This Monday sees the beginning of National Chocolate Week, so what better time to treat yourself to some of the best that choclatiers have to offer? Our round-up includes the most decadent and delicious chocolate selection boxes, which make great gifts for special occasions and dinner parties, and which include plenty of dairy-free, gluten-free and vegan options. With new some new, exciting and often unusual offerings, there’s something for everyone.
1. Fifth Dimension Chocolates The Journey Box: £17, 5dchocolates.com
Although Fifth Dimension Chocolates has only been on the chocolate scene a couple of years, the British chocolatier has already scooped a bunch of prestigious awards for its vibrant and unusual chocolates, handmade from single origin cocoa. We love the Journey Box that takes you on a flavour tour around the world in 12 exceptional chocolates.
2. Betty’s Florentines: £11.95, bettys.co.uk
Many retailers have their own version of florentines, but they taste nothing like these rich and chewy morsels from this long-established family business. Made from cherries, citrus peels and almonds in caramel toffee, they are then set into top-notch Venezuelan Criollo chocolate. These are perfect for taking along to a dinner party.
3. Hotel Chocolat The Large Chocolatier’s Table: £100, hotelchocolat.com
This epic (and brand new) collection of all Hotel Chocolat’s ranges makes a memorable gift for a special occasion. The presentation is elegant, the flavours and textures are adventurous and there’s something for everyone, from single-estate Ecuadorian cocoa, crunchy hazelnut praline to a Mississippi Mud Pie slab. There are even two menus in case everyone pounces at once.
4. Sweet Virtues Super Food Truffles Maqui Berry Detox: £14.75, notonthehighstreet.com
It’s not often that luxury chocolates can claim to be nutrient-packed, but these award-winning beauties (which are also available in Maqui, Chia Seeds & Lime and Baobab & Vanilla flavours) have more than five super food ingredients in every truffle, as well as being dairy, gluten free and vegan-friendly. Rich in flavour, they are deliciously sweet and totally unique.
5. Prestat Yuzu Sake Truffles: £12.50, prestat.co.uk
Prestat’s Royal Warrant is the first clue that you’re going to be delving into something pretty special. Don’t assume it is a stickler for tradition, though, as Prestat has come up with some innovative flavours in recent years, the most recent of which are these Fuji white chocolates blended with citrus Yuzu and a touch of Japanese sake, all whipped into a ganache that’s surrounded by a dark chocolate shell.
6. Aneesh Saffron & Piedmont Hazelnut Pralines: £12.95, the-chocolatier.co.uk
These blissfully spiced and nutty pralines, which are covered in a dark chocolate shell and dusted in Ecuadorian chocolate powder, are to die for. Made by the self-taught chocolatier Aneesh Popat, who now supplies to Michelin starred restaurants and royalty, they aren’t remotely bitter and are suitable for vegans, as well as those on gluten or dairy free diets.
7. Chococo Small Selection Box: £9.50, chococo.co.uk
This Dorset-based chocolatier has won nearly 50 Great Taste Awards since it was founded 12 years ago. Working with a variety of origin chocolate from the Caribbean islands of Grenada and the Dominican Republic, along with Venezuela, Vietnam and Madagascar, it makes all its chocolates by hand, using fresh (and usually local) ingredients. This box contains flavours including lemon zing, espresso, salt sweet smoke and sakura tea.
8. Amelia Rope Boxed Chocolate Cubes: £29, ameliarope.com
Rope founded her chocolate business back in 2007, initially crafting small batches that were made-to-order. But when Pat Reeves (co-founder of sofa.com) commissioned 1,000 chocolate bars, it propelled her into the retail market. Now a supplier to Selfridges, she makes around 20 award-winning chocolate bars, as well as these flamboyantly coloured and incredibly tasty foiled chocolate cubes that comein three options: pale, dark or sea salt collections.
9. Fortnum & Mason Rose & Violet Creams: £35, fortnumandmason.com
The ground floor of Fortnum & Mason is a dream come true to chocoholics with a taste for the decadent and our favourite is these quintessentially English rose and violet creams. It’s a type of chocolate that so many chocolatiers get spectacularly wrong by making them overly sweet and perfumed. These, however, are delicately flavoured, with just the right amount of dark chocolate coating and light texture.
10. Peirre Marcolini Tom Dixon London Brick Chocolate Selection: £39.90, selfridges.com
Back in 1995, Peirre Marcolini was named World Champion of Pastry and it was that year that he opened his first store in Brussels. Today, he has outlets across many major cities, selling creative chocolates with unusual fruits including melon, blackcurrant and pear, along with ingredients like pepper, chestnut and oak. For this limited edition box, he’s teamed up with homeward designer Tom Dixon to create a spirited box of 36 flavours, ranging from grand crus to tea infusions.
11. Godiva 9 Piece Collection: £16, godivachocolates.co.uk
Godiva has got it spot on with these airy, cloud-like meringue pieces set within a smooth mousse, which is then covered in its signature chocolate. With a mixture of dark, milk and white, and flavours including fraise, citron, chocolat café, praliné piemont, there’s something for everyone in this lavish box.
12. Artisan du Chocolat Pyramid du Chocolats: From £125, artisanduchocolat.com
This huge, pyramid-shaped box is designed to turn into a breath-taking centrepiece. These fine chocolates contain everything from liquid salted caramels (the best you’ll ever taste) to couture ganaches and classical truffles. No wonder they’re such a hit for grand events and that the brand, which hand-makes every chocolate from scratch in Kent, supplies to so many Michelin starred restaurants.
13. Montezumas Hazelnut and Coffee Dainty Dollops: £7.49, montezumas.co.uk
Despite the name, we didn’t find these dark chocolate dollops all that dainty, but they’re all the better for it. Generously sized and quite dense, the ganache centre is subtly flavoured with delicious Columbian coffee, and contains just the right amount of nuts. They’re suitable for vegans and those avoiding dairy but you’d never know, making them just as ideal for any other chocolate lover.
14. Rococo Organic Seasalt Wafers: £14.99, selfridges.com
If you love fine chocolate and you’re ever walking down King’s Road in Chelsea, you’d be a fool not to pop into Rococo’s unique store. You can also enjoy its sweet delights from Selfridges, including these incredibly tasty chocolate wafers flavoured with sea salt and extra cocoa butter for a silky smooth texture.
15. Charbonnel et Walker Pink Marc de Champagne Truffles: £9.99, lakeland.co.uk
These eight truffles are handmade, luxurious and come in an appealing round box, making them perfect for a dinner party gift or for anyone who loves chocolate, champagne or, better still, both. Don’t miss out on the combination of the delicious milk chocolate and top-notch bubbly.
The Journey Box from Fifth Dimension Chocolates will take you to places chocolate has never done before. For a box that provides both quantity and quality, Hotel Chocolat’s The Large Chocolatier’s Table is an absolute showstopper.
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