I'm working through my stash of Christmas chocolates and came across this box of Thorntons Snowflakes and Snowballs.
Designed specifically for Christmas, it featured a quartet of festive flavours. But were they any good?
The square-shaped box looked very pretty, with hexagons of purples framing a central white hexagon. In the centre was the Thorntons logo, product name, and graphic of three of the four chocolates contained inside the box.
Copper foiled print was used aplenty across the box, which added more of a 'gifty' feel to the box. Make no mistake, this box was designed to be given as a Christmas present (which is how I came to receive it).
The reverse of the box featured white print on dark brown. Graphics of all four chocolates, together with descriptions, filled a healthy proportion of the box, with the ingredients and nutritional information printed beneath that.
Thorntons Snowflake and Snowball Collection ingredients:
Sugar, cocoa butter, cocoa mass, dried whole milk, palm oil, glucose syrup, hazelnuts, double cream (milk), sweetened condensed milk (whole milk, sugar), humectant (sorbitol), dried skimmed milk, butter (milk), fat reduced cocoa powder, milk fat, emulsifiers (soya lecithin, E471), mixed spices, orange peel, cranberries, glucose-fructose syrup, flavourings, dextrose, salt, acid (citric acid), sea salt, dried egg white, sunflower oil, vanilla seeds, milk protein. Milk chocolate contains: cocoa solids 30% minimum, milk solids 20% minimum. Dark chocolate contains: cocoa solids 60% minimum.
Noteworthy positives include the fact that Thorntons claims it uses 100% cocoa butter, and that the tray contained 50% recycled plastic. On the down side, the dominant ingredient was sugar, with the nutritional information revealing that 53% of the overall product were sugars.
Unsurprisingly for a Christmas product, the initial aroma that emanated from the box was cinnamon. This brief blast rapidly dissipated leaving barely a trace of any aroma whatsoever. There was a trace of sweetness but there was a distinct lack of any chocolatey smell.
The 14 chocolates sat in a black plastic tray, topped with a sheet of impact-resistant waxed paper. There was also a handy product card, describing each of the four chocolates. It was an identical copy of the information printed on the bottom of the box, but it is always a nice to have a separate reference card included inside the box.
The selection box comprised of four different flavours – Winter Fudge, Cranberry Praline, Vanilla Snowflake, and Dark Snowflake. It is strange that Thorntons opted to only include 14 chocolates instead of a neater 16, leaving me with one fewer of each of the snowflake chocolates than the praline and fudge.
Thorntons described this as a white chocolate shell containing a soft white chocolate and vanilla centre. Indeed, I was greeted with a crisp white shell and an immediate vanilla flavour. This taste rounded off to leave a classic white chocolate flavour, which lingered into the aftertaste.
Overall, this was a bit lacklustre. I was distracted by the intense hit of sugar together with a slight bitterness at the back of my throat. A heartier kick of vanilla would be great.
The Dark Snowflake promised a smooth caramel flavour ganache inside a dark chocolate shell. The dark cocoa dominated the flavour completely. I could not detect any caramel notes, although I suspected the overly sweet flavours came from this.
I picked up a slight crispiness in the texture. The dark chocolate lingered well into the aftertaste, although it was not as complex and fruity a flavour as I like. I felt this chocolate ought to be somewhat bitter but instead it was overly sweet.
The Winter Fudge chocolate paired spiced fudge with milk chocolate and topped with brown sugar. This chocolate was the most festive in this collection, thanks to the addition of cinnamon. Unlike the other chocolates in this box, this one did offer a detectable aroma.
Cinnamon dominated the initial aroma, the taste, and the aftertaste, so it was an unmistakably festive chocolate. It did, however, completely overtake all other notes. The fudge was a lot softer than I like, but the crunch of the brown sugar crystals helped to add texture.
The final chocolate, the Cranberry Praline, was a blend of roasted hazelnuts and cranberries in a praline, covered in white chocolate and sprinkled with white sugar. The taste clearly revealed berry notes together with a hazelnut edge, but I detected more raspberry tones than cranberry.
The berry taste followed through to the aftertaste, as did an unpleasant clawing at the back of my throat. Again, just like all the flavours above, there was a noticeable sweetness that dominated the overall flavour.
Overall, I was disappointed that the flavours weren't as robust and as clear as I would have liked. These chocolates were overly sweet, and distractingly so. With a little less sugar and a bit more of the festive spices, these could have been very delicious indeed.
Christmas has long gone but you can check here to see if Thorntons is selling the Snowflake and Snowball Collection this year. At the time of reviewing, it was priced at £7 for a 160g box.
Did you receive any Thorntons chocolates this Christmas and, importantly, did they last long in your household? Let me know in the comments below.
Disclosure: This was a gift from a friend. My opinions are my own.