Saturday, 5 December 2015

Marks & Spencer Hand Finished Patisserie Collection

After the success of how good the Marks & Spencer Praline Turron Selection were when I saw these new Hand Finished Patisserie Collection chocolates in store I knew I wanted to try them too! Priced at £12.00 they are the same price as the Praline Turron Selection; albeit a bit lighter in weight at 179g in the box.

M&S Patisserie Collection

The box consists of a range of 'assorted chocolates inspired by fine French patisserie'; there are 8 different chocolates in the box, 2 of each, so a total of 16 in the box. The flavours include :  Opéra, Tarte Tatin, Tartlette au Citron, Pont Neuf, Délice aux Cerises, St Honoré, Dark Chocolate Buche and Paris-Brest.

        M&S Patisserie Collection

M&S Patisserie Collection

St Honoré
- 'White chocolate vanilla ganache, topped with caramel and hand finished with a lustred chocolate star'
Definitely more my cup of tea when it comes to flavour profile here; the vanilla ganache was nice and smooth with a good vanilla flavour. Smooth, sweet caramel and a lighter overall eat from the white chocolate covering. Delicious.

Opéra -
'Dark chocolate enrobed intense almond gianduja enhanced with coffee and decorated with edible gold leaf'I do think this chocolate would have been nicer had it been double layered; e.g one of coffee buttercream/mousse and one of almond gianduja for a textural contrast but overall this chocolate was still tasty. Flavour preferences, I would have preferred a milk chocolate coating, but the chocolate is pretty well balanced, a good almond flavour from the gianduja, a slight bitter coffee back kick and a deeper flavour from the dark chocolate. Not the smoothest gianduja I've had, slightly gritty, but not awful.
M&S Patisserie Collection

Pont Neuf -
'A rich dark chocolate gianduja encased in dark chocolate' - If you're looking for a rich indulgent chocolate then this is it, melt in the mouth and extremely luxurious.
Tarte Tatin - 'Caramelised apple ganache in white chocolate, hand finish with a lustred wafer crunch'Easily my favourite chocolate in the box. I often feel feel that apple as a flavour is so underused. It is executed to perfection here, slightly tart with a nice caramel note to it, covered in white chocolate to enhance the sweetness of the eat. Neither too sickly nor too sharp. I could have quite easily eaten a box full of these.
M&S Patisserie Collection

Délice aux Cerises - 'A dark chocolate double layered truffle with a rich dark ganache, topped with a sour cherry jelly in a hand sprayed shell'This was the only chocolate I really didn't like in the box. I really don't like cherry and chocolate together so it was never going to be a massive hit for me. The cherry does have a really good sharp flavour though and makes a nice change from sickly sweet cough medicine like cherry flavours.
Tartlette au Citron  - 'A white chocolate cup filled with zesty lemon ganache, hand finished with a dark chocolate stamp'
Sometimes I love lemon chocolates, sometimes I hate them. Ultimately it depends as to whether they end up reminding me of a bathroom cleaning product, i.e. the lemon flavour is too artificial and too strong!! Thankfully this was not the case here, the flavour is subtle, light and balances delicately with the white chocolate exterior. Like eating a gorgeous lemon mousse.

M&S Patisserie Collection

Dark Chocolate Buche - 'White vanilla truffle smothered in dark chocolate and hand finished with an edible sugar diamond'
Unfortunately I felt like this chocolate didn't have a lot of flavour. The truffle was slightly stodgy in terms of eat and the truffle felt more waxy than melt in the mouth. Not a strong vanilla flavour and just a generic sweet flavour.

Paris-Brest -'A sweet nutty, hazelnut fondant ring smothered in dark chocolate'I was thoroughly looking forward to this chocolate, Paris-Brest is pretty much everything I love, nutty hazelnut and chocolate! However I'm not sure what was going on with this chocolate...firstly the 'fondant'..I'm not sure exactly what it was meant to be like but it was more like a marzipan and had virtually no taste of hazelnut. The dark chocolate just overpowered the eat and took the spotlight over what should have been the star of the show. I feel a hazelnut mousse/ganache/buttercream would have worked far superior. Very disappointing.

Although these chocolates look pretty they are no where near as good as their Praline Turron sibling; I was disappointed there were no milk chocolates in this box and although they sound elegant there weren't actually that many chocolates in the box in which I would rush back for more.

Taste - 5.1/10 - Average, a couple of good ones, a couple of not so good.
Texture - 5.0/10 - Again average, not melt in the mouth gorgeous and not sure what was going on with the hazelnut 'fondant'.
Appearance - 8.4/10 - Look really pretty.
Price - 6.7/10 - Priced at £12.00 compared to how good the Praline Turrons were I think they make these seem poor value for money.
Overall - 6.3/10  - I'd opt for the Praline Turrons any day!
They make a pretty gift, just make sure that the person you're buying them for is a fan of dark chocolate.

Marks & Spencers nationwide.

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