In spite of my sweet tooth, I don’t seem to recall there being much in the way of chocolate boxes in the house. The highlight of this was when my parents had a dinner party and the inevitable box of After Eights or Matchmakers would be brought out. We kids would then sneak out from our hiding places (we had long since been dismissed from the dinner table while the adults drank coffee and talked about things that we didn’t understand), stole a few of the respective treats, and then went away again. The only time a box of Roses or Quality Street entered the front door was usually when someone had won some in a raffle; we certainly weren’t regular visitors to places like Thorntons for reasons that I would have to ask my parents about (clearly they deprived me).
So these two chocolate boxes were possibly my very first experience of Thorntons products. And this was after having lived in France for more than two years, which is basically the land of chocolate after Belgium; needless to say, my expectations were high.
The first and most immediate observation was that in the case of the Ultimate Indulgence box in particular, Thorntons certainly gives you plenty of bang for your buck. This box is really insanely large and heavy, giving you nearly a whole kilo of chocolate. It is a little cheeky of them to still be selling it in the sale section of their website given that our box had a BBE date of February 28th on it, but…everyone knows that chocolate doesn’t go off anyway…right?
Anyway, as well as being beautifully presented, this behemoth allows you to sample virtually everything that Thorntons has to offer. It’s therefore pretty handy for knowing what you might like to purchase again from them as well as making sure that there is something in there that the whole family will like. While the chocolate-covered raisins were average and the rum and raisin fudge was just blegh (there, I said it), virtually everything else in there was worth writing home about. Him indoors picked out the classic Diplomat chocolate – a sample from Thorntons’ Continental collection which is a classic milk chocolate praline – and also mentioned the truffles as being particular favourites. As for myself, my heart lies with the high-quality chocolate blocks, which ranged from the classic mint chocolate to the innovative ginger and chilli variants.
Also present in this box was a sample of the range available in the Metropolitan box, which I also had a full size of. This contained a range of pleasing yet sometimes bewildering offerings, including cloudberry-flavoured chocolate (how would you know if the flavour matches a real cloudberry accurately, when I’m pretty sure I’ve never met anyone who’s tasted one?) and the completely addictive salty Soho Caramel, which I would happily devour a whole box of by themselves. (Happily, Thorntons also offers this option, allowing you to purchase a box of four Soho Caramels for a mere 59p – though I’d probably need to buy quite a few of these dinky boxes to satiate my desire for these delightful things).
It is therefore clear from this that there truly is something at Thorntons for every style and budget, ranging from chocolate princesses and monkeys for kids, tiny sample boxes like the box of four Soho Caramels mentioned above, and the truly extravagant range of hampers and gift boxes. While the quality is perhaps not always consistent (how could that rum and raisin fudge have come out of the same factory as the divine Soho Caramel?! HOW?!?!), it is judged to be decent overall, even by the resident Frog (who, as mentioned, is from the land of chocolate). Whether you are a chocolate débutant or a chocolate connoisseur, there will be something you enjoy here. Thorntons is clearly one of Britain’s favourite chocolatiers for a reason.