What better way to start the day, than having a colleague leave a luxury chocolates gift box on your desk? Unless you are the kind that hates chocolate. Real fans of chocolate prefer a delicate treat over a giant block of the stuff. Chocolatiers have become more inventive in their creation and distribution techniques. The choice of manufacturers is better than ever.
Sustainable and ethical farms play a crucial role in giving these treats a unique taste. Boutique producers that do not have an outlet in your area will now post the goods to your door. We took a bite out of the best selections on offer to see what separates a good chocolatier from a great chocolatier.
Hotel Chocolat – The Everything Sleekster
Hotel Chocolat started in 2006 and is a relative newcomer to the industry. A UK based operation, started by two entrepreneurs, leads the way in producing fine chocolates. The aim was to re-popularize specialty-boutique chocolates. They began by using their own cocoa beans. All the cocoa is shipped from their ethical Rabot Estate in Saint Lucia, a small volcanic island in the Caribbean. The cocoa beans from this plantation give the chocolates a unique taste. They go even further by producing delectable treats from the beans with incredible attention to detail.
As a gift, the box is wide giving the impression of more chocolates in the box than there is. As a share box, there is something for everyone, thick caramels to yogurt mascarpones. Mainstream confectioners reduce the cocoa content and replace it with sugar and milk, this saturates the taste. Chocolatiers such as Hotel Chocolat pride themselves on using the cocoa mass and butter for the full flavor. These key parts of the bean allow for stronger flavored centers while using less sugar. They say that the first bite is with the eye, and the box presentation sets the scene well. Hotel Chocolat has chosen 9 of its finest creations and put into a delicious 27-piece set that will be gone in minutes of opening.
Pros: Presentation, Taste, Variety
Holdsworth Chocolates – Renaissance Collections
A family producer of boutique chocolates in the UK that has spent a lifetime perfecting the treat. Made with the same attention to detail as when the business started 3-decades ago. Holdsworth is a strong competitor in boutique confectionery. They use ethical sources for their cocoa, shipped in from every corner of the world. Blended chocolate is preferable for achieving a consistent taste. The chocolate has the same taste, regardless of individual farming issues.
The box design makes the package appear less impressive, even though these are less expensive chocolates than the Hotel brand. These look more manufactured than the handmade bites that they are, though no less delicious. Individually chosen for their wide range of flavors. From white to dark chocolate, each casing is made with care and a high level of consistency. Each box holds 16-individual chocolates with different centres. From cream to caramel, fillings have been chosen to make the perfect selection; there should be something for everyone.
Pros: Value, Variety, Taste
Lindt – Swiss Luxury Selection Box
Switzerland is the most famous chocolate producing nation in the world. With big-name brands such as Nestlé, Favarger and of course Lindt. Lindt is a huge international organization with factories around the planet. The big-name brands like to use plastic-looking casings, though the contents are as edible as any other producers. It is hard to beat the economy of scale that such a large brand can manage. Because of this scale, Lindt can make a high-end product at the fraction of the cost of a boutique maker. The personal touch seems to be lacking in the presentation, and it will show when opened by the receiver. If this is intended as a gift, think about how important that person is to you first.
The design of the box will also make the 14-chocolate selection look more than it is. Lindt has used this luxury chocolates gift box to show-case their finest white and dark chocolates. The fillings are all different, from orange to sweet caramel, all made with no divergence from the original design. Lindt also promises to encourage sustainable farming and to treat farmers with a good ethic. This is a good box to share at the office to have at home for guests to nibble on. Other manufacturers will do a better job of showing that special someone you care about them.
Pros: Quality, Price, Consistent
Cons: Plastic, Impersonal.
Leonidas – Belgian Luxury Assortment Box
If you have never tried chocolates from Leonidas, then this is the time to start. A Belgian Chocolatier that goes back over 100-years. Leonidas uses chocolate made by Callebaut, the Belgian chocolate manufacturer. Callebaut source their beans from ethical plantations in West-Africa. Leonidas has kept the look of a small handmade product under the guise of a big-name brand. The quality makes the value is hard to beat. This is can only be made possible with modern creation techniques.
These are some of the best-tasting chocolates available, made to suit everyone. A great treat as a friendly share box or a loving gift, the brand is a winner, recognized by all. Fine ground cocoa beans and fresh ingredients show in the tasting. This 35-piece luxury gift box carries the promise of perfection from a world-renowned chocolatier. Masterfully created in Leonidas’ Belgian workshop with the highest of quality controls. White and dark chocolates filled with thick creams and caramels that will melt most hearts.
Pros: Value, Assortment, Quality
For an impressive gift that is intended to make a good impression, Hotel Chocolat is the way forward. They are the most visually appealing and use their own Cacao. They are also some of the most expensive of the brands, but then you get what you pay for. Lindt makes great chocolates and they will never disappoint. The value is there, and they make something that you would not mind sharing. The Leonidas brand is going to be the best value for someone that wants the gift to look impressive. The presentation box looks good, even if the chocolates are disorganized, the taste is hard to beat. Leonidas is well known and is going to be the best choice for that love interest. If your true love wants to taste the chocolate over the sugar, go to the Hotel Chocolat.