Continuing my series of monthly subscription box reviews, we have what I would class as one for the epicurean hedonist. Cocoa Runners members receive 4/5 chocolate bars delivered in plain letterbox packaging (so neighbours and suchlike won’t feel the need to have a taste for themselves if they’re that way inclined). To treat, taste and tempt the most discerning chocoholic amongst us.
Bars carefully chosen around themes, showcasing the latest developments and characteristics of “bean to bar” chocolate.
The chocolate selection is beautifully chosen. Bars from Peru, Sao Tome, Trinidad, Mexico to name a few. Tempting your senses with between 30%-100% cocoa, the purest, raw bitter and green tones of Forever Cacao Raw Peru 80% to the sweetest, roasted coffee noted Zotter Labooko Thank You. There are bars for each and every sense to be enveloped and bathed in silky goodness.
Supplied with information cards, detailing the country of origin, cocoa content, bean origin, and bar characteristics. It takes the experience far beyond just a bar, learning the process, the different techniques and technologies used to create these culinary pictures of pure perfection.
On to the box I received and it’s delights.
I received 5 bars in my box with a little tiny square sample for a friend, and the information cards. It’s very neatly presented in it’s little brown box. You could smell the chocolate fragrance radiating from the box even before I opened it. Made me all the more excited to see what was inside.
The bars I received were:
- Menakao: Madagascan Vanilla
- TCHO SeriousMilk
- Michel Cluizel Maralumi Lait
- Jordi’s 45% Milk
- Fruition Dark Milk Chocolate With Fleur De Sel
The Menako although looked quite a light milk chocolate, was actually quite dark and intense but buttery. A very soft snap, which is probably due to the amount of milk used, but with a kind of blackberry acidity overtone. It’s not a bar that you can eat a lot of in one sitting. Far too intense for that albeit incredibly moorish.
TCHO SeriousMilk is a cute square bar – the packaging is akin to the Thornton Chocolate Block Bars. 53% Milk, the bar is creamy and silky smooth. If you like the mass produced commercial chocolate bars which frequent our supermarket shelves, then this would be more of what you are used to without the high sugar content. Organic and gluten free.
Having tried Michel Cluizel chocolate previously I was expecting the Maralumi Lait one to be amazing, but I was quite disappointed. It just seemed to be too ordinary. The bar, although snapped beautifully, the flavour just didn’t blow me away. It tasted much like, what I refer to as plastic chocolate (cooking chocolate) than one of artisan proportions that the other bars in the range depict quite exquisitely.
Inspired by French Chocolate Masters, Jordi’s 45% Milk is not only pretty and stylish but light and delicate in flavour. This bar has quite a light spice to it, not overpowering by any means. Just a flavour that dances playfully on the tastebuds. Creamy, spice, much like a warm cup of milk dusted with cinnamon. Melts deliciously without any dark spice after tones. Packaging is a little striking with pinks and yellows but it’s memorable for both taste and vision.
I’ve left the best till last:
Fruition Dark Milk Chocolate With Fleur De Sel – this bar (out of this selection) blew me away. Smokey roasted tones, to the salty wave of fleur de sel washing over the tongue in maximum voracity. It melts in the mouth slowly like a spoonful of thick, glossy mousse, the peppery flashes similar to the aroma of tobacco lifted it away from the ordinary. This bar was my total favourite and one of those I will actively sort out to buy again since it was so delicious.
The box probably retails at around the £25 mark, so for the subscription price of £16.95 (which includes shipping) it’s a bargain. I love the fact that you get to try chocolate from single plantations, the rarer selections which are not so commercially available to the mainstream, products made with care from manufacturers who run their businesses through the love the product rather than just doing it to make a profit.
It’s also worth noting that Cocoa Runners, don’t just provide a subscription option. They also have an amazing range of chocolate to choose from where you can pick and choose individual bars in their library, and also the option to pick something special from their one off gifts.
Beautiful. Just beautiful.