July 27th: Paul.a.Young's Salted Caramel Chocolates

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Fresh off the back of his appearance on The Apprentice, about a month or so ago I was approached by one of Paul.a.Young's PR team who invited me to one of his in store exhibitions. Unfortunately I wasn't able to make the day as I just so happened to be sitting my University Finals that week. On a brighter note Paul's team decided to send me some of his famous Salted Caramel chocolates which I had previously heard so much about. Having read some reviews on Chocablog and noted the gold medal award that they won at the Academy of Chocolate awards these Salted Caramel certainly came with a lot of promise ... here is what I thought of them.

Before I get into how they tasted as per usual I would like to pass a few comments on the presentation. Paul's team sent me a pack of nine chocolates which came beautifully presented in a ribboned box. Inside the chocolates were presented in cute purple coloured wrappers and were protected by a small paper layer. I thought that overall the presentation was simplistic in its sophistication and was not over the top or overly elaborate. The chocolates themselves were the size of large thimbles and emanated a genuinely fresh smelling sweet cocoa smell when the box was opened. As instructed by the packaging I stored these in the fridge as soon as I received them, this however didn't stop me digging straight in when they were at room temperature. For reasons that will be come obvious in a minute I would very much recommend you wait until they are nicely chilled.

There are no two ways of describing how these tasted - they were utterly delicious, yet I still thought there was the tiniest room without room for improvement. According to Paul's website the outer chocolate was formed of a Madagascan 62% recipe and much like the smell suggested it tasted wonderfully fresh and forthcoming with its cocoa flavours. As soon as the chocolate hit my tongue the cocoa flavours were evident and substantiated a nice chocolaty base tone to the taste. My only one criticism of these chocolates was that the chocolate itself was just a little too thin and the outer shell could have done with being just a touch thicker to make the chocolaty flavours last longer in the mouth. Minor criticism aside the transition from the smooth, silky melting chocolate to the soft, gooey caramel centre was fantastic yet maybe just a little short lived. The caramel that lay inside the chocolates was the finest I have ever tasted ... it was everything you wanted a caramel to be. It was sugary, sweet, buttery, syrupy, with floral, burnt sugar notes ... sorry for the list but the flavours that this caramel produced were so terrifically variable and explosive. The most important flavour hit was in the aftertaste of the caramel which was of course the promised salt lick. It was utterly marvellous and contrasted so fantastically well with the sweetness produced by the other components of the chocolate. The salt element not only made these delicious but also ever so moreish ... a cheeky chocolate soon turned into three cheeky chocolates.

Overall there is no doubting that Paul has struck gold with this recipe here. This could just be personal preference but if I had my own way the outer chocolate shell would be a touch thicker to make these more substantial. Due to the soft, near liquid like nature of the caramel and thinness of the chocolate these didn't last all that long in the mouth but it wasn't as if they didn't leave a lasting impression. I have said it once already but it is worth saying again ... the inner caramel was the finest I have ever tasted ... and boy have I tried my fill in my time. If you like your caramel chocolates then these are simply a must try. I would whole heartily recommend you visit Paul online or in one of his two stores - Paul has struck gold ... caramel gold!

8.5 out of 10