I always love it when I discover someone doing something a bit different with chocolate. Whether it’s experimenting with unusual flavours or going to great length to source cocoa beans, it shows a passion for producing something special.
Black River Chocolate is a new company, making filled chocolates from single origin Jamaican cocoa beans. The company sources the beans in Jamaica then has them sent to Belgium where the chocolates are made. So while they don’t actually make the chocolate themselves, they have control over the process. More importantly, they’re one of only a few companies selling single origin Jamaican chocolate, and as far as I know, the only one making filled chocolates with it.
This little sample box was given to me at the South Bank Chocolate Festival, and I was keen to try them. In total, Black River make 20 different chocolates, but I have four to try; Calvados Ganache, Praline, Praline with Crème Brulée and Praline With Hazelnuts.
A nicely made dark chocolate decorated with a transfer on top. Thin chocolate and a soft ganache with just the right amount of alcohol. Difficult to pick up any specific flavour notes from the chocolate, but very tastey nonetheless.
A large sea-shell shaped dark chocolate filled with a sweet, peanut butter like praline. Although this is a bit sweeter than the chocolates I normally go for, it was very moreish. Lucky for me, I only had the one then!
Praline With Crème Brulée
An oval-shaped milk chocolate filled with a very light, creamy praline with small, crunchy crème brulée. This one was a bit too sweet for me, but I still found it pleasant. Still delicious, but I couldn’t manage more than one this time.
Praline With Hazelnuts
Another simple praline, but this time crunchy hazelnut pieces. Probably my favourite of the bunch, and another light, creamy praline that’s very easy to eat.
All in all, a very nice selection of chocolates, presented in a nice little box that closes with a magnetic catch (it’s the simple things that please me). For my tastes they are slightly too sweet, and I wasn’t able to pick out flavour notes in the chocolate itself. But the average consumer who is used to the likes of Hotel Chocolat and Thorntons isn’t going to care too much about that. They want well made, tasty chocolates. and these certainly fit the bill.
I think Black River is a great idea, and I’m certain they’ll be a success. I’d love to see them experiment and go in other directions, beyond these Belgian chocolates too. Perhaps some simple bars that show off the flavour of the chocolate itself, or maybe to work with some British chocolatiers using shorter shelf life ingredients to really enhance the flavour of the Jamaican cacao.
But whatever direction they decide to go in, I think the future is bright for Black River.