Heston Blumenthal turns to luxury chocolates


If Heston Blumenthal's £350 Christmas menu at the Fat Duck restaurant is too much you might manage a tenner for a box of chocs from the Michelin-starred chef.

From next week at Waitrose, Heston's Chocolate Box, including Earl Grey and Lemon flavours, takes on Thorntons and Cadbury's, not to mention other posh chocolate makers like Green & Blacks. Do they hit the sweet spot?

Thyme for a treat

The choc combinations, as you'd expect from the man who gave the public salmon poached in liquorice gel, snail porridge and whisky wine gums, are exotic: Thyme & Rosemary, Earl Grey and Lemon, Spiced Caramel... Waitrose claims Blumenthal's chocs are made by third generational Swiss chocolatiers.

Waitrose will sell you them for £10 up to 24 Dec, then the price rises to £13.50 (though you would have thought it would be the other way round).

Could they sell out? Blumenthal's Christmas food for Waitrose is generally well regarded. Two years ago his hidden orange puddings sold out, going onto sell on eBay for twice the price. However the HuffPost UK team weren't impressed with Heston's recent Christmas Strawberry and Lychee Frozen Gateau offering.

Cheap frog

"The reality just didn't meet the hype. We'd been dying to see the red chocolate 'flocking' that had been sprayed on, but if you're going to bill something as a 'showpiece dessert', then it has to be so overwhelmingly brilliant, otherwise it's like pulling a £10 luxury cracker and being confronted with a cheap plastic frog."

The Telegraph though recently street-tested Blumenthal's mince pies which were a hit, though at twice the price of Aldi's £1.79 mini versions.

The likes of Thorntons and Cadburys probably won't be too worried about his choc box entree yet, given it's such a niche market. At the other end of the sweet market, Aldi's 'luxury' brand is Choceur - 59p for a humble 100g Hazlenut Heaven Bar.

But like wine merchants, posh chocolatiers know that if you blow £10 on a box of chocs at Christmas, it's unlikely to break you.

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