I've wanted to try some of Iain Burnett's chocolates since I started my reviewing website; an award winning chocolatier he really is one of a kind in this country producing his chocolates not in moulded form but creating the truffle/ganache base before cutting and enrobing it, a skill that many chocolatiers decide not to use due to its greater difficulty and higher costs. So I was over the moon when a trip to Dunkeld in Scotland with the family meant I could coincide it with a visit to Iain's shop/chocolate factory located nearby!
Iain's skill is shown in the numerous awards he has won for many of his chocolates and how he has provided for numerous Michelin Star chef's restaurants; along with the awards that his chocolate centre has won for being an excellent tourist attraction in the heart of Scotland, showcasing his chocolate sculptures and educating visitors on what really is proper chocolate! Whilst visiting the chocolate centre I was provided with a box of Iain's chocolates to take home and review containing every filled chocolate/bon bon that Iain makes with the finest Sao Tomé cacao.
These really are the finest chocolates I have seen in a while, you can tell they are of a completely different class even from the way they are presented; the elegant magnet box in its deep red and gold colours to the gorgeous decoration of the chocolates I couldn't wait to try all of the different flavours that Iain had made. Obviously I can't rate every single chocolate but I will pick out some of my highlights; all I can say is that the selection offered was amazing, absolutely divine, there was only 2 chocolates that didn't meet my fancy and I think this was more down to personal preference rather than the way they were made.
The box itself contained : a Milk Velvet Truffle, Chai Truffle, Mocha Truffle, Strawberry Truffle, Praliné in Dark & Milk Chocolate, Cinnaon & Clove Praline, Marzipan in Dark & Milk Chocolate, Orange Crunch, Dark Velvet Truffle, Raspberry Truffle, Orange Truffle, Ginger Truffle, Espresso Truffle, Garden Mint Truffle, Lime Truffle, Cocoa Nib, Lemon Grass & Coffee Praliné, 2 white batons, 2 milk batons and 2 dark batons. Wow. What a selection.
All of the flavours presented in the box were exactly as described; all being wonderfully fresh with no hints of too much sugar whatsoever allowing the creamy chocolate and the delicious centres to take the full limelight. The textures provided similar excellence; with the truffle centres being luxuriously smooth and melt in the mouth and the pralinés being rich, thick and sumptuous, exactly what a chocolate should be like in my opinion. I couldn't fault them.
I can completely see why Iain has won awards for his chocolates; the Milk Velvet Truffle was the best truffle I think I have ever had, the texture was sublime in its rich gooey like melt that just seemed to last for ever with wonderful deep rich cocoa flavours whilst the Pralinés were the most nutty pralinés I have tasted in a long long time with wonderful caramelised nut flavours that took centre stage instead of the normal sugar that so many chocolatiers bulk their pralinés out with.
However it was not only the classic flavours that won my heart; the Lime Truffle and the Lemongrass Praline really were delicious as well with the lime truffle being infused with chilli crush and blended in white chocolate was amazingly good. Whilst the Lemongrass praline really was unique blended and infused with lime into a sumptuous citrus praline, I wish there had been another one of both of these as I really couldn't get enough of the wonderful fresh flavours that were on offer.
Even the chocolate batons in the box were of amazing quality, the white chocolate rich, buttery and light vanilla notes with no burning of sugar in the back of my throat, the milk, creamy, milky with light hints of fudge and toffee notes and finally the extremely deep dark chocolate baton with its classic Sao Tomé bold upfront strong chocolate notes.
Overall this was certainly a box of chocolates for a special occasion; they're definately not something you would buy all the time, unless you're very rich, but something of a far superior quality that you would treat yourself for a really special occasion. This definately was a box of chocolates that was in another league entirely and I enjoyed every last morself of them!
Taste - 9.5/10 - An excellent box of chocolates, all the flavours exactly as described, only 2 flavours didn't please my taste buds!
Texture - 9.8/10 - Can't fault the texture they were out of this world.
Appearance - 9/10 - The chocolates were all a good size, presented in a beautiful box with a menu, the only problem being that there were no pictures contained on the menu.
Price - 7.6/10 - I'm not sure what these were priced at but I remember they were quite expensive compared to your high street chocolates, but its a different type of chocolate entriely and well worth it for a special occasion.
Overall - 9/10 - Divine
You can have a look at Iain Burnett The Highland Chocolatier's website here.