Thorntons is perhaps one of the most recognisable high street chocolate brands in the UK, and is a favourite for many people. Its chocolates used to be available solely in its own stores, but today you'll find Thorntons products in most supermarkets and discounters, as well as in its own and franchise stores.
My own favourite within the Thorntons range is the Continental line, which admittedly have undergone changes over the past few years. Who else remembers the now-discontinued Thorntons Nougat Casket, a circular chewy nougat ring with Continental chocolates inside?
Regardless of my own preferences, Thorntons insists these chocolates – those in the Thorntons Classic Selection Box – are their "most loved chocolates". It's a bold claim so when the opportunity arose to review a box, courtesy of an edible gift from a friend, I jumped on it.
The 262g version of the Thorntons Classic Selection Box is a single tier gift box in a cream colour. The Thorntons logo is in copper foil print, so shimmers in the light, adding a touch of giftworthiness to this particular selection. Indeed, this does scream "birthday present" or "Christmas gift", don't you think?
The words "proudly crafted in the UK" sit beneath graphics of each of the chocolates in the selection box. A store-front doodle sits underneath this, with the words "established 1911". From a marketing perspective, this is nicely done as it draws on the brand's heritage while affirming its Britishness, despite the brand now being part of the Italian Ferrero Group.
On the rear, the marketing chaps have gone to town, with imagery of 'The Chocolate Kabin' from 1911, a chocolatier, and a photo of somebody tempering chocolate by hand. Rather than explain what's in the box, the bulk of the text again draws on Thorntons' heritage, with words such as 'crafting', 'passion', and 'expertise' explaining why this is a box of chocolates to give somebody you love. It's powerful stuff too, with a catchy slogan of 'pass the love on' to boot.
Right at the bottom is a list of the flavours in the box and then the ingredients and nutritional information.
Thorntons Classic Assorted Collection ingredients:
Sugar, dried whole milk, cocoa butter, cocoa mass, glucose syrup, palm oil, coconut oil, hazelnuts, butter, sweetened condensed milk (while milk, sugar), lactose, dextrose, double cream, milk fat, dried skimmed milk, whole milk, fat reduced cocoa powder, humectant (sorbitol), emulsifiers (soya lecithin, E471, sunflower lecithin), invert sugar syrup, single cream, flavourings, rice flour, almonds, maize flour, dried whey, salt, strawberry powder, citric acid, colour (beetroot red), dried egg white, margarine (palm oil, rapeseed oil, water, emulsifier (E471), flavouring, vitamin A, vitamin D), vanilla seeds, raising agent (sodium bicarbonate), milk protein. Cocoa solids: 30% minimum (milk chocolate); 48% minimum (dark chocolate). Milk solids: 20% minimum (milk chocolate).
The approximate sugar content of this box as a whole is 54%, and it's a bit of a shame to see sugar listed as the primary ingredient in this selection box. The chocolates are suitable for vegetarians. There's also a notice advising there may be traces of other nuts in these chocolates too.
It's worth noting too that the black plastic PET tray inside the box is made with 50% recycled material, and both it and the cardboard box are recyclable.
Thorntons Classic Assorted Collection Box Review
Lifting the lid, I'm greeted by a sweet, buttery, creamy aroma. Underneath the copper cushion pad – with the words "pass the love on" repeatedly printed – is a tray of 24 chocolates. A menu card provides details of what each one is:
- Nutty Caramel: Smooth praline and caramel inside a swirled milk chocolate shell.
- Creamy Fudge: A diamond of fudge covered in milk chocolate.
- Gooey Caramel: Caramel inside a milk chocolate cup.
- Crunchy Praline: Hazelnuts and crispy wafer in milk chocolate, covered with white chocolate, dipped in milk chocolate, and topped with roasted almonds.
- Tempting Toffee: A toffee flavour centre with toffee pieces, inside a milk chocolate shell.
- Honeycomb Baton: Honeycomb truffle with hazelnut pieces, covered with milk chocolate and then dark chocolate decorations.
- Triple Chocolate: a thin line of white chocolate vanilla flavoured ganache, wrapped in a chocolate ganache, and covered in dark chocolate.
- Strawberries and Cream: A strawberry and cream centre, coated with white chocolate.
Honestly, I'm not sure who's favourites these are, but they aren't mine. There's a lot of caramels, fudges, and toffees in here, with Strawberries and Cream standing out as the only fruity flavour. Perhaps most people like the sweet caramel flavours in their selection box, and if you do, this is a selection that will have you salivating. If you prefer fruity flavours, or more Mediterranean flavours inspired by the delightful produce of Italy, you might want to look more towards the Continental range.
I worked through the box in order of the menu card, starting with Nutty Caramel and finishing with Strawberries and Cream. I was pleasantly surprised by Nutty Caramel which, although very sweet, boasted a strong nutty flavour and a pleasant buttery finish. Creamy Fudge delivered on texture but the fudge itself was tasteless. The Gooey Caramel cup contained a traditional sickly-sweet buttery caramel. After Nutty Caramel I had high hopes for Crunchy Praline but it had just the faintest flavour of hazelnut to it. Crunchy flecks inside added texture but I craved a stronger nutty taste.
Tempting Toffee was pretty disappointing, with tiny toffee flecks that added a gritty texture to the bite. It also lacked a traditional toffee flavour, instead hitting more caramel flavour notes. It was a similar story for Honeycomb Baton which had a slight crunch to it but no discernable honeycomb flavour to it. Triple Chocolate was overly sweet with a general chocolatey taste but it lacked excitement. By this time, Strawberries and Cream was a breath of fresh air, adding a zing to the finale. Even though it's very sweet, it does at least boast a strong strawberry flavour set against a creamy texture. Along with Nutty Caramel, these were my two favourites in this particular box.
Overall, this wouldn't be a box I'd pick for myself as I'm not generally a fan of caramels, fudges, and toffees, and this box is weighted mostly in that direction. However, I recognise that this particular box strikes a good balance between gift-worthiness, price, and flavour selection, making it a popular choice for birthday and Christmas presents.
Thorntons Classic Assorted Collection Box Review
RRP: £8.50 | Thorntons | Shop now
If you love plainer-type chocolates – milk chocolate centres, fudges, caramels, and the like - or want to gift somebody a box of sweet chocolates that'll likely go down well, these might be for you. These are very easy to polish off in front of the telly, or along with a cup of tea or coffee.
Thorntons Chocolate Continental Dark Chocolate 264 g, Free Delivery
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Thorntons Continental Chocolate Gift, Perfect for Sharing, 264g
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Which flavour sounds like a winner to you? Let me know your favourites in a comment below.