Review: Fortnum & Mason Chocolate Box

Posted on September 8 2011 by Sian Meades

Fortnum & Mason is a mix of hilarious and intimidating. Hilarious because I’m sure some tourists think that us Londoners shop there all the time. And intimidating because oh my goodness it’s fancy. Did you know that you can spend over eighty quid on honey? And that there’s even a waiting list for some varieties?

It’s swanky here. But the key thing is that while you’re paying for a name, you’re also paying for quality. You trust F&M to give you the very finest goods, whatever you buy. And in my case, I was raiding their MASSIVE chocolate selection.

First things first, their chocolate dude deserves massive props for being so patient and lovely. Picture me, faced with three counters of chocolate and truffles and sweets and OMG look! Chocolate mice! And ooooh, more sea salted caramels, I wonder how different they are to the ones over there. How many can I fit into a little box? It’s all too exciting. Yep, I was being annoying and excitable and the Fortnum’s guy actually managed to feign amusement while I spent seventy billion hours choosing what I wanted.

For my little box of chocs, I paid about £9. I got roughly 14 chocs (some might have got eaten in the pub so that’s not an exact count) and they got the thumbs up for the most part.

Black tea was very interesting, subtle with the tea taste being all in the aftertaste. The salted caramels were excellent. The chocolate mouse wasn’t as good as the cheap ones (I know, I’m a chocolate philistine) but then there were undisputed treats like their bucks fizz truffle. I was expecting orange and vodka. Give whoever included popping candy in them a payrise immediately, F&M.

You’re not going to love every single chocolate you try. The herb chocolates were hit and miss – dandelion and burdock was surprisingly tasty, the highly anticipated rhubarb chocolate was pretty bland which was a shame. There are so many to choose from. Of course, because they’re handpicked you don’t get a card to tell you what you’ve bought and that makes for a bit of a guessing game a day later.

But the choice you have is amazing – there was a whole counter I didn’t even get to. I felt it better I stop before I drove the poor man to distraction. And now that just means I have to come back and try the rest of them. Each time you go there will be something that takes your fancy and they’re good enough chocs that you’ll usually get something you enjoy. That’s the kind of fancy chocolate maths that I like.

Fortnum & Mason is at 181 Piccadilly, London, W1A 1E.

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