Here’s a little collection of filled chocolates by Blackburn based chocolatier Daniel Coletta. Fittingly, these chocolates are from Daniel’s “Afternoon Tea” collection, as next week is National Afternoon Tea Week. You’ll be hearing a lot more than that over the next few days, but what better way to prepare than with a selection of themed chocolates!
Tart Au Citron
A white chocolate sphere with a white chocolate and lemon filling. The filling also seems to contain small pieces of pastry, which give it an unusual texture and a slightly doughy flavour. It’s a little odd, but actually very nice – a little like licking cookie dough out of the bowl.
Toast & Marmalade
A milk chocolate sphere rolled in toasted breadcrumbs with a centre of pure marmalade. I was expecting some kind of marmalade ganache, mixed with chocolate here, so was somewhat surprised to have a mouthful of orange marmalade as the thin shell melted. It’s very nice marmalade, but it’s a little like eating a big spoonful straight out of the jar. I can’t help but think a nice dark chocolate & marmalade ganache would have worked better here both in terms of flavour and texture.
Port & Stilton
A dark chocolate sphere with a dark ganache made with stilton and a hint of port. This one is a little unusual! All the elements are there and can be tasted, but it’s just a little too cheesy for me. I have to confess, I’m not a big stilton fan, but equally, I know people who would love this. One of my favourite chocolatiers, Paul A Young is known for a port & stilton chocolate, and I’m not that keen on that one either!
A simple milk chocolate cup with a Bakewell flavoured filling. This captures the flavour of an actual Bakewell tart quite accurately, but it’s a little sweet for my personal tastes.
Scottish Raspberry Caramel
A square chocolate with a gold finish and a raspberry caramel filling. The filling here is actually more of a thin raspberry jam than a caramel. There’s a good raspberry flavour, but again it’s a little sweet for me. I would have preferred a richer caramel with a just hint of raspberry.
Gin & Tonic
My favourite of the bunch. A simple dark chocolate ganache with subtle flavour. I probably wouldn’t have been able to identify the flavour as gin & tonic had I not been told, but it’s herbaceous and a little citrus and really quite enjoyable. If I had one issue with it it’s that there was quite a bit of air between the filling and the shell. That not only means that you get less, but I’m sure will also have an impact on shelf life.
Overall then, this is a pleasant little collection, but it does lack some of the attention to detail of the higher end artisan chocolates I’ve tried over the years. I didn’t get much of a sense of the actual chocolate used. Daniel is primarily using Belgian chocolate from Callebaut which is a good staple for chocolatiers, but often lacks more nuanced flavours that could be paired with the individual flavours.
I’m sure that with a little tweaking and refinement to the flavours and production process, they could be great. Then again, that would probably have an impact on price – something which can have a huge impact for a small chocolatier. At the moment, they’re the kind of chocolates I would happily consume and share, but they’re not quite at a level where I would buy them as a luxurious gift.