I get offered quite a few things to review, mostly toys or household/kitchen items, and the vast majority of them I'm happy to accept. Some of them are completely off course for our family which contains a three year old boy, but mostly they fit really well. Especially chocolate!
When I was asked to review a new line of chocolates by a new start up business, "we are a small family business dedicated to making chocolate that is second to none", I was more than happy to do so because I feel it's important to support the independent businesses. I also love chocolate and it's got to be a pretty grotty chocolate to not have me impressed.
The pretty box of chocolates from Chocolate By Genevie arrived in the post. Admittedly they were a smaller box than I expected, but I decided that it was quality not quantity that was important.
I liked the look of the white chocolate one and bit in. To discover a filling which I couldn't put my finger on. I wasn't even that impressed with the quality of the white chocolate to be honest.
It's at this point that I searched the box for the description card, to no avail. This I found a little disturbing. In this day and age when there are so many of the population with allergies, it's really important to disclose which of the chocolates have nuts or other ingredients in. (I didn't realise until today when I read another review that there is also no use-by date.)
However, I plodded on with the pot luck situation of the chocolates and quickly discovered that in all honesty I couldn't work out any flavours other than praline and possibly a bit of nut. Very disappointing indeed for a box of chocolates which cost £8.99. On that note, it works out to be more than £1 a chocolate. £1 per chocolate! Having reviewed several boxes of chocolates for Hotel Chocolat, I can safely say that these are more expensive and a far lower quality. In fact, they were reminiscent of a supermarket box of truffles.
I had this box to review back in July, so why has it taken me so long to review them? Because I didn't know what to say. I felt bad for this small, home-grown business which was investing in bloggers to promote their brand. The company had offered me a box for a competition as well, but having tasted them I wasn't really keen to endorse them and have been hanging back on writing this review.
What's made me write it tonight? This post here.
It transpires that a few other bloggers who'd been sent this box of chocolates were sufficiently concerned about the lack of product descriptions, ingredients and use-by date, and did some investigations. I'll leave you to read them. Nonetheless, the original 'about me' description of the company (which I quoted above) has been changed. Instead of reading: "Everything from making the chocolates to finishing the boxes is done by hand making sure you receive a product which is both unique and special; we are a small family business dedicated to making chocolate that is second to none" it now says "We have… finally found a small Belgium supplier who makes chocolates that are just divine – all of our chocolates are produced in Belgium by chocolatiers who excel in the art of chocolate. We are a small family business dedicated to sourcing and supplying chocolate that is second to none."
Now as far as I can see, that's a completely different claim. That means that the Genevie who told me that she handmade the chocolates herself (with her family taste-testing and boxing them) doesn't actually do that. And that indeed this family buy them in and repackage them to sell on their site over in the UK.
I'm one of those rare people that don't like Belgian chocolates. I don't like the nutty tastes, I don't like the texture of the chocolates. If I'd known it was a box of Belgian chocolates, I'd have said no.
I have genuinely been toying with my review for the past month. Finding out that the company involved appear to be misleading people as to their origins annoys me. I don't like being lied to.
Regardless of the honesty of the company, would I recommend these chocolates? Well to me, they are standard Belgian chocolates with indeteminable flavours, in fairly attractive but indistinctive packaging, which work out at £1 a chocolate. So, no I wouldn't.
As for the competition promoting the company? Are you having a laugh?
I was sent these chocolates for the purpose of this review. My opinion is honest and probably unbiased, but I'm still cross about being lied to.