I was recently browsing my local Marks & Spencer and noticed that they had revamped quite a few of their chocolate selection boxes. One that immediately stood out to me was this new nut selection box with a mixture of nut based chocolates from pralines to caramels. It was slightly annoying that there wasn't a menu on the back of the chocolate box, I normally like to see what I'm going to get in the box before I open it to make sure that there are flavours that I'm going to like. However you can't see here until you open the box and the menu is contained on the sides of the box which can then be folded out into flaps to browse whilst looking at the chocolates.
There are 8 different chocolates in the box and 9 chocolates on each of the 2 layers.
Hazelnut Wand - Roasted hazelnut and almond praline
This was the chocolate that you got 2 of on each layer. I really liked the shape of the chocolate, it made it really easy to eat and savour, or great for dunking into a warm drink and letting the chocolate melt. The praline was smooth and creamy, quite sweet but still had a good nut flavour with hazelnut being the predominant flavour.
Roast Pecan Caramel - Soft caramel with roasted pecan nibsI was expecting there to be quite a strong pecan flavour in this chocolate; however the caramel isn't flavoured with pecan but rather there are just roasted pecan nibs throughout, I thought they got slightly lost in the whole chocolate and it was more just like a smooth caramel with the pecan nuts being washed away. Still tasty however though and the caramel had the right level of sweetness.
Walnut Praline - Crunchy walnut pralineWalnuts in general provide quite a bitter yet subtle flavour so I wasn't sure what to expect from this chocolate; overall again this chocolate was quite sweet and the walnut flavour was mainly lost, there's a slight bitter backnote to this chocolate compared to the hazelnut praline but ultimately the flavour will probably please most of the nation's palette with its sweeter profile.
Honeycomb Crunch - Truffle with hazelnut, honeycomb and crunchy croquant pieces
This chocolate reminded me of Thornton's Diplomat chocolate, again it's pretty sweet but not as sweet as the Almond Praline, it's tasty enough, I just wish that the sweetness level was toned down just a bit and I think it could have been even better.
Hazelnut Praline Caramel - Hazelnut praline and gooey caramel
A thick sumptuous caramel and a smooth hazelnut praline. It's a pretty creamy chocolate and reminded me of a Galaxy Caramel, the hazelnut praline isn't massively distinguishable in the chocolate and I wish that maybe the caramel had been made slightly thicker in this one so it was easier to see the two layers and enjoy the flavour/texture combination of them more.
Hazelnut and Almond Square - Roasted hazelnut praline with sugar roasted hazelnuts and almondsIn
terms of the eat of this chocolate it's like a cross between the
hazelnut wand/almond praline, thankfully it isn't too sweet and has a
nice balance of nut/sugar. Nice smooth praline texture, crisp chocolate
shell and crunch from the sugar roasted hazelnuts and almonds.
Praline Signature - Smooth chocolate hazelnut praline
I loved this chocolate, I think it was probably my favourite in the box as I felt in terms of balance of sweetness this was the least sugary in the box and had more depth of flavour. It seems almost as if it is a blended praline chocolate as opposed to a chocolate shell with a praline filling giving ultimately a creamier, nuttier eat. Gorgeously smooth and melt in the mouth.
Almond Praline - Crunchy almond praline with roasted almonds
pretty sure that it's Thornton's that make these for M&S and this
was evident in this chocolate that reminded me of Thornton's Alpini
chocolate; unfortunately, like the Alpini, I found this chocolate a tad
too sweet. It's more sugary than "almondy", but the praline is smooth
and the roasted almond pieces added a nice nibbly texture.
Overall I think these were quite good, I think if the sweetness level was toned down then they could have been a lot better however. Ultimately though I think they make a great gift box for a present and although I probably wouldn't go out and buy them again if I received one as a gift I'd quite happily munch my way through them.
Taste - 6.0/10 - A few too sweet but none that are particularly bad.
Texture - 7.9/10 - Smooth pralines.
Appearance - 6.6/10 - All look nice enough, slightly annoying that you can't see the menu until you open the box.
Price - 7.2/10 - I paid £6 for this box, pretty good value I think.
Overall - 6.9/10 - I'd be willing to pay a couple of pound extra if this meant that the sweetness was reduced and the nut/cocoa increased.
WHO FOR?Nut/praline lovers!!!
WHERE TO BUY?
At M&S stores across the country.