When I saw that this new chocolate brand had its roots in an online florist I was a bit sceptical. But I thought that my background is economics and online marketing and I run a chocolate blog, why can’t they produce highly desirable chocolates? What I actually learned from the experience is that there’s a world of difference between writing about chocolate and creating chocolate.
I loved the concept: chocolates delivered to a loved one with the cost of chocolate included and very much falling into the chocolate gifts category. It looked like they’d tried to simplify the process of chocolate gift buying as well as to make Belgian chocolates more accessible to the masses.
If you look at the packaging it’s absolutely perfect for this mail order chocolate gift market. The box is bright and sturdy. It’d be attractive to the core target audience, which I’d say are females anywhere from 16 upwards. The bags of truffles are securely located within the box which has great benefits for protecting them through the postal service and are easy to remove so you’re ready to enjoy them.
I was a little put off with the plastic tie at the top of the bags of truffles, I’m just so used to wonderful pieces of ribbon to secure and present chocolates (see Melt, Brownie Points & Paul A. Young). And this is the first indication about quality issues. At this stage I started to get a feel of the commoditisation of chocolate. It just came across (and I could be wrong) that the with their 21 years of running an online florists that they’ve got a great deal of experience of in online retailing with saying and doing the right things with how to encourage people to buy and getting the products to their customers in the right way but not as much experience with creating top quality chocolates. If the passion in the marketing of the chocolates was displayed in equal measures with the quality of the chocolates then they’d be on to a sure-fire winner.
Well, the very nice Jenny and her team noticed that I mentioned their launch and sent over a box with a bag each of “choc truffles” and ” “cocoa truffles” and so I grabbed hold of the “choc truffles” first and cast my eye over them. Well the first think that came to mind was that they had a very strong resemblance to the My Chocolate Bar Rum & Cola chocolate truffles that I just adored. Unfortunately the flavour of these truffles didn’t quite match any of those from My Chocolate Bar. Now, I don’t like to be overly critical, but there was hardly any chocolate taste to them. The flavours that I got were mainly of sugar and vegetable fats. And that came over in the texture too. Now I know that Belgian chocolates are supposed to be fatty and creamy but true Belgian chocolates wouldn’t last more than a few days – these are “good” until the middle of February next year.
Visually they didn’t look to great either. It seemed that the creamy filling was just rolled in cast-off pieces of extra-milky Flake shards. I know they didn’t say the truffles were handmade, but it just didn’t show any love or affection had gone in to them. The sun is shining and my bad back is receding and I really want to be positive – just I can’t.
Hoping that the other bag of truffles was going to make up for the other’s shortfalls I moved over and opened that bag too. Being a big fan of dusty truffles had high hopes. Alas they were to be dashed. The aroma may have been fine, but there was a slightly (but not excessively so) dry texture, although the flavour wasn’t as one dimensional as the others. Here they had an intense sugary taste, but not much else. There may have been slight kirsch notes, but not enough chocolate came through. They were just a couple of notches too sweet.
These truffles could have been so good. The execution of the experience up until the tasting was absolutely perfect for their aim of offering good quality chocolates by post, but the flavour was just too commercialised for my taste. I know others love confectionary with high levels of sugar and fats; it’s just that I don’t. I also know that not everyone has the same taste as me. I know that they’ll be a good proportion of their target audience that like super-sweet confectionary and will be over-joyed with these. Just give me a selection box of Pierre Hermé – I’ll pay the difference!