Christmas crackers are a household staple here in Chocolatier.co.uk towers, although I'm not sure why we all still get excited about hearing the snap and revealing some cheap tat inside along with a corny joke. It's tradition, I suppose.
As I started ogling the crackers in the seasonal aisle in my local supermarket, Amanda Langley got in touch with me with an offer I couldn't refuse. She kindly sent over her rocky road chocolate Christmas crackers to see if they had the power to save this Christmas. Are these chocolate crackers a great way to add at least a little joy to the remainder of 2020?
In this article:
How It Arrives
The 204g sleek black gift box gives very little away. A large Langleys logo adorns the lid, along with the strap line "created to be experienced." It already feels like a captivating experience, and begs you to peek inside. A Taste of the West Gold award sticker proudly sits at the bottom right hand side of the lid too.
Coyly lifting off the lid and delicately folding back the tissue paper, I discovered a dozen miniature Christmas table crackers in dazzling white and shimmering silver.
Contrasting with the jet black outer box, the crackers almost feel like something you'd find in a fruit-based technology shop, punctuated with splashes of colour inside to reflect the flavours. There's yellow (original), orange, lime and sea salt (lime green), black (Trevethan Gin), and dark green (Christmas spice).
The outer white sides feature a dainty gloss pattern in the background that shimmers in the light. Silver foil printed snowflake decorations enhance this effect too. The face of the rectangular cracker displays the Langleys Rocky Road logo together with "made in Cornwall" text. The flavour is displayed in a coloured panel on one face to match the shade on the inside of the cracker. The ingredients are listed on another face along with the nutritional information.
The crackers are twisted at either end to keep the chocolate treats inside. There's no snap, and more importantly, there's no awful joke, cheap plastic toy, or ill-fitting paper crown. Instead, Langleys proudly boasts that its crackers are "carbon neutral" and that they are "made with biodegradable materials".
Langleys Rocky Road Christmas Crackers Gift Box Review
So far, so good - I'm captivated by the appearance and eager to dive in. So, what's inside and does it taste good?
Ideally, you'd set these out around the dinner table on Christmas Day. The chocolates inside are probably best consumed after you've finished your main meal - although there's no hard and fast rule on when you consume them (or even if you share them).
Inside, each cracker contains a film wrapper pouch of two chocolate bonbons. Each one displays colourful decorations on the exterior 33.6% Belgian milk chocolate shell and hides, amongst other things, soft nougat, caramel, honeycomb, and sultanas inside.
I'm not sure what I expected to find inside, but bonbons - and decorated ones at that - were last on my list of guesses.
So, what do they taste like? Here's what I thought of each flavour.
Milk Chocolate Rocky Road
Langleys Milk Chocolate Rocky Road ingredients:
Sugar, cocoa butter, whole milk powder, cocoa mass, sultanas (sulphites), liquid glucose, honey, egg whites, soya lecithin, natural vanilla flavouring, emulsifier, milk fat. Cocoa solids: 33.6% minimum. Milk solids: 20.8% minimum.
- What they say: Milk chocolate filled with soft nougat, caramel, honeycomb, and sultanas.
- Sugars: 47%
- My thoughts: I thought I'd start with the original milk chocolate one to serve as a benchmark. The sweet Belgian chocolate imparts creamy and caramel flavour notes. The honeycomb adds crunch although there was a noticeable lack of chew in this particular bite. The sweet caramel flavour notes linger long into the aftertaste.
- Verdict: A good start, providing a sweet and creamy pick-me-up bite, ideal for after Christmas dinner.
Orange Milk Chocolate Rocky Road
Langleys Orange Milk Chocolate Rocky Road ingredients:
Sugar, cocoa butter, whole milk powder, cocoa mass, sultanas (sulphites), candied orange peel, liquid glucose, honey, egg whites, soya lecithin, natural vanilla flavouring, emulsifier, milk fat, natural orange flavouring. Cocoa solids: 33.6% minimum. Milk solids: 20.8% minimum.
- What they say: Milk chocolate filled with soft nougat, caramel, honeycomb, sultanas, and candied orange peel.
- Sugars: 47%
- My thoughts: I expected to find a flavour akin to the orange flavour found in Terry's Chocolate Orange or Cadbury's Orange Twirl. I certainly didn't expect to find a lively orange flavour, which reminded me more of a fresh, juicy tangerine. This zesty flavour pairs up nicely with the sweet chocolate from start to finish. This bite had more of a chew to it, thanks to the nougat, and less of a crunch compared to the original milk chocolate one.
- Verdict: A vibrant tangerine flavour paired with milk chocolate on Christmas Day - what's not to love? I'm also fond of the splash of colours on the shell.
Lime & Sea Salt Milk Chocolate Rocky Road
Langleys Lime & Sea Salt Milk Chocolate Rocky Road ingredients:
Sugar, cocoa butter, whole milk powder, cocoa mass, sultanas (sulphites), natural vanilla flavouring, Cornish sea salt, emulsifiers (soya lecithin), colouring (E102, E132, E133, E171), natural lime flavouring. Cocoa solids: 33.6% minimum. Milk solids: 20.8% minimum.
- What they say: Milk chocolate filled with soft nougat, caramel, honeycomb, sultanas, lime flavouring, and Cornish sea salt.
- Sugars: 47%
- My thoughts: Make no mistake - this one is all about the lime. Another full-on flavour, this one reminded me of the chocolate lime sweets you used to find at the pick 'n mix display in Woolworths. This bite boasted a better crunchy-chewy balance than the previous two, and I liked it more for it. The salt marks its arrival around half way through to round of the flavours at the finish. Lime lingers in the aftertaste.
- Verdict: The texture of this modern twist of a nostalgic favourite struck the right balance for me, and the lime flavour sits front and centre.
Trevethan Gin Milk Chocolate Rocky Road
Langleys Trevethan Gin Milk Chocolate Rocky Road ingredients:
Sugar, cocoa butter, whole milk powder, cocoa mass, sultanas (sulphites), liquid glucose, honey, egg whites, soya lecithin, natural vanilla flavouring, emulsifier, milk fat, Trevethan Gin. Cocoa solids: 33.6% minimum. Milk solids: 20.8% minimum.
- What they say: Milk chocolate filled with soft nougat, caramel, honeycomb, and sultanas, spiked with Trevethan Gin.
- Sugars: 47%
- My thoughts: This bonbon had more sultanas than the others before it, helping to add more chewiness to proceedings, albeit at the cost of any crunch. This sweet bite starts off much like the original milk chocolate bonbon, and then Trevethan Gin begins to dance. It imparts a gentle warmth on the palate without becoming overwhelming or too intense. The flavour rounds off at the end leaving a sweet aftertaste punctuated by caramel notes.
- Verdict: Where the other flavours have been full-on, this bonbon was more restrained in its approach, and I liked it more for it. Rather than deliver a short, sharp hit of alcohol, the Trevethan Gin is incorporated in a way that lets it hum away in the flavour without dominating everything.
Christmas Spice Milk Chocolate Rocky Road
Langleys Christmas Spice Milk Chocolate Rocky Road ingredients:
Sugar, cocoa butter, whole milk powder, cocoa mass, cranberries, liquid glucose, honey, egg whites, soya lecithin, natural vanilla flavouring, emulsifier, milk fat, natural cranberry, almond & cinnamon flavouring. Cocoa solids: 33.6% minimum. Milk solids: 20.8% minimum.
- What they say: Milk chocolate filled with festive soft nougat, caramel, honeycomb, and cranberries.
- Sugars: 42%
- My thoughts: When I picture Christmas spices I typically think of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves and allspice, so it threw me when I picked up an amaretto-style flavour. Almond is most dominant here in this sweet chocolate, with a vanilla finish. I picked up cinnamon in the mix but it was a fleeting glance. Texturally, there was a good balance of chew versus crunch.
- Verdict: While enjoyable and undeniably different, this one felt like it was missing something, such as a hit of citrus in there - perhaps a dash of orange? If you like something a bit different but are tired of the same old Christmas spiced chocolate, this is a refreshing alternative.
Overall, I enjoyed working through these beautiful and tasty crackers. The presentation is superb, and while a little part of me misses the classic snap, the corny joke and the twee paper crown, the chocolates more than make up for this.
As for the chocolates, these were different to what I had pictured in my mind, with elegant exteriors and differing textures inside. Some were soft, others crunchy, and some were delicately chewy. All exhibited clear flavours, even if Christmas Spice threw me a little!
In such a dinky form, I appreciate it's difficult to cram in the right balance of crunchy honeycomb and chewy nougat, caramel, and sultanas each and every time. As such, each bite is a little bit different texturally. Flavour wise, they are all shining examples of delivering bold and clear flavours. It's difficult to pick a favourite here, but at a push I'd opt for the fresh and vibrant chocolate orange rocky road. The Trevethan Gin bonbon is a glorious example on how to use spirits in chocolate as a flavour rather than to inflict a distracting burn. The lime rocky road also deserves a mention for its nostalgic flavour and textural balance.
Langleys Rocky Road Christmas Crackers Gift Box Review
RRP: £30.00 | Langleys Rocky Road | Shop now
Beautiful presentation and a delightful alternative to the humble Christmas cracker. Inside, the chocolates are flavourful, with some crunchy and others lightly chewy. Ideal for consuming after a heavy dinner.
Where to Buy Online
You can buy this box of 12 Assorted Milk Chocolate Crackers direct on the Langley's Rocky Road website here.
If you'd prefer a darker version, there's a dark chocolate version featuring original, amaretto, and espresso flavours (£30).
For those that prefer a mix (or you've got fussy guests), there's a milk and dark chocolate assortment box available too. This contains a pair each of original milk chocolate, original dark chocolate, dark chocolate amaretto, dark chocolate espresso, milk chocolate orange, plus milk chocolate Christmas spice (£30).
Which is better - a traditional Christmas cracker or a Christmas cracker filled with chocolate treats? Let me know in the comments section below.