I’m always interested to discover new chocolatiers, especially when they’re local to me. So it was with some excitement that I picked up this little bag of chocolates from the shelf of my local Budgens, which proudly proclaimed itself as being “made with love in Crouch End”.
And it was with some shock and disappointment that I put them back on the shelf having seen the price; a rather hopeful £6.99. For a bag of chocolates that are clearly homemade rather than just handmade.
But curiosity got the better of me and I decided to part with my money, just to see what Betsy & Bill had to offer.
The bag is packed with chocolates of all shapes and sizes, but they all use the same 60% dark chocolate, which makes them a rather monochromatic experience – at least until you start cutting them open.
Unfortunately, beyond listing the ingredients for the chocolate itself, the bag doesn’t give any clue as to what they contain. Suffice to say, there’s a bit of an artificial quality about some of them.
But from the moment you open the bag, one ingredient is clear; ginger. Somewhere in there is a ginger chocolate, which makes its presence known immediately. I’m usually quite a fan of ginger, but this isn’t a particularly pleasant aroma. Biting into a solid piece of dark chocolate confirms that the flavour has affected the whole bag. Everything tastes not just of ginger, but of nettles and random plant life.
When I did eventually find the ginger chocolate, it seemed to be a solid, raw piece of ginger that had been hand cut into shape before being covered in chocolate. It was moist, fibrous and peppery. Frankly it was overpowering and not pleasant.
Other chocolates included brightly coloured fondants which were rather too firm, a truffle that nearly broke my teeth, and random pieces of unidentifiable nuts in the bottom of the bag. But after biting into about half of the chocolate, I’m sad to say I ended up throwing most of this out.
I hate giving such negative reviews to people who have clearly invested a lot of time in their products, and I’m sure Betsy & Bill are lovely people. But frankly, this isn’t a suitable product to be selling for £7 in a supermarket. The chocolates are poor at best, the lack of packaging ensures that half of them are damaged, and the labeling is incomplete. At £7 for this bag of undisclosed weight, it’s one I recommend you steer clear of.