Christmas taste test: cheese and chocolate

hotel chocolat christmas 2019

Powered by article titled “Christmas taste test: cheese and chocolate” was written by Tested by Andi Oliver, compiled by Molly Tait-Hyland, for The Observer on Sunday 8th December 2019 12.00 UTC


Co-op Irresistible Somerset Mature Cheddar, 340g, £3.10,
Wow, punchy. Quite nutty with good creaminess. Immediately made me want to reach for the port.

Waitrose Extra Mature Cornish Quartz Cheese, 300g, £4,
Nice appearance. Almost a bit of a parmesan-y crystal crunch through it, which I’m a bit of a sucker for.

Tesco Finest Extra Mature English Cheddar, 350g, £3,
Nutty with a creamy finish. There’s a slightly funny aftertaste, leaves a sort of residue on the palate.

Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Cave Aged Cheddar Truckle, 400g, £4,
It’s strong. Really nice kick. This took a while to develop but does have good power. Looks a bit too yellow to me.

Potted stiltons

Potted stiltons.
Potted stiltons. Photograph: PR

Paxton & Whitfield Stilton Jar, 250g, £19.50
This one has a butter cap. Smacks you right between the eyes. Oooh! Wow, it’s really strong, which is excellent. I love a good strong stilton. It’s got great acidity. Texturally it’s a little bit smooth for me but it really packs a punch.

Tesco Stilton Jar, 225g, £4,
Quite a pale looking stilton… Wow, that is really potent. Lovely creamy finish. The acidity is really good. It starts off strong and then there’s quite an enjoyable mellowness that comes afterwards.

Marks & Spencer Award Winning Blue Stilton, 300g, £5,
Nice acidic, stilton punch to it, exactly what you’re looking for. Texturally it’s really nice, with a good clean aftertaste. Sharpness and good creaminess… I like that a lot.

Waitrose Cropwell Bishop Potted Blue Stilton, 300g, £11,
This has a crumblier texture – fabulous. A little less powerful in flavour. It’s creamy and delicious again. Once you started eating it, you’ll be still sitting there 20 minutes later.

Baked cheeses

Baked cheeses.
Baked cheeses. Photograph: PR

Morrisons The Best Baking Brie with Cranberries and Sloe Gin Drizzle, 590g, £6,
I love the serving dish. The cheese is pungent – absolutely delicious.

Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Baking Camembert with Sloe Gin and Fruit, 290g, £3.50,
A gooey situation with warmth from the gin.

Aldi Specially Selected Normandy Baking Camembert, 290g, £2.79,
A bit pappy texturally – a sweet jam on top of liquid cheese. The cheese isn’t strong enough. A bit sickly.

Marks & Spencer Brie En-Croute, 729g, £12,
Looks fabulous but it is very salty and overwhelming. Slight egginess actually. There are big cloves of garlic.

Salted caramels

Salted caramels.
Salted caramels. Photograph: PR

Hotel Chocolat Milk Salted Caramel Selector, 55g, £3.95,
I like the size of this one. That caramel tastes a bit different. This chocolate tastes grown-up.

Chococo Box of Cornish Sea Salt Caramel Chocolates, 100g, £11.50,
Nostalgic looking. Very runny caramel. It’s got a weird sourness to the caramel… A bit sickly.

Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Belgian Salted Caramels, 140g, £5,
They look a little cheap. Overly sweet; minimal salt. A bit big. I’m not sure the chocolate is that great.

Lily O’Brien’s Salted Caramels Tree Box, 108g, £4.50,
I like the way this looks. More of a fudgey caramel, with a slightly chalky-fudgey texture. I can’t taste any salt. Incredibly sweet.

Chocolate boxes under £10

Chocolate boxes under £10
Chocolate boxes under £10. Photograph: PR

Co-op Irresistible Luxury Collection, 16 chocolates, £6,
Nice looking little box of chocs. Tasty chocolate and the fillings are quite good too. The best box.

Moser Roth Artisan Collection, 225g, £7.99,
Quite kiddy looking. Taste a lot better than they look. Much more chocolatey than I expected and not too sweet. Quite surprising.

Cocoa et Co Festive Collection, 155g, £6,
These could go on a Christmas tree. Underwhelming, but not too sweet and you can taste the chocolate. Just not very exciting.

Lily O’Brien Winter Desserts Collection, 224g, £7,
Big chocolates. Crikey … just sugar. The chocolate does not have much punch. Looks good, but underwhelming flavour, overwhelming sweetness.

Chocolate boxes under £20

Chocolate boxes under £20
Chocolate boxes under £20. Photograph: PR

Selfridges Festive Chocolate Collection, 210g, £14.99,
These look handmade, artisan. The chocolate tastes nice, quite creamy, no waxy aftertaste. A nice present.

Marks & Spencer Signature Collection, 390g, £15,
Oddly perfumed. The chocolate is better than I thought it would be. Surprising.

Chococo Christmas Selection Box, 200g, £17.50,
The chocolate tastes OK, mid-range. Not sickly. A funny aftertaste. Not exciting but they’ve made an effort.

Hotel Chocolat The Classic Christmas Chocolate H-box, 160g, £12.95,
Look like they’re straight out of a Christmas stocking. Don’t pack much of a punch, and not a lot of variety.
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