In case you weren’t aware (in which case there’s a good chance you’re male and possibly single) Valentines Day will soon be upon us once again, and chocolate manufacturers all over the world have been getting the heart shaped moulds out and investing in all things pink. James Hutchins is no exception, and this little box of ten pink hearts is one of his Valentines offerings.
This slender little box contains ten pieces arranged in pairs in petits fours cases. There’s no indication of cocoa content on the packaging, just a list of ingredients which begins with ‘sugar’ and includes cocoa butter and 5% freeze dried raspberries (but doesn’t include any nasties, I hasten to add). I liked the slight marbling effect on each heart as it gives them an individual feel.
When it came to the tasting I was surprised at how sweet these little hearts are. I know I don;t have a big sweet tooth, but these things were shockingly sweet at first bite. The raspberries do go some way towards cutting that sweetness, but they’re vastly outgunned by the white chocolate. Yes, these are indeed sweethearts. Once the white chocolate has melted away you’re left with another potentially off-putting texture to deal with – raspberry seeds. Because whole freeze dried raspberries were used, the seeds remain in the mix.
You’re either going to be unconcerned by this, or you may find it intensely irritating, because that’s what having a small clump of raspberry seeds will do.
As is my wont I took them out with me and tried them on a few self-confessed chocolate lovers, and the first reaction was almost universal – everyone commented on how sweet they were. Only one other person mentioned not liking the raspberry seeds, so perhaps that’s not such a big issue, but making these hearts so sweet means they’re definitely not to everyone’s taste. Having said that, at £4 a box they’re quite likely to be bought by the younger lover, and as we know the palate changes over time so such a sweet confection might have more appeal.
James Chocolates are clearly making reasonably priced chocolates with interesting ingredients at reasonable prices, and when you look at the packaging, presentation and ingredients they compare well (and sometimes completely outdo) other companies with similarly marketed products. For example, I would much rather someone gave me some James Chocolate than anything from say one of the big manufacturers or Kshocolat. That said. I couldn’t possibly have eaten more of these hearts than was required for tasting purposes. They really are that sweet.
These hearts (and most of his other products) are available from the James Chocolates web site, as well as numerous other stores including John Lewis.