Derry Church Artisan Chocolates has an interesting history. Pastry chef and chocolatier Eric Cayton grew up around Hershey, Pennsylvania, where he grew to admire none other than Milton S. Hershey’s work. He eventually started the Derry Church company to fulfill his chocolate passion. Eric has sent me nine of their bon bons, which are all handmade without artificial flavors of preservatives. The packaging is simple, two black boxes held together by an off-white band with the small town style logo. The chocolates are nice-looking, as well. Moving clockwise, we have:
Derry Church – A good-sized 3-part milk chocolate with dulce de leche caramel. The caramel is very pale and tastes more like toffee than the average caramel, but is good. The milk chocolate is high quality, and though it looks like it would be thick, a little more wouldn’t hurt the combination.
London – Butter toffee sandwiched between 70% dark chocolate and roasted almonds. It’s the almonds that lead the flavor with a slightly bitter tone. The toffee, which is even paler than the caramel, is compared to “very thin glass,” and from getting at it in isolation, I agree. It would be nice to have more focus on it, yet it does act as a pleasant accent with the chocolate to the almonds, flavor and texture-wise.
Tangier – African honey and tangerine juice with cumin and cayenne chili. The picture shows a milk chocolate, but mine was dark. The quick-melting ganache is strong with the sweetness of the honey, the tang of the tangerine, and the warmth of the spices before it gives way to the chocolate. Similar to a passionfruit, but I found it superior with its less biting approach.
Paris – Homemade strawberry jam and French white chocolate buttercream in a ruffled and lacy dark chocolate mold. The filling is very light and airy, buttery with a smaller strawberry taste than I’d expected. The balance is fitting, though, in its delicacy; it’s the balance with the chocolate that could be improved. The filling mostly dissolves before they can work together much.
Savannah – Peaches made into a white chocolate ganache, put in a dark chocolate cup, topped with brown sugar, toasted oats, and white chocolate. It’s very pretty, like a mini dessert. The peaches are fresh and warm-tasting, with the crumbly oats and chocolate accenting their flavor.
Plymouth – “Smooth, creamy pumpkin caramel with just a hint of pumpkin pie spice” in dark chocolate. It’s a miraculously quick answer to my request for a pumpkin chocolate a couple weeks ago. Essentially, it’s pumpkin pie wrapped in dark chocolate, just with a less solid texture. The familiar flavor would make for a good Thanksgiving chocolate.
Burlington – Vermont maple syrup in a milk chocolate ganache with an oven-roasted pecan on top. Perfect flavors for this time of year. Maple syrup is very sweet, but it works with the milk chocolate in a way to keep everything balanced, with the pecan giving a nice touch.
Dublin – Bailey’s and arabica coffee in a milk chocolate ganache. A smooth blending of the three flavors into a long-lasting taste. Good, but nothing new.
Veracruz – Vanilla beans and cream infused to a white chocolate ganache and set on dark chocolate. A tiny thing, like a small flower. The air-exposed part of the ganache is stiff, but this doesn’t do any harm. I’m enjoying the raw vanilla flavor.
Overall, a nice set. The $18 price tag is a bit high, though, in comparison to other offerings. These don’t pop out enough yet for $18. I’ll still recommend them as pleasant handmade chocolates, but I would do so more wholeheartedly if that price went down.