Club Chocolat Français is, as you might have guessed, a French chocolate club. It operates along the same lines as Hotel Chocolat’s Chocolate Tasting Club. They’ve recently launched in the UK and they sent us a box to try.
The club offers 3 month, 6 month and annual subscriptions at £19.95 per month. At least I assume that’s the “per month” price, as the website lists all subscription options for the same price, rather than giving the total cost of the subscription. For your money, you get a 320g box of assorted chocolates delivered every month.
The first thing I noticed about my box was that it didn’t look very French. I usually associate French chocolates with style and sophistication, but these are presented in a very ordinary looking purple and blue box. Inside, the purple plastic insert that holds the chocolates is made from a very cheap, thin plastic.
Of course, packaging isn’t everything, but first impressions do count and frankly these look cheap. There’s also some scuffing and a hint of blooming on some of the chocolates, which doesn’t help with the appearance.
The label on the bottom of the box tells me that the dark chocolates are 70% cocoa solids and the milk chocolates are 36%, which is pretty good. There’s a few solid chocolate pieces to try, so I started off trying to get a feel for the chocolate. The milk chocolate is passable, but the 70% dark has no real flavour at all. It’s bitter and dry and has very little going for it.
Many of the chocolates have praline fillings, which do at least add some texture and flavour to the chocolate, but they’re not really my thing.
I picked up a white chocolate heart, and noticed it had leaked red goo into the plastic tray below, but I took a bite anyway. Inside the thin white chocolate shell was a rather cheap strawberry that immediately flowed out. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a chocolate simply filled with jam before. And now I know why.
I had higher hopes for the dark chocolate framboise, but again, this turned out simply to be filled with jam. It was a little better though, not being quite as sweet and working better with the dark chocolate.
The square chocolate pralines decorated with sugar coated candies in the centre of the box did turn out to be quite pleasant, but they were the highlight of a selection that is at best uninteresting.
Unfortunately then, I can’t recommend these. If you have £20 a month to spend on chocolates, there are much, much better options available, and unless Club Chocolat Français seriously up their game, I can’t see it catching on over here.