So the first of the reviews from this year’s Speciality Chocolate Fair is the Pour Toi Selection Box which came out of a cupboard that the owner of the company, Claire Rose, had apparently kept hidden – only to be brought out for people that she thought deserved to take home a full box rather than having a quick nibble on her stand. As this was an unprepared box there was no menu and I have no idea how much they cost as I neglected to ask and her website is in the process of being designed, I can’t really give a complete review – other than of the most important elements: how they taste and appear.
An interesting aspect I found out after trying them was that Claire’s chocolates only contain about 50% of the sugar that most chocolate makers add, which I didn’t notice when actually trying them – which is obviously a good thing if you’re like me and can easily wade through an entire selection box in an evening.
So onward into this fantastic looking selection box. I know there’s debate in the industry about the originality of packaging, but what I loved about this box was its simplicity. It has an nice autumn feel to it with the dark brown and bronze-type pictures of cacao pods which was combined with a sturdy-looking interior which housed the individual chocolates – I much prefer these to plastic inserts as you can take them out, one at a time, and take a nibble and leave the other half in the paper on the arm of a sofa and then go back to the rest. Visually this box of chocolates is excellent – especially when you notice that all the colours of the chocolates and their wrappers match as well.
Now not having a menu makes things a bit difficult but the first I tried was a wonderful praline-type which did have a sweet edge but was balanced with a nice crunchiness. I’d really like to try this one again, but I’m leaving half for friends.
The second looked like a Lego brick but obviously tasted much better. This also had a great texture and tasted like an almond praline with a slight alcoholic kick. And would certainly be another I’d love to have more off.
The third had a lovely crunchy shell and was most certainly a coffee flavour pave. I don’t normally like coffee in this form but, I must say, it was absolutely delicious!! The flavours were, again, quite sweet, but that’s what selection boxes are all about.
Next up was I’m sure is an apricot ganache confit which was zippy and in the same mould as the Lauden Chocolates – but not quite as intense. This one wasn’t my favourite as I’m in more of a dark, smooth chocolate mood.
And we’re back on to the ganaches and I just can’t place this one, even though it reminded me of a flavour from my childhood. Hopefully Claire will let me know as it’ll be bugging me now! Utterly delicious though!
This next was a great deal denser and I’m sure was made from hazelnuts, but was so much more refined that most of the pralines I’ve reviewed in the past. This was a damn good one all round!
And lastly I tried another I just could place the flavour of, but was again one that reminded me of some pudding I haven’t tried for a good few years. The texture was divine and I’d like some more please!
Obviously I can’t give a full review because I don’t have the pricing, menu or ingredients. But I’m not too worried about that as they were absolutely fab. There may not have been anything that stands out as being unique, but the contents of this selection box gave the sense of wonder and enjoyment they were intended to. Any price under £15 would be good value and rates favourably to the Melt Selection Box.