Several years ago I went to a Chocolate show in London and saw some beautifully painted chocolates. I could not remember who had made them, but recently I received a gift and, when I unwrapped it, saw those same chocolates with the name Lauden on the label. Sun and Stephen founded Lauden in 2010 due to their own disappointment at the lack of fine quality chocolates on the market. Sun is from Singapore, but she did not feel the country had enough demand for fine chocolates, so introduced Lauden to the UK.
Lauden’s chocolates are exquisitely presented in a crystal clear slide-open gift case, meaning you can see the beautiful artwork inside. These chocolates are just as well suited to be framed on the wall as they are to be eaten. The stencil designs look gorgeous, but the downside is no less than ten E numbers listed on the ingredients. It is unfortunate that natural colouring has not been used.
The designs do cause some confusion. Each chocolate bares only a partial piece of a complete pattern, so they do not always correspond with the image photographed for the menu. It can therefore be difficult to determine which chocolate corresponds to which picture, and you may not know what you are getting until you get a bite. For that reason I must deduct a mark for an otherwise flawless presentation.
Lauden’s Mixed Chocolates are available in three sizes: 12, 20 and 24 and consist of twelve award-winning signature chocolates.
Raspberry, Lime, Sour Cherry, and Blackcurrant & Redcurrant
The smell of the Raspberry truffles reminded me of jelly and the filling inside did have a jelly-like texture. It had a puckeringly sharp raspberry flavour with a hint of citrus, while the dark chocolate shell was very mellow. The Lime had an equally piquant taste and a faint minty aroma, while the Blackcurrant & Redcurrant was much more warming. It was also less distinct. I actually had a lot of difficulty telling it apart from the Sour Cherry because they were so similar. For a while, I actually thought the Sour Cherry was missing from the box.
Lemon, Passion Fruit, Mediterranean Orange
The Lemon truffle had a subtle scent of dark chocolate and tasted like a sour lemon meringue pie. It was nice to find that all of the fruit based truffles were not particularly sweet, but went down the more acidic route, which really enhanced the flavour. You got the taste of fruit rather than the taste of sugar. The Passion Fruit had a beautiful curd-like tang, which was very juicy, while the Mediterranean Orange was like bitter marmalade.
Marc De Champagne, Single Origin, and Fresh Mint
Moving onto the non-fruit chocolates, we get Marc De Champagne, which has all the bubbly flavour of champagne along with a creamy textured ganache. The Single Origin is just like a brownie and made from 64% dark cocoa beans all coming from a single estate in Madagascar. After richness of the Single Origin, Fresh Mint is a good follow up. It has a filling similar to a spearmint crème, which is mild and sweet.
Lychee & Rose and Salted Caramel
The Lychee & Rose is probably the most unusual in the selection, but unusual in a good way. It is very aromatic and also has subtle floral notes. The perfume-like flavours are gentle and soothing. In contrast, the Salted Caramel is deep, rich, and entirely hedonistic with its runny centre.
Lauden’s Fine Chocolates not only look the part, but pack a punch when it comes to flavour as well. Compared to other couture chocolates on the market, they are very reasonably priced and a taste sensation.