There are a million and one ways to start a chocolate review. This one will start with an apology. Sunshine and Butterflies sent through this six piece selection box of their limited edition bon bons whilst I was on holiday and wasn’t around to take delivery so I’ll have to bear in mind that a Royal Mail store room won’t really be the best environment for them to be kept in whilst I was knocking back the vino in the beautiful south of England.
What I did love was the very detailed and incredibly helpful menu card. So often I have to undertake a Krypton Factor-like test to work out which truffles are which. Here the guys place a colour photo above a description – and this is another element I loved – the extremely detailed stanza giving some background and the key ingredients. For someone that takes a keen interest in the flavours and ingredients used, this is heaven.
With the sun forcing its way on to the lawn outside I thought it was fitting to try the Garden Party Tea Ganache. Of course, most of us think of Matcha Chocolat when we come across tea-based chocolate, but I recommend you also try this one too if you get the chance. It’s incredibly light due to the fact that it’s a water ganache and offers soft hints of flavour, just like the mist-like vapour that hangs over lakes in winter. It has a more prominent edge of sweetness that takes over the after-melt, but before that you do get a noticeable Assam flavour which morphs into the Jasmine. There’s nothing punchy or over-bearing here, just sweetness and light.
This Limonata Truffle was one of those that as you pop it in your mouth you start to get amazing flavours wash around your mouth. It actually forced me to quickly glance at the menu to see what was in it. This isn’t any ordinary lemon truffle which can be excessively bitter, instead it’s made with Turkish limonata which is a homemade lemonade which is served with a sprig of mint. The sugar crystals on the top give it just a little crunch, but it’s the limonata that I loved. It just has a caramelness that I’ve not really come across with lemon before.
The Berries and Cherries ganache is as soft and delicate as I’ve come across. It’s incredibly sweet but it works well against the sharp acidity of the red berries. The white chocolate does well to offer a touch of mellowness in the background and only just mitigating the sweet filling. Even though this is still a fruit ganache, it’s completely a different bread to the previous.
I’ve got half a bottle of elderflower cordial that’s been hanging about for months, I keep leaving it in favour of a cuppa as the flavour is generally a touch too mellow for me, but with the gooseberries this truffle gets lifted a touch – but not quite enough. I felt the filling was too similar to the white chocolate shell and didn’t really stand out enough – especially after the blast of flavour from the previous.
And now the Apricot, Ginger and Pistachio – three flavours that I enjoy a great deal. But the first thing that struck me about this one was the texture – it looked fantastic with the large pieces of the ingredients standing out. There are three points of flavour that contrast, but form a solid experience. The apricot and ginger in particular combine wonderfully with the pistachio being more of a background flavour. The texture probably not what everyone would be expecting, but I enjoyed a bit more of a bite given the other very soft ganaches.
Lastly it was the Thunder and Lightning Fudge. At first I wasn’t all that fond of it, but then, like a bolt out of the blue, I got hit with a massive whack of sweet flavour but with a strange background. I later learned that this was from the clotted cream and golden syrup. I couldn’t eat too much of this, but I loved the flavours.
The whole experience was very enjoyable. So often I get to try selection boxes that just trot out the same old flavours – one box blends into another. But not these, these offered such a delightful variety that I will remember them. What’s more, I thought that as these were limited edition flavours, that their House Collection would be somewhat subdued in comparison. Of course, I was wrong – you’ll get flavours such as Bumbleberry, Honey Hazelnut, Pistachios and Orange Truffle and Macadamia and Honey Praliné – delicious!!