If you have recently read my review on Summerdown Mint Tea you may remember I mentioned that the firm making this also make some very delicious chocolates, and here is my review of their chocolate mint crisps which are really rather special.
They are not widely available, limited to Waitrose stores, some specialist outlets, and online at www.summerdownmint.com. I purchased mine from Waitrose for £3.99 for 200g.
Summerdown are making mint products from an ancient variety of peppermint called Black Mitchum. Mint production on a commercial scale had all but died out in the United Kingdom, as the demand for land on which to cultivate it has been too great, and so we have looked abroad for the supply of the commodity, which is of course widely enjoyed in sauces and in teas. The company making these chocolates and teas has restarted cultivation using latest production techniques, and has used the traditional Black Mitchum variety to ensure that these have a unique and quintessentially British element to them.
Their factory in Hampshire also distills pure peppermint oil from the plants, as well as manufacturing teas and chocolates of the highest quality.
Having already sampled the tea which was out of this world I now decided to try these mint crisps, serving them with coffee after Sunday lunch, so I could ascertain the reaction of my husband and son as well as myself.
The box is extremely well designed and looks instantly appealing with a mint green frontage and side panels adorned with the photos of mint plants growing in the countryside. Inside lying in rows are 6 intensely flavoured groups of rectangular pieces of crispy mint chocolate, each one a decent size comparing to a fun chocolate bar in size, but a crisp thin slither, not a chunk of dark chocolate, speckled with crispy peppermint in the dark interior. Hold one up to the light and it's like a blanket night sky, lots of little mint pieces sprinkled on a blank chocolate canvas. There are 36 in all and they work out at just under 11p each.
The aroma from the box is extremely strong and suggestive of a flavour which will not disappoint. Nibbling on one of these reveals a lovely peppermint flavour, and a crispy texture-perfect to follow a rich meal and an ideal accompaniment for a coffee. Certainly a treat for a dark chocolate lover, but not too dark as to put off lovers of the milkier varieties as these are not intensely dark
In all honestly I do not feel, however, that these chocolates taste any better than any other make of special mint chocolates. Having found the peppermint tea to be absolute perfection, I was slightly disappointed in these because the flavour was not out of the ordinary from I was expecting. The tea had set the scene for something amazing, and this in terms of taste was lovely, but not outstanding.
Having said that the presentation of the box and the fact that these are lovely chocolates would lead me to incline to buy these as a gift with the tea for someone fond of mint, as I think this would make a very special present which I think would be appreciated.
At £3.99 I don't see myself buying them again for us, unless it was a special occasion, as I don't think I would pay that much again, unless it was for a gesture of thanks, or a birthday celebration. For an everyday after dinner mint chocolate there are alternatives which are cheaper and taste as good as these.
They are made from sugar, cocoa mass, cocoa butter, emulsifier: soya lethicin, and their own Summerdown peppermint oil. The cocoa content of these are 55% cocoa solids, and as they may contain traces of nuts and milk it is not a suitable gift for those with these kinds of allergies.
I love the fact that this company have reintroduced the ancient mint variety back again to adorn English fields, and that they are a cottage industry producing a unique product. I will certainly support them by buying these as gifts as they are unusual and high quality. I would not however suggest to you that they are anything really different in terms of taste and certainly not special enough to warrant spending the very high price too often, though this expense is I believe reflective of the fact that they are a small producer. I like to support this kind of enterprise and for this reason I will certainly be a customer for special celebrations.
My son and husband agreed that although they munched their way through a fair number of these and really enjoyed them that their appeal certainly lies in their presentation, their unique origins, and their quintessentially British nature, rather than anything special about the taste or look of the chocolate.
The tea is a different matter though-that is out of this world.