I love reviewing new chocolate companies, the excitement of receiving a box of chocolates to sample and try, discovering what flavour profiles they are showcasing and how they present their wares. Harry Specters, based in Cambridge, specialises in producing handmade premium chocolates; however they're also a social enterprise business helping to employee people on the autism spectrum and giving them a comfortable and safe place to work whilst allowing them to use their strengths to grow and develop in society, whilst for every £ of profit they make, 60p is set aside for furthering the social aims of the business.
I received a lovely seletcion of their Christmas chocolates, a box of 12, neatly presented in a red box wrapped with ribbon and complete with a menu of all of their chocolates, which you then had to decipher what you got in the box.
Classic Dark - 70% dark chocolate truffle sprinkled with cocoa nibs - The epitome of what a good chocolate truffle/ganache should be, smooth, rich, decadent and gorgeoulsy melt in the mouth.
Orange Caramel - caramel with fresh orange zest and orange juice in dark chocolate - I can see why this won a Great Taste award as it was absolutely delicious, the caramel was smooth and runny with a lovely sharp tang of citrus pairing delightfully with the sweet caramel, against a background of rich dark chocolate.
Cinnamon Praline - Hazelnut praline with cinnamon in a milk chocolate ganache - I love pralines so I was hoping that this was going to be incredible; unfortunately I was a tad disappointed, I didn't pick up any hints of nut whatsoever, the cinnamon was definitely there and there was a lovely smooth milk chocolate ganache centre, but I expected a more praline rich filling both in terms of texture and flavour.
Hazelnut Praline - Caramelised hazelnut praline in milk chocolate
- Similarly to the cinnamon praline I was disappointed here in terms of
flavour and texture, the texture is more like a ganache and I got
absolutely no flavours of nut whatsoever apart from the pieces of
caramelised hazelnut atop.
Madagascan Vanilla - Smooth dark chocolate infused with Madagascan vanilla - The
vanilla is most certainly prevalent in this chocolate; a woody intense
vanilla flavour reminiscent of its Madagascan origins; I would have
liked a bit more of a subtle vanilla but still a tasty chocolate.
Strawberry - Fresh cream and strawberry puree white chocolate ganache enrobed in dark chocolate - Like a better version of a strawberry cream; although it did remind me a bit of a thicker Calpol, it wasn't too offensive. I just wouldn't go back for another.
Honeycomb - Milk chocolate ganache infused with raw honey - Delicious, a cross between a caramel and a ganache; smooth, luxurious with a subtle caramel honey flavour paired against a creamy milk chocolate. Gorgeous.
Sea Salt Caramel - Milk chocolate caramel made with Muscovado brown sugar and sea salt - Quite often it is difficult to get the balance between salty/sweet in salted caramels; here in this chocolate the flavours work perfectly. The use of brown sugar gives it a richer, deeper, almost nutty backnote to the chocolate.
2 Christmas Chocolates - Dark chocolate ganache coated in white chocolate and adorned with a festive design -
These 2 chocolates weren't included on the menu, as they are obviously
not part of the standard range; they were however really good, the
smooth dark ganache centre paired well with the sweeter white chocolate
Chilli - Dark chocolate ganache with a hint of chilli - A smooth chocolate ganache centre, the chilli creeps up on you, not being particularly prevalent at first and then boom. Incinerating tongue burning heat, great for any chilli chocolate lovers.
Rose & Cardamom - Delicate blend of crushed green cardamom and pure organic rose water -
This chocolate also won a Great Taste award and the flavours of the
cardamom and rose and definitely prevalent, providing a lovely floral
flavour to the chocolate; however due to personal preference I just
wasn't a fan of this one.
Overall these were a lovely quality box of chocolates and at £14.00 for a box of 12 they're not bad value at all; the textures are great and you can tell they're of a higher standard and are freshly made, I just wish that the pralines had lived up to my usual standards.
Harry Specters are looking to expand, they need to double their machinery and aim to secure more jobs for people suffering with autism - so they have turned to Crowdshed to try and raise some money and am sure they would be appreciative of any donations - https://www.crowdshed.com/projects/a-sweeter-life-for-people-with-autism-0
Taste - 7.1/10 - Fresh, well balanced chocolates, just need a bit more 'nut' in the praline.
Texture - 8.4/10 - Gorgeously smooth.
Appearance - 7.7/10 - Look great.
Price - 7.3/10 - At £14.00 for 12 they're not bad value at all.
Overall - 7.6/10 - A lovely box of chocolates from a company that delivers not only on flavours but also social values.
WHO FOR?A lovely fresh handmade box of chocolatesfor a gift this Christmas that doesn't break the bank.
WHERE TO BUY?