Reviewing chocolate all day is of course, a fantastic job. But it does have its down sides. One of the biggest is that I can never leave the house because I’m always expecting a chocolate delivery and someone has to answer the door to the postman/courier.
So this idea intrigued me. A box of chocolates that’s pretty much guaranteed to fit through your letterbox. Send it to anyone you like and you can be fairly certain that you won’t have caused them headache and disruption by having to arrange a re-delivery or driving to the sorting office simply because your little gift arrived while they were at work.
This particular box arrived while I was up in Derbyshire visiting the Thorntons Factory, and apparently fit through my letterbox with ease. Upon opening, I was greeted by this… er… timely “Merry Christmas” message. Clearly I’ve been sent leftovers, which is fine (they hadn’t passed their use-by date), but not a great first impression.
I then spent the next 10 minutes trying to figure out the instructions which cover most of the packaging. Instructions on how to fold and manipulate the box in order to send them to someone. It’s all horribly confusing, in multiple languages, and clearly not helped by the fact that these had already been sent to someone – me.
Suddenly, a great idea turns into something over-complicated and frustrating. If these are being bought online to send to someone else, you should be able to get them to deliver direct via the web site. And if they’re being sold to give away to someone in person, then all those confusing instructions should come away so the recipient gets a nice, pretty box of chocolates.
Instead, we have what looks like a chocolate origami class.
Onto the chocolates themselves. There’s no description of what they are, but there are four each of four varieties. Two milk, one white, one dark. Remove the cellophane wrapper from the tray and you’re greeted by a strongly alcoholic smell. If you’re planning on sending these to someone who can’t/won’t touch alcohol, you can forget it. The ingredients are listed on the web site, but they’re easy to miss.
Ingredients: Sugar, Cocoa butter, Whole milk powder, Cocoa mass, Vegetable fat, Hazelnuts, Water, Flavourings, Skimmed cocoa powder, Alcohol, Liquid invert sugar syrup, Glucose syrup, Dextrose, Emulsifier(E322 Lecithin, E471 Mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids), Skimmed milk powder, Milkfat (anhydrous), Vegetable oil, Butter, Fructose, Coffee, Colour(E160a Carotene, E110 Orange yellow S, E129 Allura red AC), Thickener(E440a Pectin), Acid(E330 Citric Acid)
Taste-wise, they’re OK but nothing to write home about (Useless Puns ‘R’ Us). The Belgian chocolate is smooth and glossy, but they’re all quite sweet. The alcohol in one of the milk chocolates is overpoweringly strong, but the flavours are quite pleasant.
It would have been nice to see a little more variation in the chocolates themselves. If you don’t like one particular chocolate, that’s a quarter of the box gone in one go. Although at only 80g in total, you don’t get much if you do happen to like them either.
And that brings me to my final complaint – the price. £9 (plus postage) for an 80g box of mass produced chocolates is, frankly, outrageous. It’s also a little bit off that they charge £1 for postage, when the stamp on the box says they paid 72p. And there’s no extra packaging around the box to pay for either.
All in all, this is a great concept, let down by poor execution and a silly price. If they come back with more variety, simpler packaging and half the price, then they might have potential, but I certainly wouldn’t recommend them in their current form.