Heston Blumenthal seems to be putting his name to just about everything lately. Half the utensils in my kitchen have his name on, and I’m fairly sure it’s only a matter of time before we see Heston toothbrushes, shower gel and toilet cleaner. Mark my words.
So it’s no real surprise to see his name on this box of 15 chocolates from his favourite supermarket, Waitrose. There are 7 different chocolates in the box; a selection of caramels, pralines and other filled chocolates.
But the first thing that I noticed about this box was that it felt a little cheap. It just doesn’t have the feel of a high end product to it. Inside lies a flimsy plastic insert and some quite average looking chocolates. A little disappointing, all things considered.
But let’s move on to the chocolate. The flavours are:
Earl Grey & Lemon
A pleasant 70% dark chocolate square with a soft, smooth lemon & bergamot filling. The flavours are well balanced, if a little strong, and I found the chocolate shell a little too thick, but generally a very pleasant chocolate.
A small globe of dark chocolate with a liquid caramel centre. I say caramel, but this is actually closer to a fruity syrup. It’s very sweet and runny, and the flavour is a bit artificial. I enjoyed one, but it was a little too sweet to want a second.
A 35% milk chocolate globe with a liquid muscovado caramel filling. Of course, the gold-standard for muscovado caramels is Paul A Young, and Heston’s version just doesn’t cut it for me. The muscovado flavour is clear, but as with the mandarin caramel, it’s more of a sugar syrup than an actual caramel, and is far too sweet when paired with a milk chocolate shell.
Black Forest Gateau
Not really a BFG at all, but an intense cherry chocolate with a soft, almost liquid filling. This has some unusual smoky, tobacco flavour notes, but it’s mainly an intense cherry hit. And that’s fine with me.
Thyme and Rosemary
A soft, smooth and very pleasant ganache with a classic flavour combination. It’s uncomplicated, but my favourite chocolate in the box.
A sweet white chocolate square with a praline filling that tasted more like cat food than macadamia to me. Odd, but true. And not very nice.
Another very sweet, very liquid caramel. The box describes it as “subtle yet firey” (I’m not sure how that works), but to me it just tastes like thyme.
Overall, there are some great flavour ideas here, they’re ultimately let down by the execution. They’re modern, without being challenging, which is probably the perfect positioning for a Waitrose audience, but the caramels are universally far too sweet (and aren’t really caramels at all), and I really don’t know what’s going on with the cat-food-macadamia.
In terms of quality, they fall squarely into the “supermarket chocolate” category rather than the “Heston chocolate” category, and that’s a bit of a shame, especially when you take the £13.50 price tag into account.