I always look forward to trying new companies’ products. When you eat as much chocolate as I do, it can get a bit ‘samey’ from time to time as you try an ordinary flavour combination from an ordinary company. A product from a company you haven’t encountered before brings a little bit of excitement to proceedings though…because they might just shake things up and offer you something special or radically different. So whilst shopping in Waitrose just before Christmas, I took the plunge and bought some of Elizabeth Shaw’s Orange Crisp dark chocolates.
This caught my eye because it was Christmas. And there are very few flavours more Christmassy than chocolate combined with orange. Of course, I then forgot all about them until yesterday when I found them slung away at the back of a cupboard and the whole Christmas period had already passed. Had it been something a little more run of the mill (i.e. a Terry’s Chocolate Orange or something I’ve eaten a thousand times before) I would have just eaten it and not bothered to review. But as it was from a company completely new to me, I wanted to review it.
These Orange Crisps are ‘deliciously rich dark chocolate with orange and melt in the mouth honeycomb crisp’. I thought they sounded quite nice. Well, obviously otherwise I wouldn’t have bought them I guess. The product idea is different to something like the Terry’s Chocolate Orange, which is more designed for one person to pick at…this was a 175g box of individually wrapped chocolates. 28 of them all together. And looking at them, you could hand the box around at a party for people to ‘take one and pass it along’. Whereas if you did that with a chocolate orange you’d just look a bit weird!
Considering their middling price tag, I thought that Elizabeth Shaw have done quite a good job with the aesthetics and packaging on these Orange Crisps. Granted they aren’t amazing or jaw-dropping, but the box is sturdy and solid whilst the window which displays the chocolates in their orange foil wrappers is a nice idea and makes the box as a whole quite appealing. I wouldn’t go quite as far as classy but these are definitely more attractive and well designed than the majority of chocolate products available in supermarkets.
Each Orange Crisp is pretty small and compact- you could easily fit the entire piece into your mouth in one go but as I’m a dead classy guy, I took two or three smaller ‘nibbles’ per chocolate.
Their smell wasn’t particularly memorable. In fact, to be frank, they were seriously underwhelming. I enjoyed the slight richness of the semi-bitter dark chocolate, but (as most people probably do when they buy orange products) I had been hoping for some real zestiness from the fruit. And that just wasn’t there is the slightest. Even a more budget product like the Jaffa Cake has that…well, jaffa element to the smell. These were just very plain and dull for me unfortunately.
The honeycomb aspect on these Elizabeth Shaw Orange Crisps is easily the best part of them. It is crunchy as anything which is a good start when you buy something called ‘Orange Crisps’. Each chocolate might only be small, but is packed with little honeycomb nubbins which give the product a fun texture. They carry some sweetness too which contrasts the dark chocolate well.
It goes a bit more downhill from there though. The dark chocolate melts quite smoothly but needs more flavour to it really. It is 45% cocoa solids and is caught in between two markets for me… it is without doubt a little richer than the majority of milk chocolates out there meaning milk chocolate lovers won’t love it…but similarly, it is nowhere near chocolatey enough to please dark chocolate lovers either.
And the most disappointing aspect of all is the total lack of orange flavour. The orange flavouring was supposed to be ‘in’ the dark chocolate I think, but there was barely a hint of it which I felt was poor given that these are called ‘Orange Crisps’.
Where to start the summary? Well, I’ve eaten far worse chocolates than Elizabeth Shaw’s Orange Crisp dark chocolates. But these are, relative to their slightly above average price tag, not the best value for money either. I think they cost me about £4 or £5 from memory and that is slightly higher than the quality of the product in my opinion.
The dark chocolate is ok but just average for what you’d expect to buy from a supermarket with change from a five pound note, whilst the lack of orangey flavour is a real let-down for somebody like myself who likes that flavour combination. Credit where it is due, the honeycomb component is very well done here- there is loads of it and it is excellently textured and well flavoured. But I wouldn’t particularly recommend this to anybody.
There aren’t shocking, but lack flavour and excitement. I’m not put off Elizabeth Shaw’s products, but it isn’t the best of starts.