Heinz has teamed up with Fortnum & Mason once again for a special surprise this Valentine's Day - Tomato Ketchup truffles! Sounds disgusting. So of course, we had to try them.
The whimsical and possibly nightmarish collaboration was announced last month with Fortnum Mason flogging a box of nine, handmade truffles for £20. Seems a but pricey at two quid a pop, but these aren't your average chocolates, and if you're doing your truffle shopping at Fortnum & Mason, that price tag is just par for the course. Having sampled a shockingly huge variety of chocolate over the years, there's only a couple of boxes that fall into the same price category as these Ketchup truffles that I'm happy to shell out on, but at the top of my list is variety; if you're the kind of person who likes to eke out a box of almost identical truffles over the course of a few days, then it's money well-spent. If not, you're going to get very bored, very fast.
Red box, satin ribbon, and rose petals can even make Ketchup sexy
The truffles are presented in a gorgeous little box splashed in Heinz blue and Ketchup red with a gold filigree design that makes it look and feel like a premium trove of chocolates. Plus it's heart-shaped for Valentine's Day which instantly makes it 50 per cent more fun. Fortnum & Mason has really done the impossible here by classing up Heinz while staying on brand. It's smart marketing, hitting the demo who likes a bit of silliness but doesn't want to compromise on quality as a result - see Moonpig's KFC Valentine's Day cards for an example of the opposite.
Milk, white, and dark chocolate truffles hiding Ketchup ganache inside.
Opening up the box reveals a mix of white, milk, and dark chocolate truffles - all ripples and waves - and each one has been anointed with a shimmering, pink glaze. They look absolutely stunning. Having already covered the announcement, I knew that I'd be biting into a Ketchup-tainted ganache encased in a chocolate shell, but I was somewhat lulled into a false sense of security by the packaging and how mouth-watering the truffles looked. So I took the plunge and started off with a dark chocolate orb. It tasted like Ketchup.
Surprisingly, it wasn't unpleasant. The blonde ganache is just as rich and silky as advertised, and while it isn't as cloying as some truffles, you'd probably be good with just a couple before stashing them away for a future nibbling. Biting into the shell, my first thought was how smooth and creamy the ganache was, and it was sweet without being overly so. There was definitely a tang to it that became more noticeable at the tail end, and knowing it was Ketchup, that's exactly what it tasted like. The flavour of tomato was less prevalent than the tang of the sauce, and I'd say it was more in the ballpark of Worcestershire sauce, but you can definitely taste it.
It doesn't LOOK like there's Ketchup inside
But to give the truffles a fair cop, I sought out my unsuspecting housemates and got them to try the chocolates before and after finding out about their not-so-secret ingredient. The overwhelming response was that they tasted like salted caramel with all of them commenting on a sweet, tangy flavour. Even after I spilled the beans about the Ketchup, the moment of epiphany I was anticipating didn't come. None of them could taste it even after the big reveal, which is mad because the truffles - while delicious - definitely have an added dimension thanks to the Ketchup. And if you know it's in there, you can pick it out amongst the chocolate and sweet ganache.
As a novelty gift that still keeps it classy, Fortnum & Mason have nailed it. If you didn't know the truffles incorporated Ketchup, you'd be blissfully unaware and just be psyched that someone has seen fit to lavish you with chocolate. And if you do know, you may or may not be able to identify it, apparently. The important thing is that they look fantastic, from the packaging to the truffles themselves, and they taste divine - if a bit weird.