June 1st: William Curley House White & Dark 70

Several of my UK readers have been clamouring after some more local UK chocolatiers to appear on the site, so it is with great pleasure that I bring you the ChocolateMission d├ębut of William Curley (Website HERE). Indeed over the course of the next few weeks I will be taking a look at a wide range of the William Curley collection - starting today with their House Dark 70 & their House White chocolate.

Before we launch into the taste tests let me first bring you all up to date with who and what William Curley are (credit: WIKI)

"William Curley is a UK based luxury Patissier Chocolatier with stores in both Richmond and Belgravia. The company is owned by William Curley and his wife Suzue Curley. William has won a variety of awards including ‘The Craft Guild Pastry Chef of the Year’, ‘The Caterer’s Acorn Award,’ ‘The Academy of Culinary Arts Award of Excellence’ and ‘British Dessert of the Year.’ Both William and Suzue have represented Scotland in international culinary events, winning Gold medals in Chicago and Basle, and at the Culinary Olympics in Germany in 2004. In 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2011 William Curley was named ‘Best British Chocolatier."

Those are all some pretty incredible achievements for such a young company/couple. Suffice to say expectations were sky high when they offered me the chance of a samples from their current collection.

As I alluded to above, today I will be showcasing their House White & House Dark 70 chocolates. Both bars came in a smallish 50.0g size and in some of the most beautiful packaging I have seen for a long time. Those of an eco-friendly disposition may want to divert their attention elsewhere for a minute, however I really must stress the beauty of the design work on the outer boxes - it made them look highly premium and only further fueled my excitement.

William Curley House White

We all know that white chocolate isn't my chocolate type of preference so I roped in a few fellow taste testers to help sample this with me. Aesthetically the bar looked terrific and I loved the way it broke with a definitive fresh snap and it's pleasant vanilla scents.

Buoyed by the promising signs being displayed by all alluded to before, its unfortunate for me to have to report that the taste test ultimately felt like a let down. Although far from being the horrible sugary messes that we get from most mass produced white chocolate nowadays, this white chocolate could be best described as lacking character. All three of us that tried the bar were surprised at the lack of flavour generated by the soft melt, and I think all round we were expecting a far stronger tasting chocolate. To say it was tasteless would be a massive over reaction, however the cream and vanilla tones on offer were terribly mild and for me not all that satisfying.

7.3 out of 10

William Curley House Dark 70

Back in my more comfortable area of dark chocolate I made sure I tried this one in what I deem my perfect dark chocolate tasting settings - mid afternoon with a freshly brewed black filter coffee.

Just like the white chocolate, this House Dark 70 broke with a terrific fresh snap and emanated some appetising cocoa scents that raised my expectations once again. Well what can I say about this dark chocolate!? ... I was almost tempted to cut and paste a few of the lines from the above white chocolate perspective. Indeed, unfortunately this was another chocolate lacking the desired flavour depth I was hoping for. The dark chocolate on offer here finished as it began - with little flavour development from the initial unsweetened mild cocoa flavours. Like the bar above a mild hint of vanilla was detectable in the finish of the melt, though that aside the layering of flavours was pretty limited. This bars stronger overall taste made it a more satisfying option than the white chocolate, however in the context of other higher end chocolates it did lack presence.

7.6 out of 10

Overall my first experiences with the William Curley range have to be described as somewhat underwhelming. With my expectations fueled by the historical awards, glorious packaging and recommendations from other bloggers, I guess these chocolates were facing a tough task from the outset in order to match up. Even when looking upon them from the generous point of view that they were better than OK standard chocolates, I still cannot hide my disappoint that I didn't think these were a little more special. Luckily for me these two are only the first few chocolates sent from William Curley so there is still plenty of opportunity for them to WOW me.