When the Grown Up Chocolate Club hinted that the March selection (slightly delayed due to the unseasonably warm spell of weather) would have a “seasonal” theme, it turned out they were masters of understatement. On opening the usual pink-and-brown box and reading the scoring card, the latter announced they were “taking the Easter theme to an eggs-treme level”… Understatement.
I’d expected maybe one or two mini-eggs, maybe one chocolate cast into the shape of an Easter chick. But no: every single one of the 31 chocolates in this month’s selection took the form of a mini Easter egg. A fabulous surprise, and typical of the exuberant approach taken by the GUCC! Any potential difficulty in matching up eggs to filling (since several looked rather similar, inevitably) was avoided by GUCC’s usual clever translucent overlay key sheet, which identifies each chocolate by its location in the box (see photo). To top things off, one of this month’s duo of bars, the deliciously creamy Java milk chocolate bar, was in a wrapper bearing a friendly Easter greeting. All in all, this felt like a real labour of love from those nice people at GUCC.
So, on with the review. As with each month’s Club box, there were 31 chocolates with 15 different fillings, one solid bar, and one filled bar. Incorporating the bars into the monthly selection is a great idea, and particularly appropriate as the Grown Up Chocolate Company is mainly known to the public via its delicious range of up-market filled chocolate bars. The shells of the eggs were an assortment of milk, dark and white chocolate, quite heavily biased towards milk and white, which suits me as I love both, but may not please less heretical chocolate lovers who prefer their chocolate dark. Usually there’s a greater dark chocolate presence, but I assume they felt the sweeter types were more appropriate for Easter, perhaps? All the plain chocolate is at least 65% cocoa solids, milk chocolate is at least 36%, and the white contains at least 26% cocoa butter.
Caramel Egg: The shell, made of their superb milk chocolate, is thin enough to instantly give way to the thick, rich salted caramel within. Everybody makes a salted caramel these days, of course, but this one is perfectly balanced, and a real treat.
Champagne Egg: Velvety and creamy, this was a perfectly respectable champagne truffle, though I must admit I prefer the more boozy versions of this classic.
Coffee Egg: I know there are some who dislike coffee-flavoured chocolate (probably bad childhood memories of insipid “coffee cremes”), but at their best they really are like a strong shot of good espresso, and I absolutely loved this one!
Custard Cream Egg: This one was all about contrasts; a milk chocolate shell with dark marbling set up rich chocolate flavours before melting away to leave the vanilla creaminess of the white chocolate ganache filling, which really did taste like a good creamy custard.
Fresh Lime Egg: An unusual flavour for a fruit ganache, but the combination of fresh lime juice and a dark ganache inside an ultra-thin white chocolate shell worked perfectly. I like full-flavoured fruit ganaches, and this one really delivered.
Lemon Bar: Oh my goodness, this was terrific; a deep, glossy bar of milk chocolate thinly coating an intensely-flavoured dark chocolate lemon ganache and two thick strips of candied orange and lemon peel. This style of bar is a speciality of the Grown Up Chocolate Company, and I really hope they add this one to their range of individual bars.
Milk Chocolate Bar: This 45g bar of milk chocolate’s wrapper, with it’s cheery Easter greeting, was a real highlight. Made with Java origin chocolate, it was one of the smoothest milk chocolate bars I’ve ever eaten; creamy and velvety with a melting mouth-feel, and a lingering rich flavour. Wonderful.
Milk Egg: a solid egg of the same Java milk chocolate as the bar, above.
Mint Egg: This was surprising; instead of the usual peppermint, this ganache was flavoured with fresh garden mint. An unusual flavour to say the least, but it worked wonderfully well, mingling nicely with the marbled milk/dark chocolate shell.
Orange Egg: Another absolute cracker! Inside the white chocolate shell lay a gooey dark chocolate ganache flavoured with Seville orange marmalade. The slight bitterness of the marmalade formed a perfect foil for the white chocolate.
Passion Fruit Egg: Passion fruit, with its unmistakable intense flavour and refreshing sharpness, is a natural choice for a fruity ganache, and I don’t know why it doesn’t appear more often. Happily, it’s something of a GUCC house speciality, here married as usual to a robust dark chocolate for the ganache and coated with a mellow white shell that softens you up for the killer punch lurking within. My favourite in the box.
Crunchy Eggs (Milk and White): I really liked this idea: solid eggs dotted inside with several “pearls” - these being tiny balls of crispy rice coated in dark chocolate. Simple but very effective, and an interesting texture.
Plain Egg: A solid Madagascar chocolate egg - a good choice since its light fruitiness suits a Spring collection.
Praline Egg: It’s always difficult knowing what to say about pralines, since they’re one of the basic, iconic chocolates. But this one’s of the smooth, mellow variety, with plenty of hazelnut flavour, and it’s very good. Not much more to say, really.
White Egg: A solid egg made with Arabica cocoa butter. I do like white chocolate (I know, I know…), and this was particularly clean tasting, with good vanilla flavour.
So all in all, this was a great surprise, as my second monthly box from the club; a very satisfying and high-quality selection from a team who seem to have a genuine sense of fun. I can’t wait to see what they come up with for Christmas!