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Waitrose’s Christmas 2021 Range Highlights Single Origin Chocolate

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Waitrose has teased its Christmas collection of new products for 2021, with highlights including slow-cooked bone-in British venison with a rich redcurrant and juniper jus; vegan jewelled roast with a fruit centre; and even a vegan no lobster Marie Rose roll. As delicious as these items look, it's the sweet treats I'm most interested in.

And this year, Waitrose & Partners is putting single origin chocolate at the heart of its collection. You may well be familiar with Waitrose's No. 1 range of Madagascan, Dominican Republic, Peruvian, and Ecuadorian chocolates, but this year, the supermarket chain plans to introduce more people to the finer, nuanced flavours of single origin chocolate.

No.1 Luxury Crackers

Christmas crackers are a must on 25th December (and 1st January if you're like me). With the climate emergency fresh in everyone's mind, the traditional cheap and nasty throwaway plastic toys you normally find in Christmas crackers are quickly becoming unpalatable.

Waitrose No.1 Luxury Crackers
Photo credit to Waitrose & Partners

Perhaps that's why Waitrose has swapped out the boring, tacky plastic toys for mini slabs of No. 1 single origin chocolate? Either way, the No.1 Luxury Crackers (£30; 6 pieces) are a great improvement on the humble Christmas cracker. Inside the stylish white and gold cracker you'll discover a flavoursome slab of single origin chocolate. All the fun of a regular Christmas cracker, with more style, more sophistication, and a tasty surprise in the middle.

Best of No.1 Luxury Chocolate Edition

If the country continues to keep a grip on the Coronavirus pandemic, visiting families this December may well be on the cards. If that's the case, you'll need to be armed with a box of chocolates or two as gifts. The Best of No.1 Luxury Chocolate Edition (£15.50; 288g) is a great option.

Waitrose Best of No.1 Luxury Chocolate Edition
Photo credit to Waitrose & Partners

Again, this product line celebrates the nuances of single origin dark and milk chocolate, with a pretty selection of pralines, truffle-filled chocolates, ganaches and fleur de sel caramels. It's a delightful mix of chocolate indulgences and perfect for giving as a gift to friends and family you haven't seen in a long while.

No.1 Mint Chocolate Edition

That said, you might prefer to take around a box of treats to share after dinner, as well or instead. The No.1 Mint Chocolate Edition (£10; 210g) takes a regular after dinner mint selection box and ups the ante with a tasty range of single origin dark, milk and white chocolates.

Waitrose No.1 Mint Chocolate Edition
Photo credit to Waitrose & Partners

Inside, you'll find a selection of mint truffles, minty caramels, and chocolate thins, which are ideal for sharing with friends and family over coffee or after dinner.

Heston from Waitrose The Giant Cracking Penny

While single origin chocolate is perfect for slabs, truffles and pralines, the sweet and indulgent taste of Belgian chocolate also has its place in the range this year. Plus, no Waitrose festive line-up is complete without something from culinary whizz, Heston Blumenthal. Remember his chocolate teapot from 2019 or his edible candles from 2020?

Heston from Waitrose The Giant Cracking Penny
Photo credit to Waitrose & Partners

This year, Heston's devised the Heston from Waitrose The Giant Cracking Penny (£20; 700g; optimistically claims to serve 10 but realistically, I reckon there's six decent size helpings in there).

Drawing inspiration from traditional nets of chocolate coins that are a must at Christmas, this chocolate pudding consists of a shimmering bronze Belgian chocolate shell surrounding a rich chocolate mousse with hazelnut ganache. And, because that's not enough, there's a chocolate and hazelnut base too.

The dessert is topped with a bird motif and the words "Season's Tweetings."

Heston from Waitrose Espresso Martini Chocolate Torte

Now, I wouldn't say no to a slice of The Giant Cracking Penny, but it's the Heston from Waitrose Espresso Martini Chocolate Torte (£12; 620g; should serve 10 but the photo below shows that with sensible helpings, you'd expect to feed six to eight people) that captures my heart.

Heston from Waitrose Espresso Martini Chocolate Torte
Photo credit to Waitrose & Partners

Available from Waitrose Entertaining, this showstopper features an indulgent coffee and chocolate mousse, together with a layer of salted caramel chocolate ganache, and another of espresso martini-soaked chocolate sponge, all sat upon a crisp wafer biscuit base.

A coffee bean pattern on the top completes the look, as does the chocolate 'Heston' plaque.

Other Highlights

  • The No.1 Chocolate & Salted Caramel Melt in the Middle Pudding (£6; 600g; serves 6) is a classic rich chocolate sponge with a golden caramel sauce centre that is spiked with smoked Cornish sea salt.
  • The No.1 Black Forest Bûche de Noël (£16; looks to serve around 8 to 10 people) is a rich and decadent pudding, with layers of Morello cherry compote, kirsch jelly and Belgian white chocolate ganache, all complimented by rich Belgian milk chocolate.
  • A traditional Panettone is always on my festive shopping list, but Waitrose has added a twist in its Tiramisu Panettone (£10; 750g; serves 8). Here, they fuse Italian panettone with Italian dessert wine, coffee syrup and a sweet mascarpone filling, before topping it off with dark chocolate and coffee biscuit pieces.
  • The Panettone perfectly compliments the Gianduia Torta da Festa (£8.50; 500g; serves 6). Popular in the Piedmont region of Italy, this shallow cake is a cross between a Panettone and Pandoro cake. It contains a chocolate and hazelnut filling and is topped with bittersweet dark chocolate and nibbed hazelnuts.
  • I love weird and wonderful cheeses. Not the stinky types, but the one's studded with fruits, herbs and/or spices. Normally they're Wensleydale- or Cheddar-based, and Christmas is a great opportunity to discover such cheeses in the supermarkets, each blended with tart citrus flavours, juicy berries, or festive spices. The Chocca Mocha Wensleydale (£3; 200g) sounds right up my street, infusing a classic Wensleydale cheese with chocolate-coated coffee nibs and a splash of coffee liqueur. It won't be everyone's cup of tea, but personally, I'm really looking forward to spotting this one in store.
  • Sadly, the quirky and unusual chocolate liquorice honeycomb coal from a few years ago isn't part of the line-up once again, despite persistent demand for it. Instead, Waitrose is offering a Fudge and Honeycomb Gift Pack (£5; 260g) that contains a medley of crumbly clotted cream and mince pie fudges together with a helping of milk chocolate-covered crunchy honeycomb.

Which chocolate treats are you most looking forward to trying this Christmas? Let me know in the comments below.

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