Hemgården Archipelago Handmade Chocolates

Posted by in Chocolate Reviews on July 10 2012 | Leave A Comment

This is a somewhat more upmarket selection of fruity truffles from my recent trip to Finland. The rather charming illustration on the box gives the buyer a fairly good idea of what’s inside – four types of fruit based truffles made using ingredients from the Kvarken Archipelago, a World Nature Heritage listed zone with the fastest rising new land mass in the world. According to the booklet included with the box, it’s the berries which grow in this region that give these truffles such exquisite flavours.

There are four different types of truffle in this selection – Sea Buckthorn, Blueberry, Cranberry and Crowberry, all of which are rich in Vitamins, amino acids, proteins & antioxidants. The booklet tells you a little about where the berries can be found and at what time of year, and explains which berries have what properties. Most of us know about Blueberry and Cranberry – indeed the Blueberry was quite recently being touted as another superfood – but the Sea Buckthorn and Crowberry are relatively new to me (although I do recall drinking some sort of Crowberry alcoholic drink once).

According to the booklet, the Sea Buckthorn was one of the first plants to establish itself on the archipelago, and the berries are used in alternative medicines due to their high antioxidant content and healing oil. In combination with the dark chocolate truffle the fruit is subtle yet clearly ‘there’ with light, clean overtones that sit nicely over the deeper chocolate flavours. There’s a distinct citrus tang to this truffle, with the fruitiness persisting to the very last notes of a long, clean finish.

After the bright. light flavours of Sea Buckthorn, the Blueberry chocolate is a somewhat more measured affair. The fruit blends very well with the chocolate and I found the combination of Blueberry & chocolate very enjoyable indeed. It’s not as vibrant as the previous truffle, but those fruit flavours still persist to the end.

Of the four, I expected the Cranberry to be the most tart of the four, and it’s fair to say that it is also the most subtly flavoured of the four. There’s a cittrus tang there but it sits lower that the previous two, allowing more of the chocolate flavour to come through. The finish is very much about both flavours, with more cacao notes coming through from this one.

The Crowberry truffle was almost like a brighter version of the Blueberry, perhaps not as pronounced as the Blueberry (they do have quite a powerful flavour after all) but with more citrussy highs and slightly more acidity but less punch than the Blueberry or Sea Buckthorn. It was quite a subtle mixture of flavours, with the real fruit flavour coming through really well as the chocolate faded away at the finish.

These chocolates are sold as a premium product at Helsinki airport as part of a ‘Tastes of Finland’ type shopping area. I am happy to report that they live up to my expectations, which may be a little unusual for ‘souvenir’ chocolate, but it’s pretty obvious that Hemgården have taken the time and trouble to get these truffles ‘just right’. I would have liked ore information about the type of chocolate and cacao percentages (none of which is on any packaging) because all I can do is hazard a guess that the chocolate is around 60-70% cacao. I liked the idea of using four berries from one region to create a box of uniquely Finnish truffles and I think it works well. If you ever happen to find yourself in Helsinki I’d recommend tracking these down – they’re much more fun than a giant Toblerone or a big box of M&Ms.

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