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How You Should Store Chocolate

Chocolate is one of life’s luxuries that should be enjoyed at its absolute best. While for some of us it may be impossible to put aside a box or bar of chocolates to eat slowly as a treat, others have more willpower!

Regardless of whether you are stashing your carefully selected chocolate away for an hour or two, or want to keep it for longer, it is important that you know how to store it correctly.

After all, it would be heartbreaking for good chocolate to go to waste!

Don’t worry, it doesn’t have to. We will talk you through the process to store chocolate, so when it’s time to indulge, you get the full flavour and texture that the artisanal creators intended.

 

Does Chocolate Go Bad?

First things first: you will be pleased to know that technically, chocolate in itself doesn’t go “off.” If stored correctly, it can last years.

However, it can undergo some changes to the taste or texture that make it less delectable if not stored correctly.

The exception to this rule is if your chocolate has inclusions or is of the truffle variety. In which case, you need to take extra care when storing it and may need to consume it more quickly than regular varieties.

 

How Long Does Chocolate Last?

Stashed away correctly, dark chocolate can last up to two years, while milk chocolate will be good for around one year. Both varieties can last double this time if kept in the fridge or freezer, but there will be some unpleasant side effects, which we outline below.

Truffles and chocolate with fillings have a much shorter shelf life. You only have a few months to scoff them if you keep them in the pantry. Always pay attention to the best before labels so that you can enjoy your choccies when they are at their best.

 

How To Store Chocolate

Good quality chocolate, without preservatives or nasties, is temperamental and needs to be stored with care.

The ideal storage temperature is between 18 and 20 degrees Celsius. As we well know, chocolate has a low melting point, so anything warmer than that will compromise the texture and quality.

Put your chocolatey treats into a dark, cool, dry cupboard to help retain their delicious qualities.

If you have already opened your chocolate, it is best to store it in an airtight container. This is because cocoa butter has the annoying habit of absorbing odours and flavours from the surrounding environment and can attract pests like ants.

The reason we recommend storing your chocolate in a dark place is that light (both natural and artificial) can oxidise chocolate over time. This strips away some of the rich flavours and changes the texture.

 

Can I Store Chocolate In The Fridge?

Generally, it is better to stick to the temperatures described above. But if it is too hot or there is no suitable storage spot, you can keep chocolate in the fridge.

Keep in mind that refrigerating chocolate is likely to cause the flavours to become dull over time. Your precious chocolate will also likely experience “sugar bloom.” This is when a white film appears on the surface. It is caused by increased moisture, which brings sugar crystals to the surface. But don’t fret, the whitening is only cosmetic and won’t impact the texture.

To help prevent this from happening, store your chocolate in an airtight container in the fridge. If possible, leave the chocolate out at room temperature before eating, to allow it to develop those full flavours again.

 

Can I Freeze Chocolate?

Again, it is possible to freeze your chocolate, but it is better to store it in other ways. But, if you are in it for the long haul, you can pop your chocolates in the freezer. Make sure they are in airtight containers and be prepared for some texture and flavour changes long term.

 

There are a number of ways you can protect your chocolate from the light and the heat. The ideal way to store it is in a cool, dark place between 18 and 20 degrees celsius. But if you have no other options, then you can refrigerate it. However, if you do, be prepared for some changes in flavour and appearance!

Luckily, the chocolates in our Chocolate Tour subscription boxes are so yummy that they won’t hang around for long! Check out the range in store.

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chocolate, Chocolatiers, Uncategorized

How Artisan Chocolatiers Are Different To Larger Makers

The chocolate that many of us know today is a far cry from the chocolate of old. Those mass manufactured, supermarket shelf offerings are certainly not traditional flavours.

But it is not just the flavours. Mass produced by machines and stuffed full of ingredients to make it smell, taste and feel a certain way, the larger makers lack the artistry and craft of smaller, artisanal chocolatiers.

Artisan or craft chocolate makers are small businesses with a focus on hand producing authentic products in smaller quantities. They take great pride in their craft. They spend a lot of time and effort perfecting the “alchemy” of creating truly delectable and distinctive chocolate offerings.

Much like the craft beer scene – which has erupted in a big way in New Zealand – artisan chocolate makers are passionate about the quality of their offerings. In fact, many of these humble chocolatiers have won national and international awards for their innovative and mouth watering products!

Here at The Chocolate Tour we LOVE artisan chocolate. We would almost go so far to say that you haven’t really tasted chocolate until you have sampled artisanal chocolate.

It is so different from large-scale brands in the following ways:

 

How An Artisan Chocolatier Is Different To A Larger Maker

 

The Cacao Beans

Much like grapes and coffee beans, the flavour of chocolate can vary greatly depending on where the cacao beans are sourced from. Artisan chocolatiers put a great deal of effort into sourcing unique beans from around the globe and bringing out the inherent taste characteristics in each type.

From Guatemala and Papua New Guinea to Fiji and Haiti, artisans often work directly with small growers to source their beans. They also care about sustainability and ethical purchasing, supporting local communities by paying what the products are worth.

 

The Elaborate Process

Making chocolate by hand is a true craft. Artisans painstakingly work from bean to bar, overseeing each stage of the process to create one-of-a-kind chocolates. From roasting and milling to pressing, tempering and moulding, they have complete control over each batch.

 

Creativity And Innovation

Because artisanal chocolate makers craft small batches by hand, they have endless opportunities for creativity and innovation. A quick browse through any artisan chocolatier’s offerings, and you will find diverse flavour combinations you had never dreamed of.

While the larger manufacturers tend to stick with the tried and true favourites, smaller makers love to experiment and create new tastes and textures.

 

Quality Ingredients

Artisans rely on carefully selected, quality ingredients to create the superb taste and texture of their chocolate. The larger maker’s pile in extras like milk solids, emulsifiers, flavours, cocoa powder and vegetable fat. Not to mention going overboard on the sugar!

An artisan chocolate bar will often only feature cacao beans and sugar. The emphasis is more on cacao content than sugar.

 

Supporting Local Chocolatiers

When you purchase artisanal chocolate, you are supporting local businesses and individuals who live and die by their craft. You get to experience the different flavour profiles of cacao beans from across the globe, while supporting developing communities in the countries of origin.

Artisanal chocolate is a treat for the senses that allows you to appreciate the craft of chocolate making as it was intended to be: pure, natural, and a little bit decadent.

So, if you would like to try some “real” chocolate, why not consider a Chocolate Tour subscription. With monthly or quarterly options, we deliver an amazing range of different pieces from artisan chocolatiers all over New Zealand. Check out the options now.

 

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The Health Benefits Of Eating Artisan Chocolate

Did you know there are health benefits to eating chocolate?

I know right, you are intrigued now…

But it isn’t just any old bar. Don’t start popping choccies out of the forgotten advent calendar in the cupboard! You want the good stuff. It is the artisan stuff that has all the benefits.

From the time of the ancient Aztecs, chocolate has been prized for its ability to strengthen the body and mind. Not to mention its supposedly powerful aphrodisiac properties.

Funnily enough, researchers are still heavily delving into the mysterious healing powers of chocolate. Of course, this is research we heavily support! While this research continues, there are already plenty of studies which show there are definite health benefits hidden within the humble cacao bean.

However, not all chocolate is created equal. Those highly processed, big-brand blocks that line the supermarket shelves are a world away from small batch, lovingly-crafted artisan varieties. They provide very little of the same benefits – if any.

Let’s delve into some of the health benefits you can expect when enjoying delicious artisan chocolate.

 

The Health Benefits Of Artisan Chocolate

 

Lower Sugar Content

Artisanal chocolate doesn’t rely heavily on sugar for flavour or enjoyment.

While there is indeed sugar in most varieties of the sweet brown treat, artisan varieties contain a great deal less than the bigger brands. Many artisans add sweetness using natural sugars or ingredients. That adds to the flavour and means you can enjoy their treats in moderation without massive sugar spikes.

 

Rich In Antioxidants

Science has proven that cacao beans are high in flavonoids. That is what gives chocolate its powerful antioxidant properties.

Antioxidants can reduce cholesterol, lower blood pressure, and help prevent heart disease. They also fight free radicals that build up in the body, damaging cells. Therefore, they can potentially prevent a whole lot of nasty diseases.

Dark chocolate is the best source of antioxidants. So, go for chocolate with at least a 70% cocoa content for these benefits.

 

Increased Brain Function

Eating quality artisan chocolate can boost your brain power!

A compound called theobromine works in a similar manner to caffeine, improving memory and focus. As a bonus, theobromine can even harden your tooth enamel more effectively than fluoride. Choccie infused toothpaste anyone?

 

Natural Ingredients

When you read the back of a big brand chocolate bar, you can guarantee there will be a long list of ingredients that you don’t recognise.

In comparison, artisan chocolatiers take great pride in their craft. Every component used in the creation of their masterpieces is carefully selected. Many prefer to use organic products.

You won’t find any hidden nasties in their chocolates. So you don’t have to worry about added fats, sugars, chemicals and preservatives. And because the aim of creating artisan chocolates is to accentuate the flavour of the cacao bean, there is minimal processing involved throughout the journey from bean to bar. That means you get all the possible goodness from those natural ingredients.

 

Mood Booster

Chocolate has long been the favoured gift and snack of lovers. And for good reason. Although science hasn’t conclusively proven that the cacao bean has aphrodisiac properties, there is no questioning that it’s a great mood booster. Triggering a burst of serotonin – the feel-good hormone – in your body, it is a natural mood lifter which mimics the delicious sensation of falling in love.

 

No Binging Required!

Because artisan chocolate has higher amounts of cacao, it is incredibly satisfying. A sweet craving can be fixed with only one or two pieces of high-quality artisan products. You get all the health benefits of cacao without overloading on fat and sugar.

 

Artisan chocolate is designed to be a treat for your body and taste buds. But as with anything, you can have too much of a good thing. All the research agrees that these health benefits come from eating small amounts of high-quality chocolate. Make sure you enjoy your journey into the world of craft chocolate in moderation!

That is why our subscription boxes are the perfect amount to indulge… but not too much. We hunt out 5-8 varieties of the yummiest on-theme items we can find and then deliver them to your door.

Sound good? Shop the selection here.

 

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Why We Give Chocolate On Valentines Day

V-Day is fast approaching. The day of love. The day you get to show your significant other just how much they mean to you with a meaningful gift.

Or really just a good excuse to eat some deliciously decadent chocolate!

Whether you are looking for a sweet gift to woo a crush or a tender gesture for your other half, chocolate is a go-to Valentines Day gift that epitomises romance and affection.

Did you know, in the U.S. alone, people spend around $1.7 billion dollars on candy for the day dedicated to love? And, they spend 75% of it on chocolate. It is not just the Americans that go ga-ga for chocolate. In fact, the same spending behaviour is seen in many countries around the world.

Naturally, we think that every day is a good day to receive the gift of chocolate. But, we were curious as to how the most revered of sweet treats became the go-to gift on Valentines day.

Here’s what we discovered…

 

Where It All Began

Any chocolate lover knows that cacao beans are what makes the chocolatey magic happen. For centuries, that humble bean has been considered an aphrodisiac. Cacao was thought to stimulate desire and provide energy for — shall we say — romantic encounters.

It seems to have begun back in the time of the early Aztecs, by a rather raunchy emperor called Montezuma. He was rumoured to eat cocoa beans and chug rich cacao beverages as a way of fueling his encounters with the ladies. Even the infamous playboy Casanova referred to cocoa drinks as “the elixir of love.”

So, how did this potent and sexy brew cross over into the mainstream, commercial realm of Valentine’s Day?

 

Featuring In Valentines Day

A kind of Valentines Day has existed for centuries. But, the gift giving component only became popular in the Victorian Era. Up until the 1840s, chocolate was considered a luxury product. It was unaffordable for the average Jane or Joe. But, around this time, a marketing genius (who we will be forever grateful to) produced the first chocolate “bar”. This little invention transformed the world of chocolate.

During the Victorian era, chocolate boxes became a popular way for a man to declare his love to a woman. A combination of cultural trends and some clever marketing caused waves in society. In fact, Victorian etiquette books warned single women against accepting chocolates from a man that they weren’t engaged or related to! This was because such raunchy connotations were attached to boxed chocolates!

 

A Chocolate Love Story

As the product became more affordable, it increased opportunity. One of the grandfathers of chocolate, Richard Cadbury, had a marketing lightbulb moment in 1868. He decided to create a heart-shaped box full of chocolatey goodness specifically for Valentine’s Day. Ornately decorated with hearts and kittens, the boxes were a huge success.

The swooning recipients of the elegant gift, treasured the boxes as much as the contents. The pretty boxes were lovingly used to store love letters and other mementos within.

From that point, chocolate manufacturers simply utilised the power of advertising to firmly establish chocolate as the gift of choice on the most romantic day of the year.

 

Does Chocolate Deserve The Reputation?

There isn’t a lot of scientific proof to back up the aphrodisiac properties of cocoa. However, cocoa does contain components that affect the pleasure and reward centres of the brain. Meaning that eating it causes your mood to lift and, potentially produce feelings similar to those of falling in love.

Whatever the reason for the link between love and chocolate, there’s no doubt that receiving a box of carefully selected, decadent chocolates on Valentine’s Day makes one feel special and spoiled – the perfect recipe for a sweet, romantic rendezvous.

So on that note, why not treat your special someone to a gift of specially selected, delicious NZ artisan chocolate this Valentine’s day? Select a one-off gift box, or you can even purchase them a gift subscription (or one for yourself!) Shop the boxes here.

Artisan chocolate subscription box from The Chocolate Tour with a Kiwi Classics theme
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Kiwi Classics (May 2018)

The May theme is Kiwi Classics.

First up was Hogarth Craft Chocolate’s new Alto Beni Bolivian Dark Milk chocolate. As a long time milk chocolate lover, but someone who’s in it for the creaminess and chocolate rather than the sugar, I love that dark milk is a current trend. Less sweet, more chocolatey – and still that smooth dairy goodness. This bar displays the Hogarth’s exceptional chocolate-making skill, with notes of malt featuring strongly. The story woven to fit this into the Kiwi Classics box spoke to childhood milos and buttered malt biscuits – great taste memories to associate with this amazing chocolate.

House of Chocolate bonbons were next on our tasting menu. The flavours are coffee (a national obsession), peanut butter, and jelly tip. The coffee bonbon was rich and dark, full of flavour and hubby’s favourite. Peanut butter is also a deeply chocolatey peanut bonbon – nice and rich and I love this one. And the jelly tip is a fun combo of wobbly berry jelly and oozing vanilla bean filling – my favourite and definitely reminiscent of jelly tip ice creams and childhood joy.

Also from House of Chocolate is the dark chocolate feijoa; crisp, freeze-dried feijoa covered in dark couverture chocolate. While we’ve had the standard seasonal glut of feijoas here recently I enjoyed having the familiar tart flavour in a different textural context.

Koa chocolates make just one product; a Manuka honey ganache-filled chocolate. These are tasty and sweet, with prominent honey flavours, and even sweeter – all profits from sale go to supporting Bois Gentil Kiwi Creche, a facility that protects kiwi eggs and chicks, helping ensure the birds survive into adulthood.

The Remarkable Chocolate Company’s marshmallow, raspberry and toasted coconut bark is a very generous helping of organic dark chocolate, and a grown up take on rocky road. This is both delicious and highly textured.

Subscribe now to get your hands on our next fabulous chocolate subscription box, or grab the Kiwi Classics collection as a one-off purchase (while stock lasts). 

New Zealand chocolate subscription The Chocolate Tour Perfect Pairs collection
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Perfect Pairs (April 2018)

April’s theme is Perfect Pairs. The idea was to match various chocolate treats with food and drink. I thought this was a really interesting concept: especially the decision to let you choose your own pairings. Advice on pairing was given via a web article, which proved to be a handy guide. Personally, I’m a fan of eating chocolate with a good cuppa, so for this experiment I purposefully steered clear of tea and chose some other pairings so as to be a bit more adventurous. For foods, I had a creamy blue brie, some smoky cheese, yoghurt, plum paste and crackers. I thought about opening a bottle of wine but, knowing I wouldn’t get through it all during the tasting, I decided on sips of port instead (from an already open bottle).

I started with She Universe’s Sassy Sesame Snap which, in itself, is an interesting pairing. Dark chocolate coated in sesame seeds is not something I ever thought I’d eat. On its own, it’s almost like eating savoury chocolate, with the sesame flavour and the sweetness competing for taste supremacy. I tried pairing this with plum paste, but found the paste too sweet. It drowned out the savoury moreishness. Unfortunately the port also overpowered the taste of the chocolate. Contrastingly, the smoky cheese worked quite well and complemented the savoury sesame. The soft blue was also a nice match.

Next was something completely different: Chocolatier Mirams’ White Chocolate, Lemon, Olive Oil and Poppy seed tablet. Again, this is an amazing combination in itself. Lemon and poppy seeds are a great combination (think lemon poppy seed cake): add white chocolate and olive oil and you have a divinely inspired recipe. I tried it with the creamy brie, which worked exceptionally well.

I’m afraid that I don’t like coffee, so She Chocolat’s Chocolate Coffee Beans were wasted on me. I did try one and the chocolate coating was lovely. They will certainly make a great gift for a friend or family member.

Ocho’s 70% Cacao Solomons was just beautiful on its own, but also worked well with white bread, much like a chocolate pastry. The plum paste wasn’t a bad taste partner either as it complemented the fruity undertones of the chocolate.

When I opened up the package containing Choco Loco’s Chocolates, I breathed in a beautiful, heady, deep chocolate scent. Beneath a thick layer of couverture chocolate, lay blackcurrant and absinthe in one (A Currant Affair) and raspberry and wasabi in the other (Pepperberry Delight). Bold flavour choices: what to match them with? Cheese didn’t seem right and I just wasn’t in the mood for (any more) Port. Creamy yoghurt wasn’t too bad with the Pepperberry delight but it didn’t work so well with the Currant Affair. I think this would work well with another liqueur or perhaps a malty beer. Unfortunately, I didn’t have either on hand.

Chocolatier Mirams’ Ginger and Sesame Bonbons were an interesting melange of savoury sesame and subtle ginger. I didn’t really find a good match for these, but they were so unusual on their own, that that didn’t matter. And trying out different pairings is all part of the fun, even if you don’t find that perfect one.

Experimenting with different food and chocolate pairings was a great way to really savour the flavours and think about what might complement them. This was a fun tasting adventure and I look forward to more.

Subscribe now to get your hands on our next fabulous chocolate subscription box. 

The Chocolate Tour chocolate subscription artisan New Zealand chocolate
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Fruit & Nut (March 2018)

The theme for March is Fruit and Nut. Like Rosa, as a child, fruit and nut was definitely not my favourite kind of chocolate. Why spoil all the sugary goodness with stuff that’s supposed to be healthy?! As my tastes have matured, I’ve come to love both nutty and fruity chocolate and I was intrigued to see what this box had in store for me. I was also interested to note that all of this box’s chocs were made in Auckland. Is Auckland the next new Chocolate mecca?

My tasting session started with Chocolate Brown’s Florentines. I was interested to try these first as I remember tasting the biscuit version in Europe. These are just as tasty. Instead of a biscuit base, the three florentines were simple discs of milk chocolate topped with a chewy mixture of almonds, peel and glace cherries. Glace cherries are not always my cup of tea, but they work in this instance.

Next up was Flint’s Hazelnut & Orange bar. The thing I noticed first was the beautiful jungle print on the wrapping. I love that so many companies put as much thought, love and care into their packaging design as they do their chocolate. Once unwrapped, the organgey aroma was lovely. The chocolate was dark and smooth, despite containing ground hazelnuts, and had a crunchy hazelnut layer on top. The hazelnut flavour was stronger than the orange, but they worked well together.

I am a big fan of Caramilk, so I was really looking forward to trying House of Chocolate’s Caramelised White Chocolate & Hazelnut tablet. The caramelised chocolate wasn’t as sweet as the supermarket variety, which is a good thing. What sweetness there is is balanced by the delicious, crunchy hazelnuts. It’s a combination I wouldn’t have thought of, but it’s a delicious match.

Honest Chocolat’s Bonbons were almost too pretty to eat.There were three flavours. The Raspberry & Ginger was a cute, little, square morsel topped with a zing of freeze dried raspberries. The filling was dense and rich, somewhat like a raspberry drenched, fudgy chocolate cake with a hint of ginger, inside a chocolate shell. The circular, orange, white-flecked bonbon was an orange and cardamom pairing. The filling was cakey, orangey and cardammomy, as expected. The last bonbon was Preserved Strawberry. The outer layer was a deep pink with white speckles. The filling was fudgey strawberry. Just delicious.

My absolute favourite was Honest Chocolat’s Fig & Almond Tablet. Again, I loved the packaging for this bar, but this time it wasn’t about the look of it. What I enjoyed was the description of the chocolate on the inside of the wrapper, along with tasting instructions and an explanation of where the beans came from (Ecuador’s last pacific cloud forest). I opened up the inner wrapper to find four mini blocks of chocolate, with individual little pieces marked out as with a larger chocolate bar. They were too small to break apart and eat individually, but very visually pleasing. The chocolate itself was lovely and smooth, juxtaposed with the crunchy fig and almond pieces. This was by far my favourite mixture of flavours.

Having tried March’s satisfying collection, I have to admit that I’ll now be on the lookout for more Fruit and Nut combinations to keep maturing my palate!

Subscribe now to get your hands on our next fabulous chocolate subscription box. 

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behind the business

Where it all began

This month The Chocolate Tour is celebrating our first birthday, and I wanted to spend a few minutes sharing the inspiration behind the business.

I’ve always been a committed chocolate lover, and this has manifested in various ways over the years. Eating it, of course. Moulding chocolates. Making cakes that feature more chocolate by weight than all other ingredients combined. Experimenting with many, many recipes. Tracking down all the best chocolatiers and chocolate makers. Planning holidays around visiting their shops. Eating more.

After my second child was born in 2016, I was looking for a way to have a wee indulgence that I didn’t have to plan out – my head was too full as it was. I knew chocolate subscriptions existed elsewhere and I thought that was perfect; something new each month, no thinking, just sign up and it arrives. Magic! The only problem: there weren’t any in New Zealand. And shipping chocolate internationally on a monthly basis is both risky and expensive.

I googled; I found nothing. End of story, right? Except I couldn’t leave it alone. Every couple of months I found myself searching again, all to no avail.

Then I started thinking about going back to work, and it all fell into place – I thought perhaps I should have a crack at creating this thing I had been compulsively looking for.

Months of research, planning and sourcing later, we launched; our first boxes were sent out on the 1st of April 2017. There have been heaps of challenges; some things haven’t gone to plan, and others have worked out far better than I could have hoped. The rollercoaster of business! But I love it. I get to apply my compulsive chocolate-stalking behaviour to making other people happy (and yes, I get to taste-test along the way, although that’s a fairly small proportion of my work!).

I’m so thankful to everyone who has supported me in getting this far – to our subscribers and customers, all the amazing chocolate makers and chocolatiers who supply us, and my lovely family: thank you! Long may we continue sharing the finest chocolate in Aotearoa with you all.

Meanwhile, my daughter – the one who starting me thinking about it – is almost two, and this morning she asked for chocolate for breakfast. I guess the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree… 😉

colour themed chocolate subscription box with New Zealand artisan chocolate
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Colours (February 2018)

February’s subscription box was the Colours collection. When I think of colour, I think of rainbows, warmth, light and childlike fun: all those things that give you warm fuzzies. Chocolate does the same thing for me, so I was excited to taste what all the colours would represent.

I enthusiastically unwrapped the largest block from its yellow paper: Wellington Chocolate Factory’s Salted Brittle Caramel bar. This bar consists of beautiful dark chocolate coated in crunchy, salted caramel brittle. WCF likes to make chocolate blocks with great texture and this was no exception. The smooth chocolate base and the crackling caramel are a contrasting yet complementary pair.

Next I unwrapped orange: She Universe’s Orange and Mandarin bar. The first thing that struck me was the amazing look of this bar with its leaf and cacao pod designs. Creamy chocolate is infused with subtle citrus flavours and gives off a lovely jaffa smell. Of note, the ingredients list includes love and creativity and it’s dairy and sugar (but not sweetener) free.

Purple was Chocolatier Miram’s Blackcurrant and Cacao Chewy Caramel Nougatine Crunch, which is a mouthful linguistically and taste-wise. It has lots of different flavours and textures going on: a berry exterior, crunchy nougat, chewy caramel, flavoursome chocolate. But this unique wee creation works! For a delicate little bar, it packs quite a punch…  I needed at least four more!

The green package contained representatives for both green and blue, in the form of House of Chocolate’s Bonbons. Two exquisite looking (light and dark) green bonbons and one blue. The exteriors are tiny works of art, with polished, marbled swirls of colour. Inside, the mastery continues: the light green contains a lush, creamy peppermint filling; the dark green a slightly grainy, but creamy and fruity feijoa; and the blue an almost liquid, salted caramel. This last one was my favourite, reminding me of old-fashioned toffee. A word of warning: eat it all at once. If you take a bite and come back to it later, the filling oozes out into the packaging. Don’t ask me how I know this…

Last, but not least, was my stand out favourite… Once the red paper was shed, it revealed Cacao for Me’s Raspberry Chocolate. I loved how it essentially gave me a free pass to eat it all myself, given its name. I did, however, allow my husband a wee nibble as it was just too good not to share! This was rich, decadent and rewarding: a perfect pairing of moussey, fudgey chocolate resting on a rich raspberry jam-like pate de fruit, covered with a smooth chocolate coating. Just as the wrapper says … Chocolate happiness!

February’s box definitely delivered on my expectations of warm fuzzies. It was a great way to showcase some quite different, but equally delicious, chocolate creations from around Aotearoa.

Subscribe now to get your hands on our next fabulous chocolate subscription box. 

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Gold (January 2018)

January’s box was the Gold collection. This theme made me think of summer heat and golden lager, but I was also excited to try some top shelf, gold award-winning chocolate!

I started with She Universe’s Pineapple Lumps. I was slightly hesitant to try these as I’m not a big pineapple fan. However, I was pleasantly surprised. The pineapple flavour wasn’t too strong, with the passionfruit providing an exquisite sweetness which lingered on the tongue. With a creamy, crumbly, white chocolatey, fruity filling and a deep, dark chocolate outer, these were lovely!

After trying the wonderful contribution from Hogarth in September’s High Tea box, I had to crack into Hogarth’s Gianduia next. I love the gold wrappers on these bars: I feel like I’m unwrapping a treat from Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory! This golden package was full of creamy chocolate goodness that melted in the mouth, with a subsequent taste of almost burnt hazelnut. This bar has a really satisfying, rich flavour and was just the ticket for what I was craving.

Next was Honest Chocolat’s Salted Caramel and Buckwheat Tablet. This bar is an unusual combination of delicious milk chocolate, salty, tangy caramel pieces and sweet, crunchy buckwheat. For me, this was a winning combo, with a particularly lovely aftertaste and great textures.

Chocolatier Mirams’ Crunchy Hazelnut and Milk Chocolate Sticks are just plain gorgeous. Crunchy and creamy and coated with cocoa. The only problem I had with them was that there was only one. I wanted more!

Chocolatier Mirams’ Bonbons were an interesting choice, with three unusual flavour amalgamations. The banana passion was divine; the honey and rosemary was a masterful combination of dark chocolate and savoury rosemary, softened with honey; and the lemon meringue was like a tiny, delightful version of the bigger pudding.

Another surprise for me was Colestown Chocolate’s Peanut Bar. I’ve tried combinations of peanut and chocolate before and have been distinctly unimpressed. This bar was simply delicious and, I have to admit it, my favourite. With crunchy peanuts cresting the top of the milk chocolate outer layer and a chocolate and peanut butter filling that was beautifully creamy, smooth, sweet and salty, this was a real winner.

This month’s selection really was worthy of the name: it was gold class, top of the range chocolate. Roll on February and more deliciousness from The Chocolate Tour!

Subscribe now to get your hands on our next collection of chocolatey goodness. 

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