Beyond Chocolate Caramelised Orange Truffles

Posted by in Chocolate Reviews on December 13 2009 | Leave A Comment
Beyond Chocolate Caramelised Orange Truffles

Occasional Chocablogger Sylvia first drew my attention to ‘Beyond Chocolate’ a couple of weeks ago. Neither of us had heard of them (or their creator Simon Boyle), but we both agreed their web site was… how can I put this delicately… awful.

Once you get past the rather scary sounding ‘Beyond Boyle’ name, the man behind the questionable branding comes across as arrogant and annoying. He may in fact be a lovely chap, but his own web site doesn’t do much to promote that idea.

Despite my reservations, I headed to Waitrose to pick up a box. Thanks to the same text-heavy “branding” as the web site I spotted them on the shelf quite easily. Then I saw the price. “Introductory Offer: £6.49”. That’s for a 136g box of supermarket truffles. Ouch.

I very nearly put the box back and walked away, but forced myself to hold on to it – and actually pay for it.

Beyond Chocolate Caramelised Orange Truffles

I tried to find the ingredients, but with so much text on the box, it was difficult to find. And when I did mange to locate it, it was written in a bizarre, flowery and totally unnecessary language; “scoop of caster sugar”, “drizzle of glucose syrup”, “pinch of sorbitol” and for some reason “splash of vodka”.

By the time I came to open the box, I was so annoyed with the pretentiousness of it all that I was ready to stab someone. Luckily, Mr Boyle puts his own photo on the box (not once but twice), so I was able to relieve some of the stress before getting down to trying the chocolates.

Beyond Chocolate Caramelised Orange Truffles

The truffles themselves remind me of the Gorvett & Stone dark chocolate truffles I tried during Chocolate Week. They’re a similar size and shape and dusted with 100% cocoa powder. The difference is, the Gorvett & Stone truffles were slightly cheaper, packaged much better, and not made with ingredients that allow them to sit on a supermarket shelf for three months.

Taste-wise, they’re pretty good (a fact which I found vaguely annoying). As you’d expect, the 100% cocoa powder dusting is a little bitter and dry, but that soon gives way to the sweeter 60% chocolate shell, which then melts away to a rather pleasant truffle filling that actually tastes like real oranges.

I found myself quite enjoying them – not enough to scoff the whole box (the sign of truly great chocolate) – but I managed to get through nearly half of them before sitting down to write the review.

In the end, it’s a shame these are so expensive and have such horrible branding. They’re nice chocolates, but Mr Boyle has priced himself out of the market and chosen to plaster his product with self promoting nonsense rather keeping things simple. For that reason, I can’t recommend them.


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Comments On This Post

  1. Michael

    Yikes – how can they possibly justify charging that much? And even if they are tasty, the whole “pinch of sorbitol” is enough to make me pick something else up…

  2. JJ

    I think the branding is actually quite lovely and makes such a welcome change from the standard red and black packaging with all those ghastly bows. Eurgh, no thanks!

    I’ve also tried the chocolates and they taste incredible, the caramelised orange is my favourite.

    The thing that really makes these truffles stand out is that they fund training courses for people that have experienced homelessness – which it states clearly in a concise paragraph on the back of the box.

    Considering most chocolate companies out there (apart from Divine, Green & Blacks) are highly unethical, I think these choccies deserve some praise.

    I wasn’t sure what sorbitol was but after looking it up, its a sugar substitute which ‘occurs naturally in many stone fruits and berries from trees of the genus Sorbus.’ Not so bad after all eh?

  3. Michael

    Oh I know what sorbitol is, so that wasn’t the issue. The fact that it is there as an artificial sweetener was the problem and no amount of cute, fluffy language will cover that up.
    As for giving money to charity. That’s awesome, but it doesn’t really impress me. I’d prefer they used ethical ingredients and sold it at a reasonable price instead of adding a gimmick of funding workshops.

  4. JJ

    Duh, it occurs naturally in fruit and vegetables! I’ve only found out about sorbitol today and I know that.

    Unfortunately it seems you have a very pessimistic view. I’ve taken this from their website and don’t see anything about gimmicky workshops, rather they are helping people in need to get jobs and sort their lives:

    By providing fantastic work experience and on-the-job skills training for people that have experienced homelessness. To help propel them into not just full time employment but onto a flourishing career path.

    Our unique programme also provides support, training and progression planning for trainees to regain their self esteem, belief and confidence needed to accomplish full employability. We partner with our parent company Beyond Boyle Ltd who contributes in kind to the Foundation and provides the valuable work experience and employment opportunities to the trainees, apprentices and graduates.

    Also, you might find this of interest:

    We don’t believe that food or service should be complicated or stuffy. Nor do we believe that ingredients should travel unnecessarily, so we support our local farmers and food producers whenever possible. There are times when we want flavours and ingredients from around the world and we always try to trace the source, making sure it has been produced to our own ethically high standards.

    I’m more than happy to pay a bit more for chocolates that taste amazing and are doing something incredible at the same time. Those that don’t will buy Cadbury’s.

  5. Simon

    One would be forgiven for thinking that JJ has a vested interest in this product. He/She is certainly very au fait with the packaging.
    I notice a lack of email address. PR or actual employee JJ?

  6. Michael

    I was thinking exactly the same thing Simon…

  7. JJ

    Haha, wouldn’t mind working for them – but I would get fat. They are on the shelves in Waitrose. I bought a box for my boss for Christmas.

  8. How much?!? Although I do like the packaging.

  9. re JJ’s
    “its a sugar substitute which ‘occurs naturally in many stone fruits and berries from trees of the genus Sorbus.’ Not so bad after all eh?”
    OPIUM/Heroin/Cocaine “occurs naturally” in plants too, and you wouldn’t call any of them “not so bad”. get a grip.
    But having pointed that out, this links to some clear brief info on sugars in food.
    Apparently, sorbitol is only guilty of having a laxative effect if daily intake exceeds 50 grams.

  10. I was recently shown this blog and saw the feelings of people that  had written in about our chocolates.

    I have never contributed to a blog as I thought it would be all the brand managers trying to be clever and market themselves.

    Funnily I see that some have assumed that is the case here. But I am afraid not. Note my late response!

    Thank you for taking the trouble, I know how time is precious and I have taken note of all that has been said.

    This project started with an idea of expanding our social enterprise further than just inspiring people who have experienced homelessness with fine cooking in our hospitality business.  We have been running our apprenticeship since October 2007. Trained over 30 people on a back to work program. Trained over 230 young vulnerable people to a fresher more fulfilled life through our Freshlife pathway and fully employed two people that have previously been constant crack users. Both have found a new begining for themselves.

    This product is a way for us to give people that don’t wish to be chefs but want to try something different. We don’t expect them to want to work with us forever but merely light some kind of fire in their bellies and start some meaniful activity.

    We have made a product that hopfully tastes great. We used our own money to pay for the development, design and on shelf costs. We had a lot of luck, an enormous amount of help and support and of course our gut instinct. 

    Yes we understand some of the choices or I guess you may call them compromises. These were made with much careful concideration for what is the end goal for both the consumer and the brand is.

    I believe you need to make the product speak for itself. They were developed in my kitchen. So I copied my notes from my recipe book. Pretty much as I wrote them. I want the chocolates to last for people to enjoy as well as feel that the value will last longer than your average short shelf life chocolates. That’s why I put a touch of vodka in there. It helps! 

    The sorbitol is there because I make fresh pastry and bread in my kitchen. It’s good practice to use it as things like yeast and other ingredients could have an impact. I do put a pinch in!

    I would like to say that nearly all our customers believe that what we do is pretty special and they feel great about contributing to it. It’s part of the experience.

     I work pretty hard but I have time for visits to show anyone around that would spare us the time. Meet the trainees and have a cuppa.

    My last parting jesture is about my pictures, I am so proud of my team and my business that I am prepared to put my face on the box (twice)  I hope it shows some credability as well as my pride. 

    Hope to hear from you sometime

    Simon Boyle
    Managing Director – Beyond Boyle Ltd
    Trustee – Beyond Boyle Foundation 

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