One for Me… One for You…

Regular readers may remember my delight at attending the launch evening for Artisan du Chocolat’s new Westbourne Grove store. As well as treating myself to a box of 30 delicious Couture Collection chocolates I was also given an additional box of 12 as a parting gift. It didn’t take me long to work my way through the majority of those 42 squares of goodness.

Read on for my review of the chocolates and don’t miss the fantastic competition to win your own box of Artisan du Chocolat goodness!

Kavey Eats Chocolate!

KEY: (x) Not keen (o) Nice (*) Special (**) Phenomenal!

Orange (*)
This one reminded me of an orange cream, the kind you find in chocolate box selections. But that’s no bad thing as it was elevated to another level by use of good quality dark chocolate and a clean orange flavour.

Lumi (x)
Like the Jasmine, the limey flavour of lumi was too subtle for me to detect and the ganache too sweet for me to enjoy as a general chocolate.

Lemon & Thyme (*)
The thyme came through more strongly than the lemon giving this chocolate a strangely savoury flavour. Quite unusual and I really liked it.

Banana & Thyme (**)
The banana hit me first and then my tongue detected a hint of thyme moments later. Less savoury than the Lemon & Thyme combination but just as unusual.

Honey (*)
A lovely strong honey flavour came through clear as a bell in the ganache. Lovely!

Jasmine Tea (x)
Like the Early Grey, I just couldn’t discern the Jasmine flavour. In this case, I found the paler ganache filling too sweet to recommend this one.

Rose (*)
The flavour of turkish delight! And since I adore turkish delight, this one worked for me!

Violet (*)
A wonderfully flowery violet flavour, tastes more natural than the flavour one more commonly encounters in cheap violet confectionary. Combines nicely with the chocolate.

Earl Grey
Although I enjoyed the rich, velvety smooth, intense chocolate I couldn’t detect the early grey tea flavour. I’d class this one as a good general truffly chocolate rather than a flavoured one.

Lapsang Souchong (*)
This one really packed a punch when it came to smokiness which was pretty unique. More woody than tea to me but I rather liked it.

Verbena (**)
The lemony citrus flavour crashed through and the combination of sweet and sharp was fabulous!

Moroccan Mint (*)
Although I enjoyed this chocolate, the mint tasted of peppermint essence rather than fresh mint. Clean, refreshing and tasty though I prefer Gorvett & Stone’s mint truffles with their fresh herby flavour.

Basil & Lime (o)
The hint of basil was completely overwhelmed by lime. As a lime chocolate it was great but for basil, I’d recommend Paul A Young’s fresh basil truffles.

Lavender (o)
A lovely dark ganache with a slightly too subtle lavender flavour. I could only just discern it and that may have been because I was looking for it. That said, the chocolate itself was so good I couldn’t fail to enjoy this one.

Tobacco (**)
Having read that this one was developed in response to a request from Heston Blumenthal, I was intrigued before I even tasted it. And, even though I am an ex-smoker, I had no idea what to expect. What I got was a fabulous and unfamiliar sweet flavour followed by a real kick at the back of the throat, akin to chilli heat but not quite the same. An interesting aftertaste came through once the chocolate had gone and I was sucking every last molecule of flavour. Unique, fascinating, tasty and packed a kick. What more could one ask for?

Sea Salted Caramel (o)
A soft fudgey interior with a nice flavour, though not as salty as Artisan du Chocolat’s famous liquid salted caramels, which is a shame as I love those! But definitely a great choice for fans of fudge.

Coffee & Star Anise (x)
I’m very likely biased by my dislike of aniseed but for me, any coffee taste that might have been present was masked by the strong anise flavours. Aniseed fans would love this.

Ginger (*)
A great fresh ginger taste (rather than the crystallised ginger taste that’s more common in confectionary). Refreshing though would like to taste some of ginger’s fiery heat coming through.

Green Cardamom (**)
At first the cardamom flavour seemed too subtle but suddenly broke through the chocolate and tingled my tastebuds. I think cardamom and chocolate is a great combination. If you like this, you’ll probably also like Kshocolat’s orange and cardamom chocolate bar.

Black Cardamom (x)
Given that black cardamom is usually a stronger, rougher flavour I expected this one to come through as clearly as it’s more delicate green relation. Sadly, I couldn’t much taste it but enjoyed this as a good general choocolate.

Coriander Praline (**)
A fantastic praline chocolate with a smooth cocoa shell surroudning a wonderfully light and crunchy praline with chewy bit that stick dissolutely to your teeth, taking you back to childhood delights! One of my favourites.

House praline (**)
Clearly I’m rather a big fan of the pralines. This one was also fantastic with the characteristic light texture combining crunchy and chewy in perfect balance.

Feuillantine (**)
This is one of the chocolates I tried in the shop, on the opening night, and I absolutely loved it. As with the two pralines I describe above, a fantastic texture combination and wonderful taste. Just perfect!

There were also several flavours that were not available on the day of my visit that are very intriguing – I’ll have to wait until my next visit to taste (and feedback on) flavours such as Bramley Apple, Red Wine, Tonka, Marzipan, Marzipan & Rosemary, Sesame, Fig & Walnut Nougat and Raspberry Nougat.

Want to try Artisan du Chocolat’s Couture Collection for yourself?

I’m delighted to be able to offer a box of 12 Couture Collection chocolates to one lucky reader of Kavey Eats! And to make sure you get to enjoy my personal favourites, your box will contain two each of Banana & Thyme, Tobacco, Green Cardamom, Coriander Praline, Feuillantine and Verbena.*

*If any of these are unavailable on the day your box is assembled Artisan du Chocolat will substitute others from the Couture Collection.

To enter this fantastic competition, just leave a comment at the end of this post before midnight July 14th. Please include your name and email address (so I can contact the winner for their postal address). This competition is open to UK-based readers only.

A winner will be selected randomly from all comments received by the deadline. The prize will be sent out by Artisan du Chocolat directly to the winner.