Saturday, December 05, 2009

Launch of Thornton's Metropolitan Chocolate Box

I'm waaaay behind with this blog. So busy doing things, no time to write about them! I did catch up on a few words on a recent plane journey, now just need to add some pictures and put them up here. So here goes with the first of these...

A few weeks ago I was invited to the Thornton’s launch of their new Metropolitan box, held, coincidentally, at the Metropolitan Hotel. I’d had a sneak preview of some of the chocolates early in the Summer when I’d been invited with a small selection of other chocolate fiends to taste the products in their development and offer feedback. I was pretty keen to see what the final selection looked like.

Still recovering from food poisoning, I dragged myself from bed to see what they had to say. I couldn’t really eat anything on the night, nor indulge in the free champagne and cocktails, but fortunately (along with the other guests) I was given a box to take home. I should say up front, I’m not a regular Thornton’s customer. When I have such easy access to amazing chocolates, Thornton’s doesn’t really get a look in (though I did buy their toffee-chocs pretty regularly when I first moved back to the UK, and still enjoy them now). I was intrigued when they hired Keith Hurdman, formerly of Melt, and before that many other chocolate companies and schools, to be their head of development. Keith and I had some interesting conversations about the need to stay relevant to your core customers while keeping up with new trends and the change in the market place. I understand it took a while to convince Thornton's to launch a chilli bar, but its success paved the way for more freedom in his designs. Some of his other new bars I was involved in giving bronze awards at the Academy of Chocolate Awards earlier this year (all anonymously in blind tastings).

There are some great chocolates in this box. I understand they have lost some of their magic in the transfer from the development kitchen to the production line, but the literally melt-in-the-mouth Manhattan Melts and Midnight Melts and the praline are both good for a Thornton’s box. (The production line is itself a pretty magical place, it’s like being in Willy Wonka’s factory, but that’s another story for another blog post!)

If you’re a real chocolate aficionado you won’t be blown over by the Metropolitan box, but it is strides ahead of most of their other offerings. And, if you have a grandmother like mine, who still thinks Thornton’s is the ultimate in expensive, quality chocolate you might help to introduce her to the new world of more interesting chocolates through a brand she trusts and understands.


Kavey said...

Really helpful, balanced write up!

Jennifer said...

Thanks, Kavey. :)