Cloud Cocoland came to my attention last week, when they came joint top of The Guardian’s Christmas chocolate taste test. They tied with Fortnum & Mason and Rococo, and beat the likes of Demarquette and Baruzzo. This was a bit of a surprise, to say the least, but a few days later, I had a box in my possession to try for myself.
The first thing I noticed was the presentation. From the outset, these have the appearance of a home made product. The box is nice enough, but it’s generic, unbranded (apart from the included card) and simply decorated with a ribbon. The menu for the chocolates is a sticker on the inside of the lid.
Whether or not you like that approach will likely depend on the kind of gift you’re looking for. They definitely don’t have the refined artisan touch of some of the others in the The Guardian’s test, but if you’re looking for something with a personal, home made touch, these might fit the bill.
The look of the actual chocolates reflects the packaging. They’re pretty, but uneven, with many having ‘feet’ where the molten chocolate has succumbed to gravity. This is something I would have expected The Guardian’s test to at least mention, given the immaculate appearance of the likes of Rococo, Demarquette and Baruzzo. But it was a taste test, rather than an appearnace test, so let’s move on to the flavours.
We have Panettone Xmas Pud, Stem Ginger Truffle, Pecan Truffle, Cranberry Truffle, Star Praline, Snowflake Praline and Golden Damsen Cup. Trish Hawkins, the brains behind Cloud Cocoland tells me that most of the ingredients used are organic and/or fair trade with no preservatives, and that does come through in the flavours.
While the chocolate itself seems to be fairly standard (I assume Belgian) couverture, the fillings are rather tasty. I wasn’t a big fan of the extra large Golden Damson Cup, but the other flavours were fresh, well matched and rather nice. Some of the ganaches were a little firm for my liking, but that’s a minor issue.
Based on taste alone, Cloud Cocoland deserve a place on The Guardian’s list, but with so many beautiful, fresh, artisan chocolates to choose from, I’d like to see a little more attention to detail in terms of presentation. If you’re looking for a chocolate Christmas gift with that rustic, home made look, then they’re perfect.