Harrods may not be a name you would normally associate with chocolate, but this year the department store has an extensive Valentine’s range, from chocolatiers large and small, including some own-brand offerings like this.
We’ve never reviewed any Harrods branded chocolates before, so I was keen to see if they could live up to the store’s luxury image.
Obviously, the packaging is what you’re going to notice first, and as you can see, it’s really rather nice. Made from a thick red card with gold embossing, it certainly looks the part. The Harrods name adds a certain something to the feel too of course.
Inside though, it’s a fairly standard looking box of Belgian, with the chocolates squeezed in with no room to spare.
The important thing to keep in mind here is the difference between Belgian chocolates like these and ‘fresh’ chocolates that you might find at your local artisan chocolatier. These chocolates are designed to have a fairly long shelf life (4 months in this case), and as such they use preservatives and don’t feature ingredients like fresh cream, which would have a shelf life of no more than a couple of weeks.
That doesn’t have to be an issue, but it’s always worth keeping in mind. Long shelf life chocolates like these rarely taste as good as ones made with fresh, local ingredients. So I’ll be comparing these to the likes of Hotel Chocolat or Thorntons, rather than Paul A Young or William Curley.
With that in mind, I decided to dive in. There’s no menu as such, but there’s a nice selection, with two of most flavours. That’s a simple thing that goes a long way to making a box of chocolates a shareable experience. The only exception is the foil-wrapped red heart in the centre of the box, which turns out to be a fairly average praline.
I happily worked my way through each chocolate in the box, but after a while, I was finding the sugar level a bit hard going. Some of the centres are also a little dry for my liking.
I think these chocolates would suit someone with a much sweeter tooth than me. While I didn’t dislike them, it’s really tough to justify the price when there are just too many small artisan producers making nicer chocolates – some of them are even available in Harrods.
At £27.95 for 240g of Belgian chocolates, you’re clearly paying a premium for the Harrods name. Having had a preview of the Valentines range available in store, I can say that they have some quality chocolates and wonderful patisserie on offer. I don’t think I would part with quite so much of my hard earned money for this particular box though.