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When I planned my chocolate tour of London, I knew I had to call into Piccadilly's finest grocer to see if I could get my hands on one of their weirdest creations - chocolate made with baked beans. Yes, you read that right. Chocolate. Baked beans. Together. As one.
The lights glowed in red, with illuminated numbers decorating each window to create a real-life advent calendar. It was one of my favourite festive light displays I saw during my trip.
Immediately to your right as you walk through the main entrance is the chocolate department, with cabinets of fresh chocolates lining the walls. Such was the demand, I had to take a ticket and wait my turn. Once served, I coyly asked about the fabled baked bean chocolate. I thought it might have been a limited edition item that was long gone, but no, it's still on the shelves today. I picked four chocolates to fill up a clear plastic bag and paid £3.99, apprehensive of what this curious chocolate flavour had in store for me.
I purchased a selection of loose chocolates and they were popped into a standard clear plastic bag, albeit sealed with a Fortnum's sticker. There were boxes available for larger selections, but my choice of a clear bag was the cheapest way to try a handful of Fortnum's loose chocolates.
I gingerly looked after these chocolates throughout the day, and managed to transport them home unscathed. Heavy handiness will result in cracked shells so that's something to bear in mind, should you wish to buy loose chocolates.
White Chocolate Heinz Baked Bean Truffle
Weird is just one of the words I'd use to describe this one. Odd, quirky, and unusual would be three more. Conceptually, it pushes the boundaries of what many people would consider acceptable in chocolate. That said, it isn't unpalatable. Uncomfortable, perhaps, as baked beans and white chocolate aren't often thought of as best friends.
The white chocolate adds sweet and creamy notes of vanilla, which is interrupted by the savoury flavour of Heinz's tomato sauce and the taste of baked beans in a dense orange-colour ganache. The breadcrumb coating, which is more chewy than crunchy, adds another dimension. It's almost like a plate of beans on toast, but in a sweet chocolate form. That medley of flavours continues into the aftertaste, where you're left with the uneasy combination of baked bean and sweet vanilla flavours.
This one has to be tried to be believed. I don't think you'll want a box of them per se, but I think it's definitely a novel flavour that should be tried at least once. I suspect it divides opinion as much as Marmite (which works much better with chocolate, by the way).
Dark Chocolate Beetroot, Red Wine Vinegar & Hazelnut Water Ganache Truffle
This one stood out thanks to its inclusion of beetroot and red wine vinegar - two more ingredients not often combined with chocolate. Inside a dark chocolate shell hides a smooth and light ganache. The vinegar sits at the top of the flavour, with the earthy beetroot flavour appearing next. Nutty notes appear at the baseline, adding a pleasant contrast.
The rather distinct flavours subtly morph from one to the other in this savoury chocolate. It's a clean, grown-up flavour.
The dark chocolate adds depth and richness to the overall proposition. Into the aftertaste, it's sweet beetroot and red wine vinegar flavours that linger longest.
It's another unusual chocolate flavour, but possibly more palatable than the beany chocolate.
White Chocolate Fortnum's Knickerbocker Glory Truffle
To counter the grown-up flavours of baked beans and beetroot, I sought something fun and whimsical, and Fortnum's Knickerbocker Glory Truffle ticked the right box.
Here, a vanilla custard and strawberry jam filling surrounds a mini marshmallow, all wrapped in a sweet white chocolate shell. The flavour of vanilla dominates from start to finish, dwarfing the subtle jam and marshmallow flavours. While novel, this one looks and sounds better than it tastes. It's sweet and creamy, but the flavour doesn't evoke imagery of a Knickerbocker Glory in my head.
Dark Chocolate Elderflower English Caramel
For my final choice, I opted for a caramel. Here, a dark chocolate shell encapsulates a copper-coloured elderflower caramel.
The gooey caramel flavour was intense, with a subtle elderflower flavour. The thick dark chocolate shell adds bitterness, which jars with the sweet caramel. The powerful flavour of the dark chocolate dominates in the aftertaste too, which lingers long after the caramel has gone.
While enjoyable, I craved a stronger elderflower flavour and a slightly weaker chocolate shell to balance the flavours.
Fortnum & Mason Loose Chocolates Selection Review
RRP: £9.50 | Fortnum & Mason | Shop now°
Fortnum & Mason's Heinz Baked Bean Chocolate Truffle is so totally bonkers it has to be tried to be believed. Once you've tried it, I'm not sure you'll want it again, but you can wear the 'I've tested a really weird chocolate combination' badge with honour. The other chocolates were enjoyable but the flavours could have been punchier.
Where to Buy Online
I'm glad I tasted them, and I can wear my "I tried baked bean chocolate" badge with pride. But I wouldn't get it again. Quirky, yes. Addictive, absolutely not.
But if you find yourself in London, and you like weird and wonderful foods, then you ought to try it.
If you want to buy loose chocolate truffles, you'll need to plan a trip to visit London, as these are only available from the counters in Fortnum & Mason's Piccadilly store.
There are plenty of ready-made chocolate boxes available online here° of the most popular truffles and caramels, should you wish to try Fortnum's chocolates at home, or send them as a gift to friends and family.
Fortnum And Mason Piccadilly Chocolate Pearl Biscuits, 200g
ALL IN DATE WITH FAR EXPIRY DATES Fortnum And Mason Piccadilly Chocolate Pearl Biscuits, 200g. Classic Chocolate Pearl Biscuit? Wonderful all butter biscuit which is choc-full of Valrhona Chocolate Pearls is delicious adding that extra special sweet something to a perfect Afternoon Tea. Buy with confidence
£14.90 + £2.99 postage
Fortnum & Mason Sealed Platinum Jubilee Musical Biscuit Tin Chocolate Nut Queen
Brand-new never opened, sealed, Fortnum & Mason platinum, jubilee Queen Elizabeth II musical biscuit, tin, chocolate and macadamia nut flavour. Please note the best before these was 28/05/23. Everything still sealed Please study photographs of this forms part of the description. I am a private seller, not a business, so please ask questions before buying. I ship via Ebay and the tracking automatically uploads.
£10.00 + £3.50 postage
FORTNUM MASON King Charles III CORONATION Chocolate Coin TIN New Sealed
FORTNUM & MASON. "Created to mark the Coronation of His Majesty King Charles III this smooth milk chocolate coin encased in foil features a traditional British oak tree design. Coronation Chocolate Coin Tin.
£14.00 + £3.99 postage
Fortnum & Mason Christmas & Chocolate Gingerbread Gift Box
FORTNUM & MASON. Chocolate Gingerbread Man Matchbox 35g. Christmas & Chocolate Gingerbread Gift Box.
£79.00 + £4.50 postage
Fortnum & Mason Chocolate Toad, 130g/New
Indulge in the exquisite flavour of the Tode by Fortnum & Mason Chocolate Toad. This delectable treat weighs 130g and is brand new, ready to be savoured at any time. The Fortnum & Mason brand is renowned for its exceptional quality and this Chocolate Toad is no exception. The tin features a stunning design and will make a wonderful addition to any collection.
+ £3.93 postage
Are you brave enough to take on Fortnum's Heinz Baked Bean truffle? Let me know in a comment below.