At this time of year the shops are awash with poor quality Valentine’s chocolate gifts. Even Marks and Spencer’s sell rubbish for Valentine’s Day. One thing I’ve come to realise in my time reviewing chocolate is that if you’re not lucky enough to live somewhere with easy access to a fine chocolate boutique (there are too few) then you just have to rely on the internet to find something that is both good quality and original. Chocolatiers of Chococo’s ilk just do not get enough press attention – and chocolate lovers are the worse off for it. It’s cute chocolate hearts such as this Raspberry Pavlova milk chocolate heart which should be suggesting people that they should be spending their chocolate gift money with small, smart chocolate enterprises such as theirs rather than the supermarkets who do “chocolate by numbers” with a complete lack of passion or attention to detail.
I know every chocolatier sells chocolate hearts at this time of year, but most quite evidently are, in the main, of the lower quality end of things. I believe the chocolate used to make this heart is from Belcolade, which does have a good reputation, and from cacao grown in Grenada, which also has a good reputation. But the problem with using good quality chocolate and fairly acidic ingredients such as raspberry and then mixing with something sweet as meringue is that the chocolate flavour can get lost. Thankfully, I was so engrossed in nibbling the chocolate and writing the review that I didn’t actually notice and loss of flavour – it’s this sort of hand to mouth existence that I kind of enjoy.
Actually focusing on the flavours I could pick up a nutty characteristic of the chocolate which had a fairly domineering fruity acidity from the raspberries. The meringue pieces offered some variability both in terms of texture and flavour which is definitely required when you’ve got a 200g slab of chocolate sat in front of you just screaming to be devoured.
When Chococo’s PR company offered some of their Valentine’s Chocolate Gifts I chose the chocolate heart as it was one of the cheapest of their gifts and I didn’t want to “take the Micky”, they do, however, have a range of filled chocolates with a variety of seasonal flavours as well as a chocolate pod filled with a variety of fresh cream truffles as well smoked sea salt caramels. So there is a touch of choice if you did want to “go independent” this Valentine’s Day.
I know virtually everyone does chocolate hearts, but most use their standard milk chocolate, and at this time of year “standard” just doesn’t “cut it”. The difficult thing for some would be bringing themselves to pay for £15.95 for 200g of milk chocolate, but if the alternative is a box of naff chocolates from M&S, I know what I’d buy.