This is my first review of a Thorntons product. For those of you from outside the UK, Thorntons is a British chocolate company which has been around since 1911. For many decades it was the ‘go to’ chocolate shop, but it has begun to struggle in recent years amidst heightened competition. Their chocolate has been labelled as unimaginative and old-fashioned. They’ve tried to change this image over the last couple of years and their exciting summer range this year included these: Thorntons’ Jam Roly Poly Truffles.
Thorntons Jam Roly Poly Truffles
Described on the bag as ‘Milk chocolate with a white chocolate and butter truffle centre and core of raspberry flavour jam decorated with white chocolate’ these are modelled on the popular British dessert, the Jam Roly Poly (a suet pudding with fruit jam). I picked these up as I was intrigued to taste Thorntons’ modern take on a very traditional British pudding.
The packaging fits in to a pretty clear theme. The Union Jack flag colour scheme and the tag line ‘the best of British’ on the bag is targeted at the sudden (and welcome) resurgence in patriotism in the UK as we host the summer Olympics, celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and support our sports stars in key events. (Well, that’s more of a past tense reason now, what with the English football team losing on penalties…again, and Andy Murray gallantly losing the Wimbledon final yesterday.)
I like the theme- Thorntons is a British company, and it’s lovely to see it embracing its roots and heritage. This is even more poignant after the sale of previously the British-owned Cadbury to American giant Kraft last year.
None the less though, I have to also comment that the bag was a bit cheap looking. The plastic-y bag was a bit tacky and unsophisticated…it even rustled like a supermarket plastic bag which isn’t good news when Thorntons’ competitors (mainly Hotel Chocolat) are packaging their chocolate in extremely attractive ways. The truffles themselves looked nice enough and the theme of the packaging was effective, but even a smart cardboard box could have made this look miles better…this is presumably where cost comes into it for Thorntons of course.
After picking at the top of the bag, which was folded over and sealed with a bit of sellotape (once again, not really an ‘exciting’ chocolate experience) I took a deep breath in. The dominant scent was the dairy notes of the milk chocolate. There was no jam smell at all, which was somewhat perturbing given that these are jam chocolates based on a jam pudding! None the less though, sometimes strong flavours can’t be smelt, so even in spite of the missing fruit smell, I remained positive as Jam Roly Poly is one of my favourite traditional desserts.
One thing is for sure, they were a mammoth let down on the jam roly poly front. These were about as close to a jam roly poly pudding as a cheese sandwich.
They’re not actually bad chocolates though. I know that sounds a bit weird, but what I mean to convey is that, had I blind tasted these, I would have been pleased. However their downfall isn’t that they’re bad chocolates, but that they aren’t akin to a jam roly poly.
The main positive for the Jam Roly Poly truffles is the fantastic truffle centre. The white chocolate and butter truffle centre is a gorgeous texture- it slowly and smoothly melted away in my mouth. It was sweet, but there was more of a buttery taste present than I had expected. I feared a cheap white chocolate monstrosity but the butter element meant that there was more of a buttercream feel to the truffle here.
The biggest negative is without doubt (as mentioned) that these are called Jam Roly Poly Truffles, and they don’t deliver any of the flavours associated with a jam roly poly dessert.
There was virtually no fruit element at all. If you’re looking at the photos and wondering why the jam swirl in the middle is so small, you’re thinking exactly what I did. These truffles needed a big heap of sharp raspberry jam to be tasted over the white chocolate truffle centre and the very sweet milk chocolate coating. Instead, there was this tiny little squirt of jam which was barely noticeable. Had there been a stronger raspberry flavour here, these truffles could have been terrific. As it was, there wasn’t, and they weren’t.
To wrap up? These are decent enough truffles, and certainly not offensive to the taste buds. The buttery truffle centre is a glorious consistency and offers a pleasant blend of flavours. I would best describe it as a much less cloying, firm buttercream.
Without the acidity and tartness of a fruity jam however, this was doomed to be a one dimensional chocolate in flavour; it needed something to cut through the sweet milk chocolate covering not to mention the white chocolate truffle centre. On top of that, the lack of a raspberry jam downright ground my gears…not in a serious way…but come on, you can’t call a product ‘Jam Roly Poly Truffles’ and not get the bloody jam flavour right! Schoolboy really!
Decent chocolates and will definitely satisfy many people out there. But an insult to the legendary jam roly poly dessert!
I’l continue to support Thorntons in the future however, and I’l get my hands on some more of their interesting and attractive summer range (bananas and custard chocolate! Cool!) as soon as I can.