Helsham Chocolates Mother’s Day Selection
Just yesterday I received a small parcel in the post containing this box of 6 truffles. I had been emailed the previous week offering a sample and was surprised to see this suddenly turn up.
Helsham Chocolates themselves are a new company, only established in 2009 by Helen Wood and Shami Doshi, and it was Shami herself who emailed me. Like a lot of modern companies they have their own Facebook and Twitter pages for you to follow which is quite nice. Everything they make is handmade, and their chocolate is sourced from Belgium. So that’s the company, how about the chocolate?
Well, the box is as plain as it looks. Just a small, nice quality brown box with a ribbon on. The ribbon can be slid off rather than undone (which is what I did), and inside, before we get to the chocolates, is a small piece of paper telling us what the truffles are exactly. None of them have specific names, instead a little, somewhat crude drawing of each and a short description of what each of them contains.
So rather than just read the descriptions, there are our chocolates and we’ll go from the top left hand corner in clockwise fashion. As you can see each chocolate comes in a little paper cup, and survived the trip from Leicester to Buckinghamshire quite well. The first truffle I had was a hazelnut covered in milk chocolate and rolled in caramelised hazelnut pieces, now I’ve had a lot of hazelnut in my time and rarely do companies caramelise their nuts, I don’t know if it’s expensive to do so or a design choice, but I really do think us consumers are losing out because caramelised nuts are delicious, and this is no exception. I don’t need to describe hazelnut flavour to any of you I’m sure, but caramelised hazelnuts are crispy and crunchy, with a slightly buttery flavour, and they turn what could have been something quite ordinary into a delicious treat.
Next up is a pink foil-wrapped truffle. This is raspberry pieces within milk chocolate ganache encrusted with sugar. It’s actually very pretty looking, the sugar makes the whole thing sparkle in a way I never thought chocolate would, but the taste I found was a little disappointing. Now don’t get me wrong, milk chocolate ganache and raspberry is delicious, and so was this, but I expected a little bit more raspberry. The balance seemed a little off, and maybe it was because I didn’t let it melt in my mouth, but I found this to be quite heavy on the chocolate flavour and a little light on the raspberry. Still a winner though.
Our next truffle got a little chipped in transit, and it’s a chocolate truffle with Irish Liqueur covered with chocolate shavings. I’m a big Irish Liqueur (read: Bailey’s) fan, and this was simply divine. It had that unmistakable creamy taste and with a slight lingering sensation that meant you knew you were eating something with some real booze. Definitely one of the best chocolates I’ve had in a long time, it was over too soon.
The bottom right truffle is white ganache with Sicilian lemons and Bombay Sapphire Gin, covered in dark vermicelli. Now as far as I’m aware vermicelli is a type of pasta so this one had me a bit confused, but I didn’t worry about it. Now like caramelised nuts, I do wonder why there aren’t really any mainstream chocolate bars with lemon, it’s a great combo. This is a delicious chocolate, light and creamy and tangy, just how it should be. I don’t know what they mean by dark vermicelli but it didn’t seem to effect anything, this was very nice.
Obviously our next truffle is white chocolate, and this is simply filled with strawberries. White chocolate and fruit go together very well, and this is certainly much more tangy and flavoursome than the raspberry chocolate. You can feel each piece of strawberry on your tongue as bursts of flavour, it’s just right.
Last up is a dark chocolate ganache, dusted with cocoa and filled with pieces of ginger. I’m not a fan of ginger or dark chocolate and honestly I didn’t like this one. I found it very dry, the cocoa dusting was quite heavy, certainly when combined with ginger and dark chocolate, and I found it all to be a bit overbearing and not very satisfying. You’ll know if this one would be to your liking or not prior to eating it.
Overall, a lovely selection. One last thing to add is that they really do use fresh ingredients, it says these chocolates must be eaten by 23 March to be at their best, which is nearly a week after I got them, and I would assume a week or two after they made them, which is a real sign of quality.