Thorntons Continental chocolates, I feel, are always a safe choice when looking to buy a box of chocolates for someone that either a) you don't know their specific tastes too well, b)they're not a fan of anything "too" out there in terms of flavours and c)they prefer sweeter commercial chocolates as opposed to richer/darker artisan chocolates.
They're easily accessible in terms of price,£10 at the moment reduced from £15, you get a decent amount of chocolates in the box - 35, and they're flavours that the whole family are sure to enjoy, so they're great for sharing out during the festive period.
Although I probably wouldn't go out and buy a box of these for myself if someone bought me them as a Christmas gift I wouldn't turn my nose up at them, there are definitely quite a few good chocolates in the box.
Cherry Truffle - A bit sickly sweet,
cherry purée and chocolate truffle, it reminded me of some sort of cough
medicine, the fact that I don't particularly like cherry flavours in
chocolate probably didn't helpt the matter.
Vienesse Truffle- A particular highlight for me is the Viennese Truffle; this holds a soft spot in my heart, its rich,creamy, smooth truffle texture and the slight crunch of sugar it is coated in is absolutely delicious. My favourite chocolate from Thorntons by an absolute mile.
Vanilla Truffle - A dark chocolate
ganache/truffle centre coated in white chocolate; not the best truffle
I've ever had, but at the price you're paying are you expecting it to be
state of the art chocolatier-esque, no not really, its not the
smoothest/richest of truffles in terms of texture and the flavour isn't
ultra indulgent, its not inherently bad though.
Mousse au Chocolat - Like the Vienesse Truffle/Sicilian
Mousse the texture of this is lovely, light and fluffy. A pleasant
creamy milky chocolate flavour. This chocolate will most likely go down
well with everyone.
Alpini - The Alpini chocolate is also worth noting, its festive looking snow/icing sugar dusting makes it extremely appropriate during the winter period; a nice nutty hazelnut praline filling, sure its pretty sweet and it wouldn't be my favourite praline in the whole world - but its not bad and quite enjoyable.
Sicilian Lemon Mousse - Moving onto something a bit
fruitier the Sicilian Lemon Mousse, normally I'm not that fond of lemon
chocolates but the sweet tooth in me actually quite enjoyed this; the
sweet white chocolate pairs nicely with a slightly acidic lemon filling,
the texture is light and moussy - a bit like the texture of the
Vienesse Truffle, which is probably why I like it, the texture makes
these two chocolates.
Hazelnut Slice - I hadn't tried Thorntons Hazelnut Slice before, so I was particularly looking forward to giving it a go - you know me, being the huge fan of pralines that I am. I must say it was quite pleasant, a nice soft texture, a bit like a gianduja, but not as smooth.
Diplomat - Wrapped in gold foil this immediately stands out in the box; another hazelnut/almond praline, compared to the other pralines in this box this was probably the worst. I found the texture really drying and the sugar-roast almonds/crispy hazelnut pieces slightly obtrusive in the mouth, the praline isn't creamy enough to balance them and a bit too sweet.
Chocolat Riche - Definitely one of the better chocolates in the box, a smooth melt in the mouth truffle, not too sweet with a lovely rich milky/caramel flavour.
Valencia - If you enjoy a chocolate orange
then you're set to love this chocolate, a dark chocolate orange
flavoured truffle. Smooth,rich and deep with a nice citrus edge to it.
Cappuccino - Often I complain that Thorntons chocolates are too sweet, this is one chocolate where it actually works to their advantage. The coffee flavour is prevalent but not too bitter, with a smooth truffle texture and coated in white chocolate, its delicious.
Ganache Au Marc de Champagne - A lovely smooth texture with light alcohol notes, not too strong/burning, this may please some and disappoint others, it just depends on your preference of strength of alcohol in chocolates.
The Continental Celebration - In the box you also get a decent sized slab of Thorntons milk chocolate - a nice extra touch, if you're familiar with Thorntons milk chocolate you'll know the flavours it evokes, a sweet fairly pleasing to the masses milk chocolate, 30% cocoa solids, with a slight backnote, I always find, of icing sugar.
I must say that I did like the new design on the Continental box, I think it adds a nice extra touch having famous European landmarks included on it, I hope that they keep this design for their future boxes and its not just a special one off for the 60th birthday edition.
Taste - 6.9/10 - A mixed box, some good, some not so good; however in general I feel that this box of chocolates would be a welcomed gift from most people - there's nothing in there that's too polarising.
Texture - 7.2/10 - Light, fluffy mousses, smooth, rich ganaches in most of the chocolates. A couple that miss the mark.
Appearance - 8/10 - Love the deisgn of the box on these.
Price - 8.5/10 - At £10.00, at the moment, normally £15.00 for 445g worth of chocolates I think this box is excellent value.
Overall - 7.7/10 - I always find it difficult as to where I should judge Thorntons against, they're not completely commercial with the likes of your Cadburys/Mars/Nestle but they're not as "upmarket" as Hotel Chocolat, they sit somewhere in the middle, providing chocolates that sure, may not be as high end as others but still eat well, will please most consumers tastes in terms of sweetness/flavours used and are affordable.
A safe box of chocolates that I'm sure would go down a treat with most people at Christmas.
WHERE TO BUY?
Thorntons stores or online here.