Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Artisan du Chocolat- English Breakfast Eggs

I saw these rather unconventional eggs mentioned in a review of the Chocolate Festival on London's South Bank, and knew I'd have to track a bag down before Easter.  Made exclusively in the UK for Selfridges (I think they're available in Artisan's stores too) They combine favourite breakfast flavours with fine chocolate.  The question was: would they be worth the braving a Saturday afternoon trip to Oxford Street to pick them up?

Although excited I was still a bit wary of trying these.  So often I get seduced by interesting flavours and packaging, only to be let down by what's inside.  There isn't much information on the packet, it doesn't even say which egg is which flavour, but on opening the packet I could definitely smell the faint notes of fry up, mixed with sweet milk and cocoa.  Odd, but not unpleasant.

White Chocolate with Cepes Mushroom

This had a pretty strong aroma, not unlike the porcini stock cubes I bought back from Italy recently.  Although I didn't find out the flavour combinations from the website until after I had tasted the eggs this one was clearly fungi.  I know white chocolate isn't 'proper' chocolate, but sometimes I really enjoy it's creamy, vanilla notes. This was more like eating plain cocoa butter.  It was slightly greasy in the mouth, and not very sweet.  The absence of vanilla let the mushroom flavours shine through, but the background chocolate tasted a bit waxy, and wasn't interesting enough to make this very enjoyable.

Milk Chocolate and Bacon - 35% Cocoa Solids

The bacon smell was immediately noticeable, and there was also a sweet, rich cocoa note.  The flavour was exactly like eating a Frazzle bacon flavoured crisp with a square of milk chocolate.  Strange, and really quite nice.  The quality of the chocolate saved this from being too sickly, as the meaty, savoury bacon flavour worked with the malty, slightly bitter edge.  I enjoyed this, and it was good fun, although it's not something you would want to eat too much of.

Dark Chocolate and Tomato - 72% Cocoa Solids

This egg had a lovely, slightly smoky aroma with the ferrous note of tinned tomatoes.  Again, that may sound quite unpleasant, but I found combination worked very well.  The tomato flavour was sweet and slightly metallic, and combined nicely with the fruity notes of the dark chocolate.  The strength was in the quality of the chocolate and the subtlety of the flavour.  Just enough to notice, but not enough to over power, or for the overall effect to become too cloying.

Overall these are pretty good fun, and a nice idea for those who are looking for something a bit  different this Sunday. I found the white chocolate disappointing, but the milk and dark versions were tasty and unusual. At £7.50 for three small eggs they're not especially cheap, but would certainly be a interesting gift from the Easter Bunny.

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