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Waitrose Christmas Coal Chocolate Liquorice Honeycomb Review

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When you next visit South Wales, be sure to make a beeline for the Big Pit National Coal Museum in Blaenavon, Torfaen. It's a slog to get to and it rains every time I visit, but it's free to enter and the experience is entirely immersive. After getting your safety gear on and safely stowing away any electronic devices (mobile phones, cameras, and even car key fobs), you descend 91 metres (300 feet) underground, squeezed inside a narrow cage heading deep inside a real coal mine, with an experienced miner leading the subterranean 50-minute tour of Wales' colliery museum.

Big Pit National Coal Museum
Big Pit National Coal Museum in Blaenavon, Torfaen

I've visited a handful of times with my son and toured with several miners, all recounting personal tales of their own individual experiences alongside fascinating insight into one of Wales' most prominent - and turbulent - professions.

What's this got to do with chocolate, I hear you cry? Well, apart from introducing you to a highly recommended tourist attraction in the Welsh Valleys, it's a great way to lead into today's review of - coal.

Yes. Supermarket to the middle classes, Waitrose & Partners, is selling coal for Christmas. But it's not the black gold excavated from the Welsh hills. No, this one is crunchy, sweet, and dipped in dark chocolate.

Waitrose Christmas Coal Chocolate Liquorice Honeycomb Box
A hexagonal box of tasty Christmas coal

Waitrose & Partners Christmas Coal Chocolate Liquorice Honeycomb is the ideal gift to buy for someone who has been naughty this year, or who turned into Scrooge when 1st December arrived. It's an anti-Christmas present that is worth buying for the sheer novelty factor alone.


Packaging

A hexagonal box adds to the gift-worthiness of this product. A picture of the unusual jet black honeycomb set against white wood decorates the front of the box. The rear includes a description of the product, namely that it is liquorice flavoured honeycomb that's hand-dipped in aniseed-flavoured Belgian dark chocolate and topped with black coloured sugar. The ingredients list follows that, along with the allergy advice and nutritional information.

Waitrose & Partners Christmas Coal Chocolate Liquorice Honeycomb ingredients:
Sugar, dark chocolate (30%) (cocoa mass, sugar, cocoa butter, emulsifier (soya lecithin)), glucose, flavourings, food colouring (vegetable carbon, spirulina concentrate, safflower concentrate), raising agent (sodium bicarbonate), glazing agent (shellac), colour (titanium dioxide). Dark chocolate contains cocoa solids 56% minimum.

Honeycomb - or hokey pokey to some - with the addition of Belgian chocolate and coloured sugar means this is a sweet product, although the sugar levels stand at a respectable 51.6% on average.

There's a Fairtrade logo on the side of the box for this vegetarian snack, and a warning that the colours in the product may stain clothing. You have been warned.

Pieces of Waitrose Christmas Coal Chocolate Liquorice Honeycomb
Lumps of chocolate covered liquorice coal in assorted sizes

Inside the cardboard box was a heat-sealed plastic bag. As I sliced this open, a delicious mix of aniseed and chocolatey notes wafted out. I picked up hints of liquorice, dark caramel, and cloves in the aroma.


Waitrose Christmas Coal Chocolate Liquorice Honeycomb Review

Each lump of coal was individual, with the largest piece spanning 6cm (over 2 inches). The 'exposed coal' (the black liquorice-flavoured honeycomb) was glazed so had a shine just like the coalface I touched down in the mine. The coal appearance and texture was incredibly realistic, especially with the shine. A couple of pieces had escaped glazing so were covered in a white dust which didn't look so convincing.

The shellac hadn't completely set on all of my pieces, so some were slightly tacky. A couple of pieces had glued themselves together.

Each piece was hand-dipped in 56% dark Belgian chocolate spiked with aniseed flavouring, and topped with sugar crystals. I'm not sure the black coloured sugar were needed in the recipe. I appreciate that it adds colour and texture to the final product while mimicking flecks of coal dust, but I don't think I'd miss it if it wasn't there.

Flavour-wise, the rich chocolate exhibited creamy characteristics with a very slight bitter edge. Understandably so, the aniseed overpowers the finer qualities of the cocoa.

The honeycomb delivered a trademark crunch. Inside, it was packed with tiny air bubbles so it was quite dense and lead to a chewy, toffee-like finish. I picked up a clear hit of liquorice flavour initially, which gently eased into a more traditional honeycomb finish.

Closeup of Waitrose Christmas Coal Chocolate Liquorice Honeycomb
A realistic looking lump of honeycomb coal

Overall, this is a thoroughly whimsical and creative piece of food artistry by Waitrose & Partners. It plays on the notion of receiving a lump of coal in your stocking if you've been bad all year. But this lump of coal is one any liquorice and chocolate lover would be most grateful to receive.

I didn't expect liquorice honeycomb to taste as good as it did, and the chocolate adds a pleasant creaminess to the overall flavour. It's a wonderful Christmas gift for liquorice addicts that is also a bit quirky and something a little bit different from the Allsorts this year.

Waitrose Christmas Coal Chocolate Liquorice Honeycomb Review

RRP: £5.00 | Waitrose & Partners | Shop now

A fun and quirky Christmas gift for chocolate lovers, honeycomb lovers, and liquorice lovers. Ideal as a gift for someone naughty in your life, the aniseed flavours work well against the sweet crunchy honeycomb and creamy milk chocolate.

Packaging
Appearance
Ingredients
Taste
Creativity
Score: 4.6

Where to Buy Online

I couldn't find Christmas Coal Chocolate Liquorice Honeycomb available online on the Waitrose & Partners website, so you'll need to head into your local store to pick this one up. My local branch had just two left in stock after my visit.

Are you hoping for a lump of coal in your Christmas stocking this year, or is liquorice honeycomb the worst idea in the world? Let me know what you think in the comments below.

Disclosure: I purchased a 150g box of Waitrose Christmas Coal Chocolate Liquorice Honeycomb from Waitrose & Partners for £5. I was not asked for a review. My opinions are my own.

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