July 8th: Artisan du Chocolat Velvet Collection

We start off the week today with a very welcome ChocolateMission return for Artisan du Chocolat. Anyone who saw our awards last year will know that we are long standing advocates of the brand - you may recall they were winners of a 2012 ChocolateMission award - See HERE. Well head chocolatier Gerard has been working away in his chocolate laboratory of genius and has innovatively created yet another dazzling range of chocolate bars to introduce to the Artisan line-up this summer.

The latest new range has been called the 'Velvet Collection' - a new line of fine milk chocolate bars. These chocolates are 'made from scratch; cane sugar, dried milk, dried caramel, cocoa butter and fine flavour cocoa beans that are ground, conched and refined in Kent, UK'. The bars we tried today came in 45.0g sizes and within beautiful cream and gold coloured cardboard boxes. In these boxes the chocolates came in plastic packet sleeves - are preference would have been foil, though the chocolates still broke with an almighty cracks offering gorgeous fresh cocoa smells.

As you can see in our pictures we were the lucky recipients of two varieties - the Confiture de Lait and the Creme Brulee. The Confiture de Lait was the plainer offering of two and had been billed as being inspired by 'old fashioned French milk jams'. The Creme Brulee obviously took inspiration from the '18th-century French dessert' an offered a unnervingly fine representation of it within a chocolate context. The taste test for these was as highly anticipated as any chocolate taste testing we have done recently - luckily they didn't disappoint, far from it in fact! These milk chocolates were frankly some of the most outstanding we have tasted in the last few years - utterly delicious! Both melted with the finest feeling softening and ebbed and flowed allowing full flavour expression and luxuriousness a plenty. The flavours on offer were frankly just phenomenal with the taste laden with the most epic creamy cocoa rich notes we've ever tasted. The Confiture de Lait had slightly more cocoa depth, though the Creme Brulee had longer progression with additional notes of custard, caramel and vanilla all left lingering in the mouth for a long duration after. We finished both bars in double quick time but none of us were arguing with the quality of the chocolate we had just experienced - out of this world excellence!

Overall after five long years it appears we have found a milk chocolate rival for the long standing ChocolateMission champion.The Hotel Chocolat 85% may be the king of the dark chocolates but ladies and gentlemen we have a NEW joint ChocolateMission leader in the form of these Artisan du Chocolat Velvet Collection. We've copped out slightly by not picking a favourite but that would be like asking us to pick a favourite family member - these chocolates were both outstanding and the ChocolateMission team cannot remember enjoying chocolates as fine as these for a very long time. The flavour profiles of both chocolates were simply outstanding with the cocoa flavours powerful, sweet and so amazingly creamy and deep. If you consider yourselves a chocolate fan we simply can't recommend these enough. These are the sort of chocolates that keep us motivated to keep running this site after 5 long years. When you get quality like this it makes it all worth while. Incredible chocolates - please try them and let us know what you think @Chocmission!!

9.5 out of 10