Strangely, the only things we’ve ever reviewed from Charbonnel et Walker are boxes of truffles. It’s what they’re most known for and they don’t seem to like to stray too far into the world of “new” and “exciting”.
I recently found this box on my dining table the other day. I’ve no idea where they came from – presumably one of the umpteen goody bags I’ve picked up pre Chocolate Week… did I mention how hard a Chocablogger’s life is? Anyway, as we’ve not talked much about Charbonnel lately, and this is a week for celebrating British chocolate, I thought I’d give them a go.
Looking at the Charbonnel web site, these are new for Chocolate Week, which is presumably how they ended up on my dining table. They’re described as “a delicious handmade creation of white chocolate, butter, and natural vanilla extracts”.
The Charbonnel site mentions butter several times, but thankfully, the ingredients on my box just mention cocoa butter. Unfortunately, they also mention a few other things like sodium phosphates, vitamin D, vodka and glucose syrup.
Your average fresh truffle would be made simply of cream and chocolate, but all that added stuff helps give these a longer shelf life – at least 5 months in this case. Unfortunately, with chocolates designed to last that long, you lose any sense of freshness. Why would you want to keep a box of chocolates for 5 months anyway?
The result is a truffle that tastes as though it could already have been on the shelf for that long. It’s not horrible, just very, very bland. The centres are thick and firm rather than light and creamy, and the white chocolate is average at best.
You can buy these online from Charbonnel’s web site, or in their Mayfair store, but I can’t recommend them. If you want to try something, go for the pink champagne truffles instead. They’re much nicer and have strong enough flavours that they can overcome some of that blandness, but I’m not convinced they’re worth £11.50 for 9 small long-life chocolates, even with the best of their range.