I was in my local M&S a week or so ago and noticed that there appeared to be quite a lot of new chocolate products gracing the shelves - the start of Christmas goods perhaps? This ornate/elegant looking box particularly stood out, with a lone box dumped on the top shelf with no price tag or any indication of what it meant to be was (on going into my M&S since then it has been properly put out).
I knew on taking it down from the shelf that I had to have it, the 'Golden Jewels Box - A selection of sophisticated hand finished chocolates with the finest gourmet flavours' including : Mango Lime & Chilli, Chai Latte, Feuilletine & Fleur de Sel, Banana & Smoked Sugar Caramel (you all know that it was this flavour that swung it for me) and Sweet Coconut & Vanilla.
Not only did the chocolates sound delicious but they looked absolutely gorgeous, the box and the actual design/visuals of the chocolates are top notch and definitely something that looks as if it were made for the purpose of a Christmas gift.
Chai Latte - A creamy white chocolate merged with Colombian coffee, spice and chai flavour
do love a chai latte, there's something about the warming spices paired
with a milky, sweet, coffee that is just so delicious. This chocolate
hit all the spots that I wanted it to, the white chocolate shell was
definitely the correct chocolate selection as it allowed the coffee/chai
spice flavour to take centre stage in the creamy, smooth filling. In
terms of visuals this chocolate was absolutely stunning and definitely
my favourite in the box in that aspect, I'm of the opinion that purple
is definitely an underused colour in elegant chocolate boxes after
Mango Lime & Chilli - A zesty lime compote layered on white chocolate and mango purée infused with ground chilli encased in a dark chocolate shell
This was the only chocolate in the box that I wasn't massively looking forward too, I don't particularly enjoy chilli in chocolate nor lime really for that matter. However for someone who doesn't really enjoy either of those flavours I still found it to be a pleasant enough chocolate, well balanced with not too heavy a kick of chilli and a nice tropical hint/sweetness added from the white chocolate/mango.
Feuilletine & Fleur de Sel - A fine crumbled biscuit smothered in white chocolate with a hint of Fleur de Sel salt, encased in a crisp milk chocolate shell
The only chocolate in the box to offer an additional textural component with the crumbled biscuit pieces, this chocolate worked really well. It was the perfect balance of sweet and salty and the added crunch of the biscuit pieces offered a nice nibbly texture to counterbalance the completely smooth fillings of the other chocolates.
Banana & Smoked Sugar Caramel - Salted caramel with a hint of smoked sugar and cinnamon layered on creamy white filling infused with charcoal banana flavouring
I definitely think that 'smoked' is going to become the new 'salted'; I've been thinking/saying it for a while, reading it on trend websites and so on but this is the first time I have seen a smoked flavour used in a sweet product in a mainstream store. Which can only mean good things if you're a fan of smoky flavours!! Thankfully I am, so this chocolate really appealed to me, especially because of the banana component. It ate beautifully, the smooth caramel filling was just the right texture, not too thick nor too thin on top of a smooth white ganache, whilst the flavour was spot on. A good overall banana flavour with subtle salt and smoke throughout which lingered well after the chocolate had been eaten.
Sweet Coconut & Vanilla - Toasted coconut married with Madagascan vanilla in a white chocolate truffle enclosed in crisp dark chocolate
Another very well balanced chocolate, with the inner white chocolate coconut and vanilla truffle injecting a pleasant level of sweetness to balance the dark chocolate exterior. The truffle was sumptuously smooth and melted perfectly in the mouth.
Overall I was really impressed with this box of chocolates, not only did they look stunning but I thought they ate really well; they definitely had more of an 'artisan' chocolatier feel to them, due to their more complex flavours and the refinement on the actual chocolates. Not only have they been made using more innovative shapes and finishes but the thickness of each of the chocolate shells is more what I would expect from a higher end chocolatier, a lot thinner, allowing the filling to take centre stage.
Taste - 8.4/10 - Really good quality, all flavours executed as I would expect from the description.
Texture - 8.4/10 - Smooth, luxurious. Excellent ratio of shell to filling.
Appearance - 9.5/10 - M&S have definitely gone all out on the visuals here, the chocolates and the box are beautiful looking and you can keep the chocolate box to store things in after you've finished!
Price - 8.2/10 - Priced at £15.00 for 14 chocolates, it works out just over £1 a chocolate, excellent value when you consider the elegant finish and reusable box.
Overall - 8.6/10 - An absolutely stunning box of chocolates for an affordable price.
Would make a lovely gift for someone and although probably made for Christmas season they don't scream CHRISTMAS and therefore could be used for other occasions also.
WHERE TO BUY?
Marks & Spencer's stores nationwide.