It’s been a good couple of weeks on Michelin Microwave. Last week saw the dizzy heights of potato heaven and the week before was my first experience of Raymond Blanc’s new frozen desert range when I experienced his cherry clafoutis. This week I return to that range and sample the chocolate delice.
I’ve written before about Raymond’s endorsements of mass produced products and they range from the not so great Pertwood Muesli to the brilliant fish pie via a delicious but not outstanding rhubarb and frangipane Tart . The worst accusation I can level at a Raymond product is mediocrity, which is more than I can say for many other chefs competing in this market. It also means every time I approach a new product it is with hope and positive anticipation, unlike the dread I feel when I’m about to try the latest Ainsley Harriott disaster; I guess this is no surprise and reflects their culinary standing. When I ate at Le Manoir (Raymond’s restaurant/hotel of dreams) I was filled with hope and positive anticipation and I wasn’t disappointed. It is one of the greatest restaurant experiences in the land and I recommend you re-mortgage or sell a kidney or something so you can afford the bill, you won’t regret it. But if such a thing as an Ainsley Harriott restaurant opened, my expectations would be as low as a pygmy goat’s kneecap. All this is to say that I was looking forward to sampling the chocolate delice.
After a few hours sat in the fridge defrosting, the delice is ready to be eaten. It looks a picture of chocolaty heaven and the description on the box lives up to the appearance, it says “Rich, dark chocolate ganache on a crunchy hazelnut base. Indulge yourself, s’ il vous plait.”. In case unlike me you don’t have a D in GCSE French and need some help “s’ il vous plait” means please (no need to thank me). I plunged the knife in and there was a satisfying resistance which signified a dense slab of pudding was coming my way. The delice was a delight (see what I did there) the rich, heavenly ganache was bitter and grown up like a good dark chocolate dessert should be. The only negative was that is was a bit grainy, perhaps this was due to the chocolate having been frozen, but to be honest it tasted so good that I wouldn’t let that bother you too much. The addition of hazelnuts in a chocolate dessert is always a good thing and that was the case here, they came in the form of a layer that is somewhere between crisp and crunchy. There is no word in English for this texture but in French I am reliably informed it is called “craqounet” which sums it up perfectly.
I think this is one of the finest deserts you are likely to find in a freezer cabinet anywhere, especially if they’re still on offer for the bargain £3.80. I’m really looking forward to trying the pear and walnut dacquoise if I can only find a supermarket that stocks one – if I do it’ll appear on here in due course.
Raymond Blanc – Chocolate Delice £3.80 (introductory offer) for 400g