Although mass produced chocolates are sometimes more convenient to purchase for me nothing says a special treat/gift that hunting down a bespoke artisan hand produced box of chocolates and that is exactly what Martha & Lulu offer - based in Durham they produce a range of chocolate products. I recently got the pleasure of sampling a box of 12 of their fresh chocolates; taking inspiration from the seasons and using some soft fruits/herbs grown at home they produce chocolates free from additives or preservatives.
The box arrived beautifully adorned with a ribbon and opening it up you can see there was a lovely selection of chocolates on offer - I specifically requested no alcoholic chocolates in mine. There were 12 chocolates placed neatly inside the box, containing 7 different varieties; although I'm sure there are some standards that always appear in the box selection I'm sure these are subject to change depending on ingredients/season etc, so you may even get some other delicious options that I didn't get the chance to sample.
There were some gorgeous lemon ganaches encased in a white chocolate shell; the ganache was so sumptuously smooth and it was obvious how fresh it was; my only complaint is that I possibly would have liked to have the lemon sharpened up slightly.
Another white chocolate that went down a treat was the Fairy Dust chocolate; a pure vanilla white chocolate ganache centre, again encased in white chocolate, creamy, dreamy with subtle hints of vanilla; thankfully this wasn't too sweet but a milky mellow offering.
The milk chocolate offerings consisted of a butter caramel encased in milk chocolate, a dark chocolate raspberry truffle encased in milk chocolate and a butter fudge. Again all were delicious; of particular highlight for me was the butter fudge, a classic, traditional crumbly sweet fudge that was ever so moreish - so luckily there were two in the box for me to tuck into!
The final chocolates in the box were of a dark offering; one floral offering that I wasn't a particular fan of, down to personal preference as opposed to anything being wrong with the chocolate and one muscovado caramel that was beautiful, a rich runny caramel centre encased in dark chocolate helping to balance out the sweetness.
Overall I don't think you can go wrong with a box of these chocolates especially not for £6.00 a box - it's an absolute bargain if you ask me! You would pay a lot more for a box of chocolates like this in most artisan chocolate shops, especially around London. It's obvious how fresh these are; especially in terms of the textures of all of the ganaches and although they have a relatively short shelf life you don't have to worry about them going off as they're so delicious I can't see them hanging around for long!
Taste - 7.5/10 - All were pretty good, the lemon could have been a bit sharper and I wasn't particularly fond of the floral offering, but overall a really nice box of chocolates.
Texture- 8.3/10 - Textures were spot on in all chocolates.
Appearance - 7.9/10 - Nicely presented and came with a menu card.
Price - 9.3/10 - Absolute bargain for the quality of chocolates.
Overall - 8.3/10 - A very pleasant first experience of Martha & Lulu.
Would make a great gift for someone.
WHERE TO BUY?You can purchase from Martha & Lulu's website here.