Danucci is a company based in Co. Louth, Ireland who have a chocolatier by the name of Michelle Lowth.
This little box contains five pieces – a Sea Salted Caramel (the shiny silver one), a Rustic Praline (the ridged one), Raspberry Ganache and a Brandy & Fig Truffle (the pink one) with a small ‘placqette’ of dark chocolate in the centre – a neat idea, as it gives one the opportunity to taste the couverture in it’s basic form.
It seemed to make sense to begin with the placqette. It’s only 40% cocoa (not much for dark chocolate) with a very pleasant initial acidity which quickly gives way to very pleasing bittersweet cocoa, slightly winey with good depth and a clean, slightly sharp finish.
The Sea Salted Caramel was always going to be something of a deal-breaker. We’ve tasted quite a few variations on this theme over the past couple of years, and everyone does them slightly differently. Denucci’s version has a good thick shell with a good snap to it. The caramel isn’t so runny that it’s a risk to clothing, but neither is it stodgy. It’s not the saltiest salted caramel I’ve tasted, and to be honest I could have taken a little more salt, but it’s well balanced, with the first wave of burnt sugar flavours softening off as it joins the melting chocolate for a very satisfying conclusion.
The Rustic Praline was thus named because the nuts (in his case Piedmont hazelnuts and almonds from Valencia) are coarsely ground, giving it a much more grainy texture. The flavours of the nuts are right up there, blending well with the dark chocolate. It’s very obvious that high quality ingredients are in use here, as the flavours are very bold and pronounced but never over the top. Praline lovers take note, although if you like yours smooth you may find this a little too ‘grainy’.
Up next, a Raspberry Ganache, dark chocolate and zingy raspberry in a fairly common pairing, but again done well with the fruity acidity being mellowed by the dark chocolate. Nothing too challenging here, but a well executed chocolate.
The final chocolate is a Brandy and Fig Truffle. Another dark shell is home to a lightly boozy fig & chocolate confection. I was surprised at how delicate the brandy was in relation to the other flavours. The truffle is full of little bits of brandy soaked fig, putting me in mind of the Skelligs Figs I had a couple of years back.
There’s a ‘mission statement’ from Michelle Lowth inside the box, wherein she states her intention to create chocolates that are delicately balanced in terms of flavour, and on this showing I’d have to agree. There’s nothing too avant-garde here, but these are indeed fine quality chocolates. Michelle has been working for Danucci since 2005 and has garnered numerous awards in that time.