A box of chocolates is always gratefully received, and at Christmas a beautifully wrapped chocolate gift is ideal for the person who has everything.
This year, we all deserve something a bit special, so we’ve put our heads together to find the most luxurious, gourmet chocolate gifts going.
From luxe dark single origin chocs to hand-painted fresh pralines and Michelin-worthy ganache, this year there is a box to please even the most discerning sweet tooth.
Whether you’re in the market for a giant tableau of treats to feed a family over the festive season, or a few carefully chosen fine chocolates to give as a hostess gift, we’ve hunted out the most tempting truffles around.
When munching our way through the boxes, we were looking for a sense of luxury in both the presentation and chocolates themselves, as well as originality, quality, variety and overall deliciousness.
Not everyone has pots of cash to splash this year, so we’ve included a range of boxes to tick off every budget – from great value selections for under a tenner right up to triple figures for a veritable cocoa feast. Christmas is a time for indulgence, after all.
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Cartografie collection eight pack
There’s chocolate and then there’s Cartografie chocolate. Born out of lockdown 1.0 when Kae Shibata (ex-Pastry Chef, The Ritz) and Sven-Hanson Britt (Masterchef: The Professionals – The Rematch winner) found themselves jobless victims of the pandemic, Cartografie is their own creation of Michelin-star quality handmade single origin chocolates.
Using only the most premium, ethically-produced cocoa beans, they handcrafted pralines and bon-bons with the finest equatorial ingredients and sold them through their social channels: they sold out again and again. Now, there is a full studio where you can see Kae and the team hand make each chocolate from the world’s best couvertures and as you’d expect from chocolatiers of this calibre, they’re not exactly run-of-the-mill.
These are possibly the best chocolates we’ve ever put in our mouths: from the salted beurre noisette ganache from the Dominican Republic’s Yuna Valley, to the scorched hay infused caramel ganache with roasted banana using Trinitario beans grown in a Tanzanian national park, each of the eight flavours is a superlative triumph where the quality of ingredients and craftsmanship is unmistakable. We love that there are tasting notes for each chocolate, and applaud their ethical and environmentally-responsible approach to sourcing, trading and packaging their heavenly chocolates. Gift yourself these for a delectable end-of-year treat, or bring out a box for when you really want to impress.
Booja Booja award-winning vegan selection box
Put any preconceptions you have about dairy free, vegan chocolates out of your mind because Booja Booja is the last word when it comes to luxurious truffles – vegan or not. We’ll take any of their varieties to be quite honest, but this award winning vegan selection box is a mouthwatering mix of 16 multi award-winning dark chocolates, each handmade in Norfolk using delicious organic ingredients to great effect.
It’s tough to choose a favourite between the hazelnut crunch and the almond salted caramel (it’s like a puddle of gorgeousness) but suffice to say each of the five flavours are simple crowd-pleasers that anyone would be thrilled to receive. Each chocolate is rich, creamy and so luxurious you’d never believe you could find it in a free-from aisle. This selection comes in a matte black and gold festive box and looks the part. We’re fans.
Caffarel gianduia pyramid
Oh how we love these Iittle gold gianduja pyramids from Caffarel. And now, for Christmas, there is a large gold pyramid box, filled with 250g of the original Italian chocolates, filled with that signature rich roasted piedmont hazelnut. Caffarel was the first to create the eternally popular gianduja chocolates back in 1865 using the finest Italian hazelnuts in the world – at the time cocoa was a precious commodity, while the regional hazelnuts were plentiful so they came up with the idea of tweaking the quantities – and the gianduia was born. Each sweet, silky chocolate transports you to Italy in a mouthful and you’re a better person than us if you can stop at one. Enjoy with espresso for the full experience.
Wickedly Welsh Christmas ultimate 48 box
This Wickedly Welsh box from a small, family-run artisan chocolatier and chocolate café in er, Wales, is very sweet – in both senses. Admire the hand-decorated bumble bees, patriotic dragons and daffodils adorning milk, white and dark chocolates then get down to the serious business of deciding your favourite flavour.
Perhaps a raspberry and vodka mix encased in the finest, sustainable Ghanaian 65 per cent dark chocolate basket floats your boat? Or will it be the spiced praline milk? The milk chocolate pudding adorned with sprig of holly stole our hearts. Whichever your choice, there’s four of each flavour for you to enjoy, all using gourmet local Welsh ingredients where possible, sustainably sourced and wrapped up in recyclable packaging hand tied with a festive ribbon.
Paul A. Young fresh handmade mixed truffle selection
A box of truffles from one of the best – and most experimental – chocolatiers in the UK is sure to wow any family or friend who fancies themselves as a bit of a gourmet. Paul A Young is consistently ranked among the top chocolatiers in the world; his kitchen produces truly showstopping creations using daring flavour combinations and exceptional versions of classics all made from the finest fresh Guittard and Valrhona chocolate.
This mixed selection includes some new seasonal flavours, like the utterly heavenly Baileys truffle of guittard milk chocolate with Baileys liqueur all rolled in Valrhona blonde chocolate, and the very festive plum, port and stilton truffle – a layer of dried plum puree, Stilton and dark chocolate ganache with 72 per cent Solomon islands dark chocolate and a splash of ruby port. These Christmas chocs come alongside some of the House Collection favourites and award winners: we hope your selection includes the fabulously fun peanut butter and raspberry jelly and the hazelnut gianduja and almond rocher – aka Fererro Rocher on speed – like ours did. Pricey but very, very worth it.
BonBox winter selection
These, from Edinburgh-based chocolatier and Scottish chef of the year, Barry Gamble, make for a luxurious and delicious stocking-filler. Using seasonal local produce and unique flavour combinations, BonBox chocolates are subtly adventurous rather than weird and wonderful.
This mini selection comprises three flavours inspired by the festive season: festive toast, a beauty of a ruby chocolate bonbon filled with tangy blackcurrant and white chocolate ganache injected with Marc de Champagne, the Christmas tree where silky caramel infused with SIberian fir and peppermint aromats is encased in fine milk chocolate, and the fireside, a cosy and clever creation of caramelised milk chocolate with surprise cereal bursts and a winter spiced caramel inside an Ocoa dark chocolate shell. Each bonbon is handmade, hand painted and pretty as a picture.
Waitrose & Partners the decadent chocolate truffle collection
This, from Waitrose & Partners, impressed our testers in terms of value and flavour. A sturdy, smart box containing 40 decorated dark, milk and white truffles across eight flavours, this should keep your festive cheer intact throughout the season. We found the chocolate (single origin milk and dark from the Dominican Republic) to be deliciously creamy, rich and velvety and the flavours should make the whole family happy.
Fight over the spiced orange, the hazelnut praline take on the Fererro, the uber-decadent salted caramel with fleur de sel enrobed in edible gold, and more. Apple – famously hard to pair with chocolate – comes into its own in this box when blended with brandy and cinnamon and covered with a creamy milk choc shell.
The Chocolate Society box of the month
We’ve voted The Chocolate Society top in our best chocolate subscription boxes tests for the past two years, so it stands to reason we’re big fans of the brand new box of the month for December which you can purchase as a one-off gift. Each month, The Chocolate Society creates just 750 limited edition boxes of fresh chocolates – when they’re gone, they’re gone.
We tested the November box, which contained a brilliantly retro black forest gateau ganache, a seasonally appropriate pumpkin spiced caramel, and a sweet hot chocolate flavour, which was like the best Cadbury’s hot chocolate you’ve ever tried in bonbon form. December looks even more delightful with a brandy butter caramel, Christmas cracker gianduja and mince pie caramel on the menu. Each chocolate is brightly coloured; they look quite spectacular boxed up. There’s a six week shelf-life due to all that fresh butter and cream, so eat up.
Lindt truffes de luxe
Show us someone who doesn’t like a Lindt truffle and we’ll show you a liar. That signature silky, melt-in-the-mouth Lindt texture and flavour is shown off to the max with this large box (425g) of sumptuous truffles made with sustainable bean to bar cocoa. Boasting five popular flavours – dark caramel, extra dark, almond, bourbon vanilla and Marc de Champagne – these subtly indulgent truffles will be enjoyed by all over the festive period. They come in a bronze and gold box and will make a good gift for that tricky person to buy for in your life.
Hotel Chocolat the large chocolatier’s table
We must have been extremely good this year to have received this absolute masterpiece from Hotel Chocolat. If you’re looking to show off or say a really, really, big thank you to someone this Christmas, then you should advance directly to Hotel Chocolat for the large chocolatier’s table which comes in at a colossal 1.3kg of its best loved recipes. From the insanely dense and decadent brownie, to its caramel custard inspired blondie cousin, adventurous habanero-spiked chilli praline and the dreamy velvetines of the dizzy praline, there really is something for every taste in this wardrobe of chocolate.
Single origin chocolate also gets to shine, with butterscotch notes in the Colombian 53 per cent which is interesting to compare to the far deeper, darkly fruity Honduran 72 per cent: it’s truly every chocoholic’s fantasy. Get it out for dessert and watch eyes widen.
Chocolate ganache selection frederic blondeel
Belgian chocolate is always extremely welcome in our house, and it doesn’t come much more luxurious than this box from Belgian chocolatier Frederic Blondeel. A small selection of these artisanal ganaches allow you an overview of his imaginative chocolate work; he uses fine chocolate sourced from sustainable organic cocoa bean growers and pure artistry to create a box of indisputable luxury.
Blondeel hand creates each chocolate by selecting an appropriate bean then using careful, creative ingredients to elevate the cocoa profile further: think cardamom, lime, jasmine and more. Each ganache is then decorated in his understated, elegant style. We tried – and failed – to savour these, perhaps you’ll do better.
Laderach 18 assorted chocolates
We couldn’t have a list of luxurious chocolate without including some from the Swiss. Laderach is a high-end family-run chocolatier creating all sorts of premium Swiss chocolate treats, and this luxury selection box of pralines and truffles is bound to impress any chocolate lover. We are in love with the Piedmontese milk praline which is hazelnut nougat cream with a whole toasted hazelnut in milk chocolate shell – then topped with hazelnut nougat cream: it’s pure indulgence.
Though, perhaps the meltingly smooth cappuccino truffle will be your favourite? The Marc de Champagne truffle is also pretty special, filled as it is with a Marc de Champagne infused fresh cream. All chocolate is responsibly sourced and top notch. The box comes in understated, luxurious cream and chocolate brown packaging, tied with a decorative ribbon.
Chococo fresh Christmas selection box
We’ve included Chococo’s wares in many an IndyBest test, so it’s of little surprise we find them nestled in this list of best luxurious chocolate boxes with its fresh Christmas selection for 2020. Handmade in Dorset by a husband and wife team who are passionate about chocolate and local ingredients, this selection of 25 exquisitely decorated chocolates is sure to instil some festive spirit. The chocolates are all made with single origin cocoa varietals and blended with Dorset cream; some are then filled with all manner of imaginative flavourings (natural and preservative free) and decorated with natural colours and pretty edible shimmer.
This new festive selection includes many of its hero award-winners – hello brilliant Black Cow vodka in milk choc ganache with lime and black pepper – and some new seasonal stunners like the chilli coconut caramel encased in a gleaming dark chocolate gem. An approachable mix of glorious truffles, adventurous ingredients and boozy chocs, this box has something for everyone. Packaging is colourful, classy-looking and recyclable. These have a habit of selling out, so preorder your December box ASAP and eat them quickly as the shelf life is short due to their freshness.
Melt Christmas gift box selection
These Melt chocolates ooze luxury – the box, alone – and no wonder. Handmade daily in small batches at their two west London chocolate boutiques, the expert chocolatiers behind Melt use only the finest ethically sourced ingredients and work closely with chocolate producers to ensure the beans are the best and that the growers are paid fairly for it. Using divine Amazonian single origin chocolate, they keep their recipes pure with low sugar and simple yet effective and tasty ingredients and flavours. The champagne truffle – a Christmas essential – are out of this world, with a fine, delicate chocolate shell that gives way to a sumptuous puddle of champagne impregnated fresh cream.
We’d be extremely thrilled with a box of these alone, but there’s more: a seasonal mulled wine square is sweetly spiced and aromatic, while the sesame tahini ganache truffle is a successful experiment. Presented in a rose gold and white glossy plastic free box and tied with a luxe-looking ribbon; give to your girlfriends and watch them melt.
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