box of 30 delicious Couture Collection chocolates I was also given an additional box of 12 as a parting gift. It didn't take me long to work my way through the majority of those 42 squares of goodness.

Read on for my review of the chocolates and don't miss the fantastic competition to win your own box of Artisan du Chocolat goodness!

Kavey Eats Chocolate!

KEY: (x) Not keen (o) Nice (*) Special (**) Phenomenal!

Orange (*)
This one reminded me of an orange cream, the kind you find in chocolate box selections. But that’s no bad thing as it was elevated to another level by use of good quality dark chocolate and a clean orange flavour.

Lumi (x)
Like the Jasmine, the limey flavour of lumi was too subtle for me to detect and the ganache too sweet for me to enjoy as a general chocolate.

Lemon & Thyme (*)
The thyme came through more strongly than the lemon giving this chocolate a strangely savoury flavour. Quite unusual and I really liked it.

Banana & Thyme (**)
The banana hit me first and then my tongue detected a hint of thyme moments later. Less savoury than the Lemon & Thyme combination but just as unusual.

Honey (*)
A lovely strong honey flavour came through clear as a bell in the ganache. Lovely!

Jasmine Tea (x)
Like the Early Grey, I just couldn’t discern the Jasmine flavour. In this case, I found the paler ganache filling too sweet to recommend this one.

Rose (*)
The flavour of turkish delight! And since I adore turkish delight, this one worked for me!

Violet (*)
A wonderfully flowery violet flavour, tastes more natural than the flavour one more commonly encounters in cheap violet confectionary. Combines nicely with the chocolate.

Earl Grey
Although I enjoyed the rich, velvety smooth, intense chocolate I couldn’t detect the early grey tea flavour. I’d class this one as a good general truffly chocolate rather than a flavoured one.

Lapsang Souchong (*)
This one really packed a punch when it came to smokiness which was pretty unique. More woody than tea to me but I rather liked it.

Verbena (**)
The lemony citrus flavour crashed through and the combination of sweet and sharp was fabulous!

Moroccan Mint (*)
Although I enjoyed this chocolate, the mint tasted of peppermint essence rather than fresh mint. Clean, refreshing and tasty though I prefer Gorvett & Stone’s mint truffles with their fresh herby flavour.

Basil & Lime (o)
The hint of basil was completely overwhelmed by lime. As a lime chocolate it was great but for basil, I’d recommend Paul A Young’s fresh basil truffles.

Lavender (o)
A lovely dark ganache with a slightly too subtle lavender flavour. I could only just discern it and that may have been because I was looking for it. That said, the chocolate itself was so good I couldn’t fail to enjoy this one.

Tobacco (**)
Having read that this one was developed in response to a request from Heston Blumenthal, I was intrigued before I even tasted it. And, even though I am an ex-smoker, I had no idea what to expect. What I got was a fabulous and unfamiliar sweet flavour followed by a real kick at the back of the throat, akin to chilli heat but not quite the same. An interesting aftertaste came through once the chocolate had gone and I was sucking every last molecule of flavour. Unique, fascinating, tasty and packed a kick. What more could one ask for?

Sea Salted Caramel (o)
A soft fudgey interior with a nice flavour, though not as salty as Artisan du Chocolat’s famous liquid salted caramels, which is a shame as I love those! But definitely a great choice for fans of fudge.

Coffee & Star Anise (x)
I’m very likely biased by my dislike of aniseed but for me, any coffee taste that might have been present was masked by the strong anise flavours. Aniseed fans would love this.

Ginger (*)
A great fresh ginger taste (rather than the crystallised ginger taste that’s more common in confectionary). Refreshing though would like to taste some of ginger’s fiery heat coming through.

Green Cardamom (**)
At first the cardamom flavour seemed too subtle but suddenly broke through the chocolate and tingled my tastebuds. I think cardamom and chocolate is a great combination. If you like this, you’ll probably also like Kshocolat’s orange and cardamom chocolate bar.

Black Cardamom (x)
Given that black cardamom is usually a stronger, rougher flavour I expected this one to come through as clearly as it’s more delicate green relation. Sadly, I couldn’t much taste it but enjoyed this as a good general choocolate.

Coriander Praline (**)
A fantastic praline chocolate with a smooth cocoa shell surroudning a wonderfully light and crunchy praline with chewy bit that stick dissolutely to your teeth, taking you back to childhood delights! One of my favourites.

House praline (**)
Clearly I’m rather a big fan of the pralines. This one was also fantastic with the characteristic light texture combining crunchy and chewy in perfect balance.

Feuillantine (**)
This is one of the chocolates I tried in the shop, on the opening night, and I absolutely loved it. As with the two pralines I describe above, a fantastic texture combination and wonderful taste. Just perfect!

There were also several flavours that were not available on the day of my visit that are very intriguing - I'll have to wait until my next visit to taste (and feedback on) flavours such as Bramley Apple, Red Wine, Tonka, Marzipan, Marzipan & Rosemary, Sesame, Fig & Walnut Nougat and Raspberry Nougat.

Want to try Artisan du Chocolat's Couture Collection for yourself?

I'm delighted to be able to offer a box of 12 Couture Collection chocolates to one lucky reader of Kavey Eats! And to make sure you get to enjoy my personal favourites, your box will contain two each of Banana & Thyme, Tobacco, Green Cardamom, Coriander Praline, Feuillantine and Verbena.*

*If any of these are unavailable on the day your box is assembled Artisan du Chocolat will substitute others from the Couture Collection.

To enter this fantastic competition, just leave a comment at the end of this post before midnight July 14th. Please include your name and email address (so I can contact the winner for their postal address). This competition is open to UK-based readers only.

A winner will be selected randomly from all comments received by the deadline. The prize will be sent out by Artisan du Chocolat directly to the winner.


Alan Ager said...

Is this the first comment?

If so, it means that I've already won and nobody else need apply :)

Simon Taylor said...

These sound wonderful, especially the Cardamom flavours.

Artisan du Chocolat must be very pleased with your review, especially as you had the patience (and control!) to photograph each one before eating.

I'm not allowed chocolate just at the moment, but the long-suffering Mrs.T. would enjoy these I'm sure!

AskCy said...

Steve (AskCy)I've never seen chocolates with this array of flavour combinations, I think I really need to try some of them post haste ! Had I not seen them here with my own eyes I'd have never of thought those flavours had been put together !

Ps as its not wise to post your email address live on the internet unless you want more spam than a supermarket tinned meat section, I'll not post it, but should I win then Kavey already has it thanks ! Might I suggest anyone else wishing to enter sends their email address to Kavey via her contact further up the page (says contact me)



Kavey said...

Simon, it would actually have been quicker for me to take the individual photos myself (as I did take the photo of them all in the box plus all the photos in the shop opening post) BUT for the individual chocs they sent me their PDF catalogue and I cut every one out, resized it and saved them as individual images. Took me hours!!!

Steve, I would think most people have secondary email addresses they happily use on the net these days but if anyone feels uncomfortable they can send me their email addresses directly.

Anonymous said...

Me Me Me! I love chocolate, and these sound lovely.

Heather (you've got my email!)

meemalee said...

Kavey, you love me right?

Heh heh :)

Anonymous said...

Count me in! Please? Pleeeeeeze? That chocolate looks *lovely*!


foxie said...

Wow, those do look super tasty. Count me in, I think you have my details =)

Debs @ DKC said...

Kavey, I think it's really, really, mean of you to open this competition to UK residents only (shame on you). If I'd won I would have invited you to spain to make a personal delivery! and I'd let you have a dip in my pool too (hee hee)

Kavey said...

Heh, Debs, sorry about that! But perhaps one day I'll get to Spain to visit you with or without chocolate!

Unknown said...

I live right near Westbourne Grove so excited to see we have a new local chocolate shop to add to Melt just down the road

goodshoeday said...

I think it must be my turn for a win?? But to make it complicated I hate banana in all its forms if i win can i have something else sub-ed instead - sorry but to waste TWO chocs would be a crime :)
Tweet me for deets if I win.

Niamh said...

Hoe can I not enter?! I adore these, I bought a box for my sister for xmas. Yum!

Naomi Knill said...

The Rose, Violet and Verbena sound right up my street...! Are these the chocs I ate at Galvin at Windows? If so, bring them on!

Kavey said...

GG Yes, I believe so!

Anonymous said...

these look flipping gorgeous!!I live for pralines....lovely descriptions

Neeta said...

Based on the fact, you essentially manipulated me out of my Easter eggs as a (somewhat naive/daft) child, I think some level of favourism should apply here...

Neet x (Kav's sis!)

TheFastestIndian said...

Chocolate and freebies? My kind of blog!

ireenable AT

Caroline said...

well a girl can't turn down the chance for free chocolates.

I'm intrigued by the salt caramel. I've heard you enthuse about them before and would love to try them!

Think you've got my email, but take my general one for SPAM reasons!

Caroline xx

Anne said...

I love the sound of the coffee and star anise best! I did try their salted caramel recently though and was slightly underwhelmed but willing to try again! ;-)

Kavey said...

Anne, try their liquid salted caramel spheres. These are just fantastic and far, far more special than the salted caramel chocolate I tasted above!

Anonymous said...

42 choccies? The answer to life, the universe and everything!

Ollie said...

I am so entering, Kavey - what a great competition. Those choccies look fantastic.

Neon Spirit said...

Hmmm, an interesting combination.. I am intrigued by the coriander, was this more seed or leaf flavoured?

Angela said...

Ooooh .. my mouth is watering just reading this! A review like this would make anyone want to try them. Now, where on earth is Westbourne Grove...

Kavey said...

Angela, can I have your contact information please so I can enter you into the comp. I assume you'd like to be entered? :)

Anonymous said...

I was really impressed with some chocolates I ordered from them (technically for my husband, but he was generous and willing to share). The salted caramel spheres and gingerbread bar were amazing.

I'd be really interested to try the corriander praline. I adore corriander in everything!


Maggie said...

These are a really unusual chocolate selection and something I would be very interested to try!

Andy Carolan said...

That is one beautiful set of chocolates, almost too pretty to eat..... wait, what am i saying?!

just look at the Coriander Praline!!

Dan said...

Wow - Exotic flavoured chocolates, and a chance to win them as well. Sign me up for some of that!

Penny said...

They sound really unusual. I may have to potter over to Westbourne Grove and try. The Lapsang Souchon one sounds right up my street, tea and chocolate the best things in life together!

Rosie said...

Some of these I'd never had thought would go in chocolate, the green cardomon sounds intriguing!

Louise Coppard said...

Sounds like a tough time was had trying these out ... the things you do for us all !!

Very intrigued by the cardamom flavoured ones.

Might have to try and squeeze a visit in on my Hen weekend in August when we're off to see Dirty Dancing, but if not winning the competition would be fabulous.

Chris Pople said...

You've got Galvin @ Windows to thank for turning me onto Artisan du Chocolat. Lovely stuff.

Danny said...

So I am now in offically in (and to think I nearly left it too late).

I like the idea of the Feuillantine, just for the pretty name.

Laurie Black said...

I have to say that I am a huge fan of pralines of any and all kinds so I think that would be really fun to try.

I just love reading your specific and thoughtful, very educational, and always with that Kavey humor that I adore!! :)

Someday when I win the lotto I'll have to visit across the pond.

Matthew said...

A truely unique selection of chocolates, I mean Tabacco flavour? And it's phenominal?

Well worth a look, I am genuinely intrigued!