I had already been in possession of these rather lovely looking chocolates for a little while when Dom and I met Stephen Trigg, co-owner of Lauden (and a lovely bloke) at the Chocolate Unwrapped event last weekend. As you can see from the photo, Lauden use edible transfers to give identity to their chocolates (and occasionally Stephen gets them wrong – much to his wife’s annoyance, as he confessed to us!) so tasting Lauden chocolates means matching designs to pictures on the menu.
The twelve chocolates I was sent included the already-reviewed salted caramel (which is why it isn’t in the photo – I gave it to a friend to try) and the Single Origin, leaving me with ten new flavours to tackle.
The other ten chocolates were, as I had expected, of a similarly high standard to our two ‘teasers’ I had previously tried. There were some that stood out more than others, but the whole selection was delightful – Stephen and Sun Trigg are making some great chocolates.
It’s been a while since I had a lemon chocolate, and this one had a light, delicate cream filling which contained minute fragments of lemon peel, giving a lovely tart-yet-sweet combination of flavours reminiscent of a really good lemon meringue filling with a chocolate finish. A definite winner.
The Marc de Champagne had a dark chocolate centre with light alcoholic overtones which build to a heady, winey crescendo before melting away and allowing the dark chocolate shell to finish off proceedings. If you enjoy alcohol and chocolate then you ought to try this one.
Like it’s predecessor, the Spearmint chocolate held it’s flavours in a dark truffle centre. I really enjoyed this pairing – the spearmint feels fresh and natural and makes a great partner for the dark cocoa flavours of both filling and shell. At no time did it feel as though I was eating anything chemical or concentrated. Great balance of flavours and a fresh minty finish. A slight twist on an old classic, done extremely well.
The Passion Fruit chocolate had a more solid feeling, thicker filling with slowly developing Passion Fruit flavours which allowed the chocolate to melt before the fruit tastes take over. However, because the filling melts quickly the fruit flavours peak and fade before the chocolate shell is finished, giving the dark cocoa flavours a chance to shine at the finish.
This Rose & Lychee chocolate had me intrigued before I tasted it.
In my mind I could see how the lychee would work as a counter to the (potentially overpowering) rose flavours, and I was not disappointed. Exquisitely light floral notes start things off before the more subtle flavours of the lychee come in to to temper the floral flavours. It’s a magical combination of flavours, and had me wishing for more as soon as I’d finished it. The balance is perfect.
When we met Stephen, I was waxing lyrical about this one to Dom, which prompted Stephen to tell me that this is their most expensive chocolate to produce. Apparently Sun had rejected numerous rose oils before settling on one that costs something like £1000 for 100ml! He also told me that the lychee flavour requires a huge amount of fruit to create. Well worth all the trouble though – this is flagship material.
The Mediterranean Orange chocolate had a filling with a consistency somewhere between the Passion Fruit and the Rose & Lychee. As soon as I bit into it I was hit with a burst of bittersweet, fresh orange flavour. This was so different from a lot of chocolate/orange pairings – the fruit was fresh, alive, and full of sunshine. It never became too sweet, and never tasted artificial or cloying. It left my mouth clean and refreshed, and wanting more.
After the triumphant pairing of Rose & Lychee, the Raspberry and Rose was always going to be a second best. The centre is more jelly-like, and again it isn’t too Rose-y. I found myself wishing I’d tasted this before the Rose & Lychee, because it is a very good chocolate. It’s just that the Rose & Lychee was so fantastic that I found myself wishing I’d had another one to try!
A Blackcurrant and Redcurrant chocolate was another well balanced combination. The blackcurrant never took over, and the redcurrant tempered the sharpness verey well. I was surprised to find seeds and peel in the filling (most of the previous chocolates had smooth fillings) , but obviously fresh fruit was used. A good berry combination – fresh, clean and with a touch of blackcurrant zing.
Lauden’s fine chocolates are just that – fine chocolates. This is of course reflected in the price (at £8.00 or so for a dozen they’re definitely special treats) but the quality of the ingredients shines through in all of their creations. As a small chocolate maker, Stephen and Sun Trigg can still maintain their high standards, as they are involved at every step. As Stephen said to me, the next phase will be interesting for them – upscaling production while maintaining their high standards. I wish them every success and recommend you try some of these rather lovely chocolates.