I first came across Dannuci a couple of months ago and its only now that I’ve managed to review the selection box they gave me as I always prioritise fresh chocolates and these have got a best before date of the end of April next year. When I met the people there I found them very engaging and encouraged them to give other chocolate bloggers samples, I’ve not seen any other reviews yet so I think this is the first.
After travelling back with these chocolates from London the box got a bit dog-eared, however new it would have looked pretty damn good. The menu card inside gave detailed information about Danucci’s background, a profile of their artisan chocolatier Michelle Lowth and, of course, details of the chocolates inside.
The first I tried was the Raspberry Ganache which offered a delightful acidic burst as you bite in and a distinct bitterness that I find appealing but will not excite people who are used to cheap fruit chocolates in Cadbury Roses and the like. The tartness is partnered with a wonderful underlying mild dark chocolate flavour, although I’m not entirely sure if they work so well together, but as this a dark chocolate selection box then this acute flavour would probably be expected.
Next up was the Brandy & Fig Truffle which looked like fantastic pearls as they’re shiny with a calcium kind of finish. The truffle centre had a muted flavour which was delivered by the figs. I do like boozy truffles but for me, I didn’t get enough of the brandy. For sure you’ve got to take it easy in a general selection box, but I would have liked more of a hit. They do some Marc de Champagne truffles too, so perhaps I should have got some of those as well? I think part of the issue is that I’m not the biggest fig fan, partly due to the texture and this truffle brought back those memories of being offered fig rolls on Sunday mornings with a cup of tea when I lived with my parents.
The 70% truffle centre provided a fine experience. The texture is very smooth but with a slight hazelnut tone accompanied by an underlying cream flavour. This may not be as exciting as the others, but it does serve as a very good palate cleanser.
This praline had a strange edge to it – it offered a somewhat fruity character that I don’t really expect from pralines. The first hit is very much of salty hazelnut but then does branch out into other tones, but I’m not totally convinced by this one. It’s partly because I’m not a praline fan, the flavours seemed to tussle with each other for prominence.
And then I tried out the Gianduja which also had an under-stated flavour that offered a more sanguine praline experience than the previous. It may have been a great deal smoother, as is always the case with Gianduja, but it left me wanting a more comprehensive array of notes.
The Citrus Praline was delightful. The fruity acidity was the perfect foil for the almond praline which was present against a delightful dark chocolate background. This has to be the best of the bunch so far and I could easily enjoy a large handful of these in an evening.
The Sea Salted Caramel was rich and gooey as you would expect. The salty aroma fizzed out of the chocolaty casing like the spray of zesty particles as you break into the skin on an orange. I love getting messy with chocolate and the incredibly fluid salted caramel literary went everywhere – the menu card, my fingers, my lips. Strangely I’m generally not a lover of salted caramel, but the extreme bitterness of the dark chocolate shell created an excellent balance to the sweet and sour of the filling.
The Exotic Ganache served as another palate cleanser – at first. It then offered a delicious combination of mango and passionfruit which managed to be just as mellow as the other ganaches in the box. It could so easily of been overly-sweet, but it managed to restrain itself.
I forgot to take the photo of the Dark Chocolate Placquette before I dove in. I doubt it’s the best dark chocolate I’ve ever tasted, but it served its purpose to ‘wipe’ the taste-buds clean.
Overally, I wouldn’t say this is a robust selection box as the Lauden ones were, but it offered a more restrained experience. I’d suggest that this selection box is more aimed at the older generations than the young, but the overall experience is well judged. There are different intensities of flavours that do lead to a story evolving. I can taste the effort put into them, but there are other selection boxes I’d reach for first.