Occasional Chocablogger Sylvia first drew my attention to ‘Beyond Chocolate’ a couple of weeks ago. Neither of us had heard of them (or their creator Simon Boyle), but we both agreed their web site was… how can I put this delicately… awful.
Once you get past the rather scary sounding ‘Beyond Boyle’ name, the man behind the questionable branding comes across as arrogant and annoying. He may in fact be a lovely chap, but his own web site doesn’t do much to promote that idea.
Despite my reservations, I headed to Waitrose to pick up a box. Thanks to the same text-heavy “branding” as the web site I spotted them on the shelf quite easily. Then I saw the price. “Introductory Offer: £6.49″. That’s for a 136g box of supermarket truffles. Ouch.
I very nearly put the box back and walked away, but forced myself to hold on to it – and actually pay for it.
I tried to find the ingredients, but with so much text on the box, it was difficult to find. And when I did mange to locate it, it was written in a bizarre, flowery and totally unnecessary language; “scoop of caster sugar”, “drizzle of glucose syrup”, “pinch of sorbitol” and for some reason “splash of vodka”.
By the time I came to open the box, I was so annoyed with the pretentiousness of it all that I was ready to stab someone. Luckily, Mr Boyle puts his own photo on the box (not once but twice), so I was able to relieve some of the stress before getting down to trying the chocolates.
The truffles themselves remind me of the Gorvett & Stone dark chocolate truffles I tried during Chocolate Week. They’re a similar size and shape and dusted with 100% cocoa powder. The difference is, the Gorvett & Stone truffles were slightly cheaper, packaged much better, and not made with ingredients that allow them to sit on a supermarket shelf for three months.
Taste-wise, they’re pretty good (a fact which I found vaguely annoying). As you’d expect, the 100% cocoa powder dusting is a little bitter and dry, but that soon gives way to the sweeter 60% chocolate shell, which then melts away to a rather pleasant truffle filling that actually tastes like real oranges.
I found myself quite enjoying them – not enough to scoff the whole box (the sign of truly great chocolate) – but I managed to get through nearly half of them before sitting down to write the review.
In the end, it’s a shame these are so expensive and have such horrible branding. They’re nice chocolates, but Mr Boyle has priced himself out of the market and chosen to plaster his product with self promoting nonsense rather keeping things simple. For that reason, I can’t recommend them.