I’m always a little wary when supermarkets send their own brand chocolate samples, so when Asda asked if we could review their latest “The Collection” (imaginative name) chocolates in time for Valentines Day, I can’t say I was looking forward to them – particularly in light of the awful Easter eggs they sent us last year.
This time, they sent a variety of things to try. Two boxes of six “truffle selection” chocolates, a long thin box of eight milk chocolate truffles, a 150g box of gianduiotti and a 100g pack of gianduja hearts.
First impressions… well, better. The packaging is simple, fairly elegant and a marked improvement on the Easter eggs. They do still say Asda on the back, but the lettering is small enough that I wouldn’t be overly offended if I received these as a gift.
There’s another surprise on the back as well – most of these – with the exception of the milk chocolate truffles – seem to be made with real chocolate (no added vegetable fats and real vanilla) and everything – again with the exception of the milk chocolate truffles – have the name of the manufacturer as well (either Lessiter’s or La Suissa). Score one for better-than-average labelling.
I decided to try the badly labeled milk chocolate truffles first. The long, thin box is decorated with a pretty rose, but has no maker on it. The ingredients of the chocolate aren’t listed separately from the filling, but both “vegetable oil” and “vegetable fat” are listed high up on the ingredients, which means I have to assume these contain nasty, horrible palm oil.
And unfortunately it turns out this is another of Asda’s diabetic coma inducing confections. It’s almost impossibly sweet. Sweeter than eating golden syrup out of the tin with a spoon. A spoon made entirely of sugar. I have no idea how they managed it, but one chocolate was all I could manage before the box went in the bin. Do not buy these.
Feeling disheartened, I moved on to the boxes of six assorted truffles next. Made by Lessiter’s, these are much more palatable. The long shelf life means they’re still not a patch on truffles made with fresh cream, but they’re quite edible, even if a little too sweet for my tastes.
Finally, the gianduja hearts and gianduiotti, both made by La Suissa. For me, these are the best of the bunch, both in terms of presentation and flavour. But being basically just hazelnuts, sugar and milk chocolate, you’re only going to really like them if you’re a bit of a nut fan.
So, with the exception of the milk chocolate truffles, an improvement from the (admittedly limited) selection of Asda chocolates in the past. But they’ve still got a long, long way to go before I’d consider recommending them. Consider them an emergency “Sorry I forgot Valentine’s Day” gift, rather than something to make any kind of impact. If you want to do that, head down to your local chocolate shop and pick up something fresh and hand made.