A review of two chocolate selection boxes. A dark chocolate selection from Bettys and a luxury assortment from House of Dorchester.
Bettys Tea Rooms is one of those Yorkshire icons which you absolutely must visit if ever you’re in the vicinity of York or Harrogate. I only managed a five minute visit on my one and only trip to York. But it was five minutes that has lodged in my memory. The place was crammed with delicious looking baked wares, fine teas and artisan chocolates as well as afternoon tea revellers.
I’d gone in for a curd tart, having been told by a Yorkshire colleague before my trip that this was a must. I had no idea there would be chocolates too. I ate the curd tart on the train home and mused on the delights I could have tried. Not, I hasten to add, that I was the least bit disappointed with the curd tart, it was delicious. One day, I shall go back to Yorkshire and pay a proper visit to Bettys.
Luckily, a couple of years later, which happened to be last week, I finally got to try some of those tempting looking chocolates. When offered a box of Bettys Dark Chocolate Selection to try, I was not going to say no. Last year I was sent a Bettys Christmas Chocolate Gugelhupf which I was really impressed by, so my expectations were running high.
I’ve subsequently had the pleasure of reviewing both a Bettys chocolate otter and a Bettys chocolate bear.
Bettys Dark Chocolate Selection
A delightfully elegant little box duly arrived in the post. As I’m usually motivated by quantity as well as quality, at first glance I was a little disappointed at how small the box was. I needn’t have worried. When I opened it, not only were my nostrils filled with the wonderful aroma of dark fruity chocolate, but my eyes were filled with the sight of fourteen very tightly packed and rather attractive chocolates.
With fourteen chocolates and six different fillings, I was bound to find something I liked. Most were covered in a glossy dark Swiss chocolate couverture which was rich with fruity notes. All of them had that lingering-on-the-palate characteristic, which I take to be a sign of good quality chocolate.
I tried them in the order in which they appealed to me. And guess what? I enjoyed every one of them and I’m happy to report that the standard of Bettys chocolates is as good as I hoped it might be. As for the matter of the small box, a little goes a long way.
If, like me, you live a long way from a Bettys Tea Room, you can still buy a goodly number of things via their online shop. They have quite a selection of Christmas items on offer, including some very special hampers I’d be utterly delighted to recieve. This 115g box of chocolates cost £15.95.
Spiced Port Truffle
I was particularly taken with the ying yang pattern in dark and milk chocolate. This was a Christmassy truffle if ever there was one. The “stollen” spices were definitely there, though I couldn’t quite identify which ones they were.
They combined beautifully with the port, which was very noticeable. I felt the warmth travelling down my throat and body in a most delightful way. I thought I detected orange too. CT also noted citrussy flavours along with cinnamon and just a hint of nutmeg.
Vanilla Caramel Heart
Brushed with gold, the heart looked particularly elegant. I’m a sucker for a good caramel, so I was pleased to see there were three of these in the box. A pleasant note of bitterness from the dark chocolate combined well with this sweet and creamy vanillary caramel, which we both found most pleasant.
This had a lovely scent of orange. I adore marzipan, but often find it a little too sweet. This was the case here, but the flavour was excellent and lingered on most pleasantly in the mouth, well after all traces of the chocolate had been consumed.
It had a good chewy texture. CT who is not a fan of artificial tasting orange chocolate, really enjoyed this. He found the bitterness of the crystallised orange peel made for a more authentic experience.
Cru Sauvage Truffle
Goodness these were nice. A rare dark chocolate from the Bolivean Amazon was dusted with cocoa and covered a soft and very smooth rich chocolate ganache with toffee notes. I would have been very happy with an entire box of these. As it happens Betty’s do sell such boxes.
The others were all delicious, but this was by far and away my favourite. We noticed the difference in the chocolate which CT described as having an oaky quality reminiscent of whiskey.
Raspberry Ganache Truffle
No mistaking this one, the aroma of raspberries was strong. Tart fruity raspberries in a smooth ganache and not overly sweet, these were really good too.
To me cognac conjures up images of sophistication and that was definitely the case here. With its smooth ganache, this was delicious and indulgent. It felt as though one of these truffles might just put you over the limit though. CT thought it had a definite restorative quality.
House of Dorchester
It’s the month of chocolate and Valentine’s Day is not far off. There was no way I was going to disappoint you by not offering some chocolate on the blog. I have teamed up with the House of Dorchester to offer one lucky Chocolate Log Blog reader the chance of winning a box of their luxury assortment.
Based in Poundbury, Dorset, the House of Dorchester produces chocolates right here in the South West of England and announce proudly that they are “the home of great British Chocolates”. They started off life in 1963 making handmade chocolates in a high street shop in Dorchester, The Dorset Maid.
Now with a factory and a whole team of chocolatiers they supply chocolates not only around the UK, but around the world. Admittedly they are not a Cornish company, but I will try not to hold that against them 😉
House of Dorchester Luxury Assortment
The Luxury Assortment arrived in perfect condition, with not a single chocolate broken or out of place. The presentation was particularly good with an attractive, yet sturdy keepsake box which I can see being used for a number of different purposes. In fact it is just the right size for gifting a batch of fairy cakes or mini cupcakes – now there’s an idea.
The assortment contained a 400g mix of dark, milk and white chocolates. With 16 flavours and 32 chocolates, this is a box for sharing. I found nothing particularly surprising or innovative in the box in terms of the flavours offered, but they all sounded good.
I’m guessing these are aimed more at the traditional market than the new wave of chocolate lovers. However, I was particularly looking forward to trying the violet and rose creams, which are hard to find and for which I have rather an old fashioned penchant.
The chocolates were large with a plentiful amount of filling and the chocolate casings were equally generous. I found, they all erred towards the sweet side and when it comes to chocolates I prefer less sugar rather than more. But this is by no means unusual for me and I suspect it wouldn’t be an issue for most chocoholics.
Do take a look at the online shop, where you will find a number of bars, hot chocolate mixes and chocolate selections. This box costs £19.99.
I’ll start off with my favourites. After all, for the purposes of review, what could I do but try them all?
The violet creme was the first one I tried and the flavour was sublime. The sweet filling was offset by the dark chocolate and it looked very pretty with its drizzle of violet over the top.
The sea salt caramel had to be next as this is probably my favourite chocolate filling ever. The caramel was just how I like it, soft but not too liquid with a perfect amount of sea salt. The thick dark chocolate encasing it complimented the caramel well and was nicely proportioned – something that I haven’t always found to be the case.
The rose creme was as delicious as the violet, it tasted of rose and again the sweetness was offset by the dark chocolate casing.
The raspberry caramel wasn’t at all what I was expecting, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. The flavour of raspberry was very much present, although it wasn’t in the least tart which was a bit of a shame. The caramel was chewy, not in a pull-your-teeth-out kind of way, but in a much more pleasant, stays-in-the-mouth-longer kind of way.
The pecan parfait was another chewy offering. I really liked this one which wasn’t overly sweet due to the dark chocolate casing. The pieces of pecans added crunch, interest and flavour.
The caramel heart was also delicious, although not quite so much as the sea salted one. Again the dark chocolate offset the caramel, which was liquid with a soft vanillary flavour.
The strawberry cheesecake had a good flavour with some tartness coming through. It was firmer than I was expecting, but had a nice chewy texture with pieces of strawberry scattered throughout.
Other Chocolates I liked
The praline bouchee, whilst being rather sweet had a lovely flavour of roast almonds. You could taste the pistachio in the white chocolate coated pistachio mousse, which in my experience not many chocolates seem to manage. The latte crisp contained real ground coffee which gave a lovely crunch and flavour. CT reckoned the cafe noir had a good coffee flavour too.
I enjoyed the combination of fruit and champagne in the strawberry marc de champagne and thought the white chocolate worked well in this instance. The orange creme was covered in dark chocolate and had a good flavour.
Not So Good
Not all of the chocolates were as good as I was hoping. Coconut and chocolate seem to be an under represented combination in the chocolate world, so I was looking forward to trying the coconut creme. Sadly, I found this to be overly sweet and have a rather artificial coconut taste.
I enjoyed the texture of the roast nut praline with its pieces of caramelised nuts giving surprise and crunch. However, I didn’t find it to have a particularly nutty flavour. The alcohol in the marc de champagne truffle was noticeable and the flavour was good, but it did leave a rather cloying feeling in my mouth after I’d finished it.
Other Chocolate Box Reviews You Might Enjoy
- Chocolate by Miss Witt
- Cornish chocolates: I Should Coco & Nicky Grant
- Hotel Chocolat summer collection
- Kokopelli’s chocolate
- Paul A Young fine chocolates
Keep in Touch
Thanks for visiting Tin and Thyme. If you ever try chocolates from either Bettys or House of Dorchester, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below. Have you any recommendations? Do share photos on social media too and use the hashtag #tinandthyme, so I can spot them.
If you’d like to see even more chocolate reviews, follow the link and you’ll find I have quite a lot of them.
Thanks to Bettys and House of Dorchester for the chocolates given to me to try. There was no requirement to write a positive review and as always all opinions are my own. Thank you for your support of the brands and organisations that help to keep Tin and Thyme blithe and blogging.