I love discovering new chocolate brands (or new to me, at least), and thanks to a family member, I took delivery of some very pretty chocolate bonbons for my birthday.
They were made in Diss, Norfolk, by Simon and Jessie, the duo behind Wood Row Chocolate. They pride themselves on creating beautiful hand-painted chocolates with "incredible flavours". Spoiler alert: mission accomplished.
In this article:
- Wood Row Chocolate Autumn Collection Bonbons Review
- Where to Buy Online
Come with me as I take a meander through their Autumn collection of bonbon recipes.
The outer packaging was a letterbox-sized cardboard box, with 'fragile' tape and a sticker asking the postie not to leave it in direct sunlight.
Inside sat a brown board box, giving very little away. A bronze-foiled Wood Row Chocolate logo sat at the bottom right, hinting to what was inside. It could be argued the packaging is a little unexciting, but it is reusable, practical, and functional.
I lifted the lid to find a white card menu, with colour photographs of each chocolate bonbon (very useful), its name and its composition (all stuff I love to see). On the reverse of this was the list of ingredients.
Wood Row Chocolate Autumn Collection Bonbons ingredients:
Sugar, cocoa butter, cocoa mass, soya lecithin, whole milk powder, natural vanilla flavourings, glucose, golden syrup, sorbitol, maple syrup, honey, invert sugar, demerara, muscovado, cream, butter, dextrose, apple, pear, lime, kalamansi, blood orange, banana, apricot, cherry, pumpkin, passion fruit, raspberry, cinnamon, ginger, pecan, hazelnuts, Biscoff (vegetable oil, candy sugar syrup, sodium hydrogen carbonate, flour), pistachios, almond flour, almonds, gluten-free flour, cream cheese, mascarpone, gluten-free digestives, gluten-free cornflakes, Kirsch, Disaronno, coffee, coconut sugar, coconut oil, pectin, malic acid, salt.
The bonbons are made in a facility that handles multiple allergens and ingredients including nuts, gluten, soya, and milk. They are also decorated with a wide range of coloured cocoa butters, including a mix of E-free colours and E colours, including E171 Titanium Dioxide. Some colours can have an adverse effect on young children.
Wood Row Chocolate Autumn Collection Bonbons Review
Under a cushion pad, a dozen colourful chocolate bonbons sat in front of me in a recyclable clear plastic tray (which is sat on another cushion pad):
- Lime & Almond Pie
- Blood Orange Cheesecake
- Cherry, Mascarpone & Kirsch
- Hazelnut Crunch
- Salted Caramel & Dark Ganache
- Apple, Pear & Pecan Crumble
- Pumpkin & Gingerbread
- Passion Fruit Caramel Ganache
- Apricot, honey & Pistachio
- Coffee & Caramelised Biscuit
- Raspberry, Almond & Disaronno
As I'm sure you'll agree, each one looked stunning. The chocolate shells protected each bonbon, sealing in the flavour and more importantly, the aroma, so there was no risk of stronger flavours tainting weaker flavour bonbons. Despite the rough and tumble of a trip from Diss to Cardiff in the postal system, all shells were pristine and in tact, with the exception of a slight crack in the Pumpkin & Gingerbread bonbon. Still, that's pretty good going in my book.
1 Lime & Almond Pie
- What is it? Lime marshmallow with a lime and kalamansi ganache on top of a lime and almond crumble base, all wrapped inside a white chocolate shell.
- Claim to fame: Great Taste Award 2023 - 2 stars .
- How did it taste? This one packs a zesty punch while ticking off all the necessary textures - soft, chewy, and crunchy. The lime marshmallow sits somewhere between meringue and jelly in texture. The ganache cements the lime flavour, while the crunchy biscuit base adds a nutty undertone. Lime is clearly the star of the show in this sweet bite, and it's the lime notes that continue into the aftertaste, together with subtle creamy, vanilla notes from the white chocolate shell.
2 Blood Orange Cheesecake
- What is it? Blood orange pate de fruit with a vanilla and cream cheese ganache, served on top of a gluten-free biscuit base and all encased in a white chocolate shell.
- How did it taste? This tangy bonbon does indeed taste just like a cheesecake. The crunchy cheesecake base compliments the sweet and creamy vanilla and white chocolate notes to develop, punctuated by the blood orange pate de fruit. While I picked up tangy notes at the start, and a citrus aftertaste, I wanted to taste more of the orange flavour in the middle. I'd love to see this in a strawberry or raspberry variant too. A cheesecake collection in the making, perhaps?
3 Cherry, Mascarpone & Kirsch
- What is it? Amarena cherries, kirsch and mascarpone ganache inside a dark chocolate shell.
- How did it taste? This bonbon is full-on cherry, and that's the way I like it. All the way through tasting, I had a picture of an indulgent Black Forest Gateaux in my mind, and this bite nails the textures and flavours perfectly. There's a lovely chew from the cherry pate de fruit, and a mild bitterness from the dark chocolate to balance the sweetness. The Kirsch is used sparingly, so it doesn't hijack the flavours. Enjoy the lovely lingering Black Forest aftertaste, too, as it's divine.
4 Hazelnut Crunch
- What is it? A hazelnut ganache together with a hazelnut gianduja (with added crunch) inside a caramelised white chocolate shell.
- How did it taste? This nutty bite is all about the hazelnut, and thankfully there's a delicious roasted hazelnut flavour throughout. There's a hint of creamy, caramel notes in the aroma, but the toasted hazelnuts dominate too much for these subtle flavours to shine through. It's an interesting use of caramelised white chocolate, but it probably suits a caramel-based filling better. I'd prefer a slightly less sweet bonbon, too, or something to offset the sweetness in this one.
5 Salted Caramel & Dark Ganache
- What is it? Salted caramel with a 70% dark chocolate ganache inside a caramelised white chocolate shell.
- Claim to fame: Great Taste Award 2023 - 1 star .
- How did it taste? A good salted caramel, amplified with caramel notes in the caramelised white chocolate shell. It's a thick, smooth, buttery, gooey caramel. The addition of dark chocolate adds bitterness to temper all that sugary sweetness, adding a pleasant depth and richness.
6 Apple, Pear & Pecan Crumble
- What is it? Apple and pear pate de fruit, a cinnamon ganache, and a pecan crumble base, all tucked inside a milk chocolate shell.
- How did it taste? This delicate bonbon serves up a sublime tasting experience. It reminded me of a home-made apple crumble. The apple and pear combo are the dominant flavours, with the duo working well together. The subtle hint of cinnamon is just right, and the crunchy base mimics a crumble topping, although the pecan flavour felt a little lost.
7 Pumpkin & Gingerbread
- What is it? Pumpkin and ginger ganache with a gluten-free gingerbread layer, surrounded by a caramelised white chocolate shell.
- How did it taste? Autumn welcomes back the classic flavours of pumpkin (and the annual resurgence of PSL (pumpkin spice latte)-inspired everything) and warming gingerbread. This bonbon fuses the flavours of pumpkin and stem ginger into one tasty bite. It's spicy and warming but deeply satisfying, even if the ginger dwarfs the pumpkin. The crunchy base adds a lovely textural component, to balance out the sweet and creamy ganache.
8 Passion Fruit Caramel Ganache
- What is it? A passion fruit caramel ganache inside a dark chocolate shell.
- How did it taste? The flavour of this one is as vibrant as the colourful yellow shell that encapsulates it. Just look at that bright yellow ganache! It's lively, and full-on passion fruit thanks to its soft and gooey ganache. It balances tartness with sweetness, and there's a dose of tanginess for good measure. The dark chocolate shell adds richness, and a hint of bitterness that comes through right at the end.
9 Apricot, Honey & Pistachio
- What is it? Apricot pate de fruit, a honey and cinnamon ganache, plus a pistachio layer, all inside a milk chocolate shell.
- Claim to fame: Great Taste Award 2023 - 1 star .
- How did it taste? The chewy apricot sets the scene, while the ganache adds a subtle spicing. The vibrant green pistachio layer adds a distinctive undertone. There's subtle hints of cinnamon, honey and salt throughout the tasting, which develop more so into the aftertaste, alongside sweet apricot. The flavour profile of this bonbon is very elegant and refined. It's quite delicate but well balanced.
- What is it? Banana and maple caramel, banana and dulce de leche ganache, plus a pecan crunch, encapsulated in a dark chocolate shell.
- How did it taste? This bonbon places fresh banana flavours centre stage. There's plenty of crunch thanks the base, although the maple syrup notes aren't strong enough to jostle with the banana flavour. Caramel notes come through towards the end, alongside hints of bitterness from the dark chocolate, which also adds richness to the overall experience.
11 Coffee & Caramelised Biscuit
- What is it? Espresso syrup with a espresso and dulce de leche ganache layer, and a Biscoff layer tucked inside a dark chocolate shell.
- How did it taste? I'd looked forward to this one the most (who doesn't love Biscoff?). A clear freshly-brewed espresso flavour comes through in the sweet liquid syrup which quickly dissipates in favour of caramelised biscuit and caramel flavours. These latter flavours are divine and crystal clear, but I craved more of the coffee flavour, or for it to linger longer, at least.
12 Raspberry, Almond & Disaronno
- What is it? Raspberry pate de fruit, Disaronno and mascarpone ganache, plus an almond gianduja, wrapped in a dark chocolate shell.
- How did it taste? Tangy raspberry is the star of the show here, with a vibrancy to match the shell colours. It's creamy, sweet, tangy, and there's a lovely crunch that pairs nicely with these. The Disaronno is used sparingly as an enhancer, ensuring that raspberry is the clear focal point here.
Wood Row Chocolate Autumn Collection Bonbons Review
RRP: £22.00 | Wood Row Chocolate | Shop now
I loved working my way through this beautiful collection of flavoursome chocolate bonbons. My highlights were Cherry, Mascarpone & Kirsch and Apple, Pear & Pecan Crumble. Flavours are clearly considered, and there's an emphasis on achieving the right textural components alongside clear and harmonious flavours. Wood Row Chocolate definitely delivers on its aim to create beautiful hand-painted chocolates with incredible flavours.
Where to Buy Online
Head to the Wood Row Chocolate website here where you can select boxes of six, 12, 18 or 36 bonbons. Recipes are seasonal and change throughout the year.
You can also customise your box, so if there's a particular recipe you don't fancy, or one you'd like a doubler of, you can personalise your box to suit your tastes. Similarly, you can create an identical box to mine and try one of everything.
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Which flavour would you most like to try? Let me know in a comment below.