We test ten of the best luxury chocolates for readers
Indulge in a scrumptious selection from some of the finest choclatiers, writes Kate Hilpern.
1. Lauden 20 Mixed Chocolates: £18, Lauden
This multi-award winning company was founded by husband and wife team, Sun and Stephen Trigg, who started making chocolate on their kitchen table in 2008. Driven by a passion for sourcing the best cacao and ingredients from around the world, their chocolates are now served in some of the best restaurants in the country. This collection includes flavours such as fresh mint, lychee & rose, sour cherry, salted caramel and, our favourite, Mediterranean orange.
2. Du Rhône 16 Piece Chocolate Assortment: £36.95, Harrods
The Du Rhône tearooms are a popular haunt in Geneva, which is famous for its handmade hot chocolate and pralines. For those that want to recreate the experience at home, this master chocolatier has created a delicious selection of top-notch treats, featuring both dark and milk chocolates and all kinds of textures including pralines, mousse and ganache.
3. Sylvia and Terry Eat Me Keep Me Collection: from £10, Sylvia and Terry
This company is named after the owner's late mum and dad, whom she says are wholly responsible for her chocolate obsession. This range of handmade cream chocolates, truffles, bars and French macarons contain only fresh, local ingredients such as Kentish cream and butter, combined with seasonal produce from across the globe.
4. Choctails Pick Your Own Chocolates: £14.95, Choctails
This award-winning company was created after Simon Delamere suggested his wife introduce cocktails into her home-made truffles. By 2012, it had become a full-time business - the only one in the market focused exclusively on cocktail chocolates. There are a vast number of options to pick from to create your selection, such as Harvey Wallbanger, mojito, piña colada and Singapore sling.
5. Jeff de Bruges Square Box: £20.16, Jeff de Bruges
These innovative chocolates combine Belgian indulgence and French cocoa chic. We love the way the choclatier revisits traditional recipes and gives them a contemporary twist. The tear-drop shaped options here include dark chocolate, raspberry chips and almond sticks, along with white chocolate, caramel chips, cranberries, plus many more.
6. Paxton Signature Thins: £25, Not On The High Street
Fashionable chocolatier, Caitlin Paxton is known for pushing boundaries. But she's become best known for her striking chocolate discs, which are made by hand in small batches and include scrumptious flavours such as dark chocolate and lavender; milk chocolate, orange and earl grey tea; and white chocolate clementine, lime and lemongrass.
7. Belinda's Kitchen Sea Salted Caramel Truffles: £13.50, Yumbles
There's no shortage of sea salt truffles out there, but these award-winning ones stand out for their rich, fresh flavour and melt-in-the-mouth texture. The 40% Ghanaian milk chocolate provides a perfect foil to the fresh brown sugar caramel ganache and the result is complete indulgence.
8. Chococo Large Selection Box: £19.95, Chococo
These chocolates are so fresh that they only have a two-week shelf-life. And this Dorset-based chocolatier has won nearly 65 Great Taste Awards in its 12 years of trading. Our favourites include salt sweet smoke (Cornish smoked sea salt liquid muscavado caramel encased in dark chocolate) and lemon zing (locally made fresh lemon curd in a white chocolate ganache).
9. Artisan du Chocolat Black and Gold Couture Ecrin 48: £49.99, Artisan du Chocolat
One bite of one of these and you'll instantly realise why this company, which hand-makes every chocolate from scratch in its Kent kitchens, supplies many Michelin star restaurants. With flavours including single origin ganaches, tarragon, fresh mint, Indian black and green cardamom and Mexican tonka beans, there's nothing ordinary about these delicious morsels.
10. Hotel Chocolat The Large Chocolatier's Table: £100, Hotel Chocolat
This magnificent array of mouth-watering chocolates is a feast for the eyes and doesn't disappoint when you get to the tasting. Indeed, the delicious morsels include just about every flavour and range you can think of, providing something for everyone - from lively floral gin to classic rhubarb and custard, plus chocolate pretzels, posh Maltesers and Mississippi mud pie slabs.