Sunday, 13 May 2012

Club Chocolat Francais

There seems to be a swarm of tasting clubs floating around at the moment; the convenience of knowing that every month a box of chocolates will come popping through your letter box is a great idea for us busy chocoholics who want something new and different to try on each occasion. Club Chocolat Francais is one of these, firstly launched in France they are now hoping to launch and branch out their chocolates into the UK.

French chocolates I have always thought of as superb, they seem to hold the standard of what is a good fine chocolate, small chocolate boutiques containing dainty little chocolates filled with wondrous delights , chocolatiers such as Michel Cluizel, Pierre Hermé and Jean-Paul Hévin are just a few names that come to mind. It seems that Club Chocolat Francais has tried to take this idea and make them more accessible; when I opened my box of tasting chocolates, firstly, apart from it obviously being their Easter themed box, it was obvious that these were slightly more "modern" and "jazzed up" but still held the small dainty feel of a French chocolate.

Club Chocolat Francais

Inside there is a total of 34 chocolates in 18 different varieties; predominantly these are pralines, but there are a few solid chocolate pieces and fruit filled pieces. Unfortunately a few of my chocolates, it seems, had bloomed on their way out to me, which is a shame, as with a tasting club you hope that when they reach  you they will still be in pristine condition, as if you had just bought them from the shop.  Nevertheless I did like the designs of the chocolates, especially the brightly colourful topped pieces around the centre of the box.

Club Chocolat Francais

Naturally I started on the pralines; and I must say I was pretty impressed, they certainly hit the spot for me, of course they aren't the standard that you may expect if you walked into a chocolate boutique in Paris, but they are still nice, with good strong nutty notes with a slight sweet edge that is not too overpowering. I found my favourite of these to be a nice dainty little piece with a praline centre and crunchy coloured rice pieces atop.

Club Chocolat Francais

I must say however that it is a good thing that a lot of this box was pralines, as the rest of them I found to be slightly disappointing, the solid chocolate pieces didn't really have all that much flavour, the fruit pieces were filled with a slightly odd strawberry or raspberry jam filling, overly sweet and ridiculously runny, I just feel like something like a fruit ganache would have worked better, and they were just a bit tasteless overall.






Club Chocolat Francais


Club Chocolat Francais

I guess the good thing about Club Chocolat Francais is that like many tasting clubs you can offer your feedback on each box so they know what their customers like and dislike; for me I felt that this was a bit of a hit and miss..when I started eating them I thought they were going to be superb but as I worked my way through the box I must say I got a few duds. I love the idea of these and I'm sure with a few tweaks they would be great but I just think a bit more work needs to be done to polish these off.

Club Chocolat Francais

 Taste - 6.5/10 - The pralines were really nice, as was the centre piece, but I found the other chocolates to not really have been executed as well as they should have been.
Texture - 6.4/10 -The centres of the fruit pieces were far too runny and just like a watered down jam, the pralines weren't as creamy as I would have liked them but were still nice.
Appearance - 7.2/10 - I do like the look of these chocolates, I like how they have themed the box to suit the season.
Price - 6.4/10 - Your first box is £9.95 and from then on is £19.95, putting it on a similar price level to Hotel Chocolat's Tasting Club. If they could improve on a few aspects of their chocolates I would say it was worth it but at the moment I probably wouldn't pay £19.95 for them, but at £9.95 your first box is a bargain.
Overall - 6.6/10 - A bit of a hit and miss. Maybe one to watch.
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WHO FOR?
Definitely to share between a family or a couple of you, as a box this size would probably be too much for one person as the repetition of chocolates might get a bit boring.

WHERE TO BUY?
You can find out about Club Chocolat Francais here.

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