As I was meandering around the Speciality & Fine Food Fair in London a couple of months ago, my eye was drawn to the rather jolly graphics on The London Chocolate Company’s stand. Their eye catching little chocolate guard logo had me smiling before I reached the stand and after a brief chat with one of the founders – Jay Rawal – I came away with a couple of sample boxes.
The company was started after the London Olympics, but parent company Devnaa have been making chocolates since 2006. The couverture used is Callebaut, so my real interest was in the filling and flavour.
Described as ‘Smooth milk chocolate truffles infused with fragrant Earl Grey tea’, these are certainly fragrant. As I raised one to my mouth I was immediately hit with the bergamot scent of the Earl Grey Tea. It was subtle and sweet and suggested that the flavours contained within this little ball were not going to be backwards in coming forwards.
As I bit down through the thick milk chocolate shell the sweet flavours of the truffle centre came bursting out, flooding my mouth with a mixture of sweet and aromatic flavours. Happily the Earl Grey was well balanced and never overpowering, as Bergamot can sometimes be. There’s a lot of sweetness there though, possibly a little too much for my tastes but I’m known for not really having that much of a sweet tooth anymore.
The Salt & Vinegar Truffles looked like they were going to be a bit more to my taste. A dark chocolate shell lightly sprinkled with sea salt and a white ganache containing balsamic vinegar seemed much more like the sort of thing I would like.
These darker truffles were considerably less ‘in your face’ than their milkier counterparts with just a hint of chocolate aroma. The small amount of sea salt visible on the shell was another encouraging sign, and my first bite into the shell had that lovely sweet/salt combination going on. When it came to the filling though, I found myself wondering where the vinegar was. It’s a slightly sweet, very light ganache but it just seemed to lack the necessary bite to justify the name.
There’s no information about cacao content on the packaging, and I suspect that the couverture used is a fairly standard 35-40% milk and 60-70% dark.
The shock came when I went to their website for pricing information. At almost a pound a piece, these chocolates can only be described as overpriced. There are much, much better chocolates to be had for similar (or even less) money which makes these a triumph of style over content. I have a feeling that unless The London Chocolate Company lower their retail prices or up the quality of their chocolates they’re never going to be much more than a tourist souvenir.