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I don't know about you, but as I start thinking about Christmas snacks, nibbles and gifts, I'm usually drawn to the seasonal aisle in the supermarkets. Each year, I hope to find something new for Christmas, but they normally disappoint, rolling out the same old tired favourites from last year (and the year before that...).
I've already had the pleasure of reviewing Walnut Tree Gifts' chocolate-covered fruits and and chocolate-covered nuts. Now, they've given me the opportunity to nibble my way through a selection of sweet fruit and nut treats they reckon will crank up my Christmas feasting to the next level.
1 Walnut Tree Flavoured Nougat Gift Box Review
£10 | 200g
Walnut Tree Flavoured Nougat Gift Box ingredients:
Strawberry soft nougat (sugar, strawberry creme 15% (sugar, sunflower oil, strawberries 8.5%, cocoa butter, skimmed milk powder, milk whey powder, lactose, acidity regulator (citric acid), strawberry seeds, concentrated black carrot juice, emulsifier (sunflower lecithins), natural flavouring, concentrated lemon juice, gelling agent (pectins)), glucose syrup, honey, almonds, hazelnuts, corn starch, freeze dried strawberries 2%, egg white, wafer (potato starch, water), flavourings); Chocolate soft nougat (sugar, dark chocolate 25% (sugar, cocoa mass, cocoa butter, emulsifier (soya lecithins), natural vanilla flavouring), glucose syrup, honey, almonds, hazelnuts, corn starch, cocoa nibs, egg white, wafer (potato starch, water); Pistachio soft nougat (sugar, almonds, glucose syrup, honey, hazelnuts, pistachio nuts, corn starch, egg white, wafer (potato starch, water), spirulina and safflower concentrate, flavourings; Almond and hazelnut soft nougat (sugar, almonds, hazelnuts, glucose syrup, honey, corn starch, egg white, wafer (potato starch, water), flavourings.
- What they say: Four individually wrapped bars of luxurious soft pistachio, almond, strawberry, and chocolate Infused Italian nougat inside a sturdy red card gift box.
- Sugars: 53%
- What I say: What's not to love about soft and pillowy nougat chock full of nuts? Each individually-wrapped bar is served on a sheet of rice paper and is delicious in its own right. The texture of all four bars is soft, light, and as fluffy as a cloud.
The chocolate nougat has a good balance of cocoa flavours, with a helping of dark chocolate chips on top. Crunch comes courtesy of a generous helping of almonds, which pair nicely with both the nougat and chocolate flavours.
The strawberry nougat is sweet and tangy, with a strawberry sauce near the base for extra zing, as do the chewy dried strawberry slices on top. I particularly liked the vibrant flavour of fresh strawberry in this one.
The almond and hazelnut nougat transports me back to Italy, with a classic and timeless combination that really is wonderful. As pure as it comes, the flavour is sublime.
For me though, the pistachio nougat steals the show, partly due to its colour but mostly thanks to a less-sweet, deeper, nuttier flavour. The almonds and hazelnuts add crunch while the pistachios add an extra depth of flavour that's hard to beat.
- Verdict: A winner. Sweet, pillowy-soft nougat in a variety of flavours - what's not to love?
Walnut Tree Flavoured Nougat Gift Box
2 Walnut Tree Glacé Cherry Balls Review
£8 | 120g
Walnut Tree Glacé Cherry Balls ingredients:
Dark chocolate (cocoa mass, sugar, cocoa butter, emulsifier (soya lecithin), natural vanilla flavouring), glacé cherries (cherry, sugar, glucose syrup, acidity regulator (citric acid), preservative (sulphur dioxide)). Cocoa solids: 55% minimum.
- What they say: Glacé cherries hand-dipped in dark chocolate and packaged inside a thin wooden gift tube.
- Sugars: 43%
- What I say: The packaging simply screams "gift" as it did with the chocolate-dipped mango chunks. The chocolate-dipped cherries are tucked safely inside a plastic pillow pack and it makes a tremendous amount of sense here, as the glacé cherries left a sticky residue all over the inside the pack.
At first, I thought the chocolate coating around the base of the cherry looked too minimal. But that works in its favour. The dark chocolate is a powerful flavour in comparison to the sweet glacé cherry, and so to smother it in chocolate would drown out any hope of flavour. This balance strikes it right. There's enough of the chocolate to help control the sweetness, and enough of the cherry to yield its delicate flavour. Deliciously moreish, these won't last long at all. You have been warned!
- Verdict: I wish this came in a bigger pack! Very addictive, these sweet bites are great with coffee or after a heavy dinner.
Walnut Tree Glacé Cherry Balls
3 Walnut Tree Marzipan, Pâte de Fruit & Marrons Glacé Gift Box Review
£18 | 400g
Walnut Tree Marzipan, Pâte de Fruit & Marrons Glacé Gift Box ingredients:
Marzipan shaped fruit (marzipan (sugar, almonds (40%), water), sugar, invert sugar syrup, glucose syrup, concentrates (safflower, lemon, spirulina, sweet potato, radish, hibiscus, carrot, apple), invertase, colour (paprika extract, beetroot, vegetable carbon), glazing agent (shellac)); Marzipan with walnut (sugar, almonds, walnut, lactose (milk), glucose syrup, stabiliser, invertase, thickener (E401)); Marron Glacé (chestnuts, sugar, glucose syrup, natural vanilla flavouring, preservative (E223 (sulphite))); Pâte de Fruit (fruit pulp, sugar, glucose, binding agent (apple pectin), acidulant (citric acid), natural flavours).
- What they say: A Great Taste award-winning collection of white marzipan topped with walnut halves, pâte de fruits, individually wrapped marron glacés, and marzipan shaped fruit, all presented in a long and sturdy red gift box.
- Sugars: Just under 63%
- What I say: I love marzipan at any time of the year, yet somehow more so at Christmas. The flavour of almond sits front and centre in the walnut-topped marzipan, while the sugars adds just the right amount of sweetness. Not too much and not too little. The addition of the walnut on the golden marzipan adds a natural bitter edge, which compliments it well.
Similarly, the cute, twee, and dainty hand-finished marzipan fruits look very pretty. Shaped as apples, pears, and lemons, each one exhibits a robust almond flavour (these aren't fruit flavoured, by the way) and is careful not be overly sweet.
The pâte de fruits are divine too. I don't normally care for fruit jellies, but these make me reconsider everything. They have a delicate bite, don't stick to your teeth, and have phenomenal fresh flavours. The wonderfully tropical Pineapple pâte de fruit was my favourite, closely followed by orange (which tasted uncannily like a freshly peeled orange).
The marron glacés (glacé chestnuts) are moist and very sweet. Forest chestnuts are candied in syrup and packed in protective packaging in a process that takes a colossal 240 hours! The result is a sparkling sugar-encrusted velvety-soft chestnut. Very decadent and rich, these delightful soft cubes have a mild nutty and vanilla flavour together with a light crunch, and they taste ridiculously indulgent. They are the perfect accompaniment to a glass of mulled wine, I reckon.
- Verdict: You can't help but be impressed by this very long gift box of delicacies. There's something in here for everyone, and lots of bold flavours to discover.
Walnut Tree Marzipan, Pâte de Fruit & Marrons Glacé Gift Box
4 Walnut Tree Dark Chocolate-Dipped Lemon, Orange & Stem Ginger Review
£12 | 220g
Walnut Tree Dark Chocolate-Dipped Lemon, Orange & Stem Ginger Gift Box ingredients:
Orange slices (orange, preservative (sulphur dioxide), dark chocolate (cocoa mass, sugar, cocoa butter, emulsifier (soya lecithin), natural vanilla flavouring)); Ginger sticks (sugar, ginger (25%), cocoa mass, cocoa butter, emulsifier (soya lecithin)); Lemon sticks (sugar, lemon peel (19%), cocoa mass, dextrose, fructose, cocoa butter, maltose, emulsifier (soya lecithin), acidity regulator (E330), preservative (E202)). Cocoa solids: 55% minimum (oranges), 56.8% (ginger and lemon).
- What they say: Award-winning lemon sticks, orange slices, and stem ginger sticks hand-dipped in dark chocolate, presented in a sturdy red gift box.
- Sugars: 55%
- What I say: The lemon peel is tantalisingly soft (almost bordering on jelly in terms of texture), and the zesty, fresh flavour pairs beautifully with the slightly sweet and rich dark chocolate shell. I'm not normally a fan of lemon and chocolate yet I found this particular combination refreshing and highly addictive.
The candied orange slices are equally fragrant and the bitter citrus notes pair nicely with the lively, fruity dark chocolate. There's a bit of bite to the large orange slices, which I like, although I'd have liked to see a little more chocolate coverage (chocolate-covered rather than chocolate-dipped) for better balance.
The ginger sticks are the real star treat in this box. If you are frequently disappointed by lacklustre crystallised stem ginger, try these. Each stick has a texture similar to Scottish tablet, and packs a powerful punch together with a lovely fiery heat, and a little sweetness and fruitiness from the dark chocolate. Forget your supermarket crystallised ginger this year - get a box of these and you'll be seriously impressed by these inch-long beasts.
- Verdict: If you love stem ginger, buy this right now. The lemon is moreish, the orange is well balanced, but it's the ginger that's the real winner here.
Walnut Tree Dark Chocolate-Dipped Lemon, Orange & Stem Ginger Gift Box
Together with the chocolate-dipped mango and and milk chocolate-covered walnuts, there's plenty of food for thought here when it comes to stocking up for Christmas. I am seriously impressed by the breadth of products and how well chocolate is used to enhance the enjoyment of an assortment of fruits and nuts.
If you're fed up with the same old supermarket basics for Christmas, I can wholeheartedly recommend giving these treats by Walnut Gifts a go. Similarly, if you are looking for gifts for friends or family that look pretty and that deliver on expectations, check out these guys.
I should also add that Walnut Tree stocks a wide range of dried fruits, nuts, glacé fruits, marzipans, and much more all year round, not just at Christmas. They also stock Rosh Hashanah gifts, as well as Kosher, Halal, and Gluten-Free produce too.
Walnut Tree have kindly shared a 10% discount voucher code for Chocolatier.co.uk readers to use on their Christmas purchases. Just use code WALNUTLY10 at the checkout to receive 10% off your order. This code is valid on orders placed before 24th December 2020.
You can find all their fruits, nuts, and chocolate-covered treats here.
Which gift box would you most like to try? Let me know in the comments below.