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I scheduled in a visit to Montezuma's Spitalfields store during my chocolate walking tour of London. My timing coincided with a visit by Montezuma's co-founder, Helen Pattinson. As a chocolate blogger I get to meet people from all walks of life, but the people I love spending time with the most are those that are passionate about the products they create. They live and breathe these products, and their enthusiasm for them is infectious.
This perfectly describes Helen. Not only that, it describes the Spitalfields store staff too, feeding from her love of creating fun, ethical chocolate products. The larger-than-life staff were only to happy to share their own recommendations based on their personal favourite items in the range, with vivid descriptions of what to expect from the flavours.
All products below are suitable for vegetarians. They may contain traces of nuts, peanuts, soya, and milk products. They are all free from artificial colourings, gluten and GM ingredients.
Last Mango in Paris - White Chocolate, Chilli & Lime Coated Mango
Montezuma's White Chocolate, Chilli & Lime Coated Mango ingredients:
White chocolate (58%) (cocoa butter, sugar, milk powder, emulsifier (soya lecithin), vanilla extract), dried mango (40%), dried chilli and natural flavouring: lime oil.
- Product m1887.
- Around 51% sugars.
- Recyclable outer board box and inner plastic pouch.
In 2020, Walnut Tree kindly sent me a box of their dark chocolate covered mango pieces. The combination of dried tropical fruit and rich chocolate grabbed my attention.
Montezuma's version of this chocolate-covered fruit ups the ante, replacing dark chocolate with creamy white chocolate, spiked with lime and chilli. You can't deny, it sounds a curious combination, even if, perhaps, it seems like there's a lot going on here.
I expected it to be quite a mouthful, with the mango and lime fighting against each other, the chilli rampantly running all over the shop, and the white chocolate adding sweetness to the mix.
Instead, this unusual flavour combination is far more sophisticated and works like a charm. The chewy pieces of mango benefit greatly from the sweet and creamy white chocolate coating. The lime is an inspired addition, adding a lively zesty citrus tang to the mix. The chilli adds warmth and heat mid-way, but the lime and white chocolate work as fire extinguishers, subduing the effects by the time you reach the aftertaste.
At this point, the tropical mango flavour lingers, dancing with the lively citrus upon a bed of creaminess. You are left with a smile on your face, craving more and more. Be warned, this box won't last long!
Peanut Butter White Chocolate Snowballs
Montezuma's Peanut Butter White Chocolate Snowballs ingredients:
White chocolate (65%) (cocoa butter, sugar, milk powder, emulsifier (soya lecithin), vanilla extract), peanut butter (17%) (peanuts), milk chocolate (sugar, cocoa butter, milk powder, cocoa paste, emulsifier (soya lecithin), vanilla extract). Milk chocolate cocoa solids: 35% minimum; milk solids: 23% minimum.
- Product m1813.
- Around 39% sugars.
- Recyclable paper pouch.
These truffle balls (or 'Snowballs') boast a thick white chocolate shell with a peanut butter truffle centre. Open the bag to be greeted by a strong roasted peanut flavour, with sweet vanilla notes in there too. The white chocolate adds a sweet and creamy background while the truffle filling takes centre stage. Here, the flavour of salty peanut butter sings loud and proud. It's almost like eating a spoonful of American-style peanut butter. The combination of sweet and salty proves addictive. While it's not my favourite flavour in this range of products, I still found myself dipping into the bag for another, then another.
If you love the likes of Reese's Pieces and all things peanut butter, you'll love these chocolate balls. They're full of roasted peanut flavour, they're salty - but not overly so, and they serve up a helping of sweet creamy white chocolate all in one bite. This is yet another product that won't last long once you tear open the bag. You'll have to be disciplined to make them last.
Augustus The Strong - Marzipan and Hazelnut Praline Stollen Wrapped in Dark Chocolate
Montezuma's Marzipan and Hazelnut Praline Stollen Wrapped in Dark Chocolate ingredients:
Marzipan (70%) (almonds, sugar, water, invert sugar syrup, humectant (sorbitol, alcohol)), dark chocolate (20%) (cocoa mass, sugar, cocoa butter, emulsifier (soya lecithin), vanilla extract), almond praline (sugar, almonds, sunflower oil, emulsifier (soya lecithin)), white chocolate (cocoa butter, sugar, milk powder, emulsifier (soya lecithin), vanilla extract), milk chocolate (sugar, cocoa butter, milk powder, cocoa paste, emulsifier (soya lecithin), vanilla extract), roasted hazelnuts (2%), sugar.
- Product m1864.
- Around 43% sugars.
- Recyclable outer board box and inner plastic tray.
What's better than the traditional marzipan-filled German cake, Stollen? How about a chocolate interpretation of it? Montezuma's Chocolate Stollen is 14 years old and there's a reason it has stood the test of time - it's outrageously delicious. It plays on the best aspect of Stollen - the marzipan - and introduces milk and dark chocolate into the mix.
The weighty 450g beast looks incredible, and lends itself perfectly for dinner parties and family get-togethers over Christmas. That said, while it is designed for sharing, nobody said it has to be divided up.
The firm marzipan is the star of the show here, and the classic almond flavour comes through clearly. The almond flavour is then complimented by the addition of almond praline, which helps introduce milk chocolate into the mix. Toasted hazelnuts feature in the recipe and serve to emphasise the nutty flavours in this treat. Lastly, a thick shell of rich dark chocolate blankets this quirky take on a Yule Log.
This Chocolate Stollen ups the ante on the marzipan logs you normally find in the shops around Christmastime. It's a work of art, and impresses from the moment you release it from its box. While it's tempting to devour this in one sitting, it's very sweet and rich, so you'll find it easy to pace yourself. While you could carve this up to get at least 12 stingy portions, I reckon the sweet spot sits between six and eight slices of marzipan heaven.
Salt, Pepper & Chilli Dark Chocolate Bites
Montezuma's Salt, Pepper & Chilli Dark Chocolate Bites ingredients:
Dark chocolate (76%) (cocoa mass, sugar, cocoa butter, emulsifier (soya lecithin), vanilla extract), caramel (16%) (glucose syrup, sweetened condensed milk, sugar, water, cocoa butter, modified starch, thickener (agar), flavours, emulsifiers (E471, sunflower lecithin), salt, acidity regulator (citric acid), preservative (potassium sorbate)), dried chilli (0.2%), ground pepper (0.2%), sea salt (0.1%). Cocoa solids: 70% minimum.
- Product m1572.
- Around 37% sugars.
- Recyclable paper pouch.
Chocolate Bites are part of the core product range, so, unlike the trio above, you can get hold of these salt, pepper and chilli balls° throughout the year.
The aroma as you open the bag is almost savoury in nature, with the pepper and chilli blend teasing your nose.
The 70% dark chocolate base means you're guaranteed a deep, rich, chocolate flavour, and that's exactly what you get. The addition of salt is barely detectable, and I prefer it that way. The hint of pepper compliments the dark chocolate perfectly.
The chilli seems absent most of the way through tasting. Then it hits you just as you step into the aftertaste. It delivers a warming kick at the back of your throat, which works wonderfully well with the lingering cocoa notes.
It's a joyful experience, and one that repeats itself every time. The chilli somehow keeps at bay until the very last minute, then surprises you like a ninja.
Where to Buy Online
You can find Montezuma's Christmas range on their website here°. After Christmas, the remaining seasonal products normally go on clearance sale.
Which Montezuma's products would you recommend trying next? Let me know in the comments below.