Who on earth is James Road? Or where is it? Is it a name or a place?
Such are the questions that spring to mind when presented with this box – a gift from the Lady of the House’s Big Sister. A quick internet search yields little, apart from James Road chocolates being sold by all manner of places selling gourmet indulgent food. The list makes exciting reading – chocolate apricots, chocolate strawberries, fudge cookies. Mmmmm….. mind you, it’s not cheap.
A bit more investigating shows these are made at the old Lobethal woollen mills. So there’s a story of renewal here as well. The mills were built when Australia made fortunes from sheep and exporting wool. Those same mills, and many others, were in decline by the 1970’s and finally closed in the 1990’s. Now those empty buildings are occupied by the niche cheese and chocolate makers.
But the gift, and the subject of today’s taste-test is the James Road Chocolate coated oranges. It’s worth quoting the box:
“Hand made from choice oranges, sliced and dried and dipped in smooth dark chocolate. A gourmet delight to indulge your friends and to enjoy at any time.”
Ingredients time: I’m totally confused. The ingredients list has oranges at 15%, milk solids at 10%, and the chocolate as 15% cocoa solids, BUT also gives the impression that it’s compounded chocolate because it contains vegetable fat. And how does 15% qualify as dark? And the above all adds up to 40%. Where is the other 60%? And what is it? Black holes perhaps? I know: Dark Matter!
(And that leads me to this weeks interesting aside: for the astronomy geeks out there. The universe is, it seems, not heavy enough. The folks-who-seem-to-know have coined the term “dark matter” to describe the bits that they can’t see or find but which must contain the missing weight. I think I know differently: perhaps the missing dark matter is in fact chocolate. As we eat it the universe gets lighter. Great theory! Tell all the small kids and see if you can convince them.)
The tasting is what really matters. Taking these out of the pack gives a whiff of orange. A bite and a look inside, shows that yes, this really does have dried orange inside and it’s truly delicious. I don’t care any more what the chocolate composition is (though the niggling part of me wants the Dark Matter thing resolved). These are divine. The orange almost shatters when you bit into a piece, the flavour is intense, the chocolate is rich and yummmmmmmmmy.
Get some today. Good stuff. Great present. Thanks big-sister-in-law!