It’s funny how you hear about new chocolatiers sometimes. Matcha were recommended to me twice in the space of the week, and just a few days later they got in touch via Twitter offering to send samples.
Matcha is based in Oxfordshire and the brainchild of Katie Christoffers who makes all her tea-themed chocolates by hand using fresh ingredients Valhrona chocolate. And first impressions are great. A quality red and pink box that looks very similar to the ones used by Chococo for their handmade chocolates.
The Emporor’s Selection contains sixteen chocolates in five varieties (all tea-based, of course). A little more variety might have been nice, but at least this way, you get to share the experience with a couple of friends.
The chocolates are:
A milk chocolate enrobed square of dark chocolate ganache with an infusion of Uji Matcha green tea.
This square chocolate, decorated with an edible transfer bares a strong resemblance to the work of Chococo or Lauden but has a wonderfully unusual flavour. The combination of dark chocolate chocolate ganache and Matcha tea has a wonderful, smoky, almost liquorice-like flavour. Very nice.
Jasmine Silver Needles
A white chocolate dome of white chocolate ganache infused with Jasmine green tea.
A very light and subtle chocolate, but a little too flowery for my taste. It somehow reminded me of my grandmother’s scented soaps, but that probably says more about me than it does about the chocolate. Lovers of flowery teas may rave over it, but this was my least favourite of the selection.
Milk chocolate ganache with black tea liqueur enrobed in a dark chocolate dome.
This is probably the one that people will love or hate the most. A large dome filled with a strong black tea liqueur ganache with an unusual smoky, sightly alcoholic flavour. Not being a fan of this kind of tea, this was my least favourite, but that’s probably because I’m simply not used to the flavour combinations. I’m sure there’ll be people who love it for exactly the same reasons that I didn’t enjoy it.
Milk chocolate ganache infused with Masala Chai enrobed in a dark chocolate dome and topped with crystalised ginger.
This Indian black tea ganache is absolutely packed with flavour. It’s infused with cinnamon, ginger, pepper, cloves and aniseed, all of which you can taste, but none of which overpower the rich dark chocolate. Luckily, you get four of these in the box, because it’s easily my favourite.
An all milk chocolate demi-dome infused with a blend of scented blackcurrant tea and Assam tea. Complimented by blackcurrant puree and topped with a dried blackcurrant.
The fruitiest of the selection, this chocolate has a lovely natural blackcurrant flavour, but as with the other chocolates, that flavour never overpowers the tea or rich milk chocolate. Not convinced the dried blackcurrant on top was entirely necessary and it’s a little little smaller than the rest of the chocolates.
The true tea lovers out there – and I know there are many of you – will love this selection. It’s a box of chocolates that’s been made with love and attention to detail. If you’re not particularly into your teas, then it will be a bit of an education for you, as it was for me.
The flavour combinations are expertly chosen, so that even someone like me can enjoy them. It’s the kind of chocolate you’ll want to share and talk about, rather than keep to yourself. I don’t know how big the market for tea-based chocolates is, but I’m so glad that someone is doing it. Even if you only try them once, I’d recommend giving these a try, because you won’t find these kinds of flavour combinations in your average box of chocolates.