When I first reviewed truffles from Booja Booja some five years or so ago they were hard to find - perhaps just one or two online stores stocked them. Overtime they became more popular and a greater number of stores decided to add them to their product list. Some even decided to retail them on Amazon. Unsurprisingly Amazon knew that they were selling well and decided to stock them themselves - cutting out the retailers which made them popular and going direct.
My concern is that these truffles don't taste anywhere as good as the ones I bought many years ago (I think from Chocolate Trading Co. or Ethical Superstore). Perhaps they were kept better than these? Chocolate needs to be kept around 16-18°C to be in prime condition - most artisan chocolate makers even specify that on the packaging. The point is even though I doubt these have been hanging around for months, they just don't taste as fresh as I recall. I could be totally wrong. As its Friday my brain may be mashed by a hard week's work, but these seem to have lost the wow! factor they most certainly gave me previously.
I can't deny that the packaging looks great but is disappointing it’s opened up as the cuboid truffles don't take up all three rows - they're left to move around the box and all the cocoa dust flies off around the box – and the mount left on the truffle is lessened as a result. When I had previously each truffle was individually wrapped in foil and they were presented in a small papier mâché egg which was hand-painted – they looked great, tasted fresher and felt nicer.
To their credit the Champagne is still as evident as ever and they're refreshingly cool in the centre. The sweetness is still there which combines with delightfully with the booze and in general the mouth feel is pretty good. I just, can't, however, feel that they're as good as when Booja Booja was a small company and when they weren't as omnipresent - they seem to have lost their câché as they've grown big - which seems to run counter to their ethical stance.
As a Christmas gift for somebody that is equally a fed-up with the mass-market, globalised confectionery market as I am, then I'm sure people would love them. I could say that you should buy them from a small, owner-managed shop. But every penny count these days and if you can buy 150g box for £7.99 with free delivery why should you pay £8.95 and then £3.95 for delivery via Chocolate Trading Co.? Even though every pound spent will do more good with the independent retailer, you just can't argue with Amazon's buying power - unfortunately.
Would I buy these for a relation given what we’ve got stocked? Probably not. My view has always been that if you’re going to give chocolate truffles they should always be super-fresh and not sat in a warehouse. What’s more I always think that buying filled chocolates such as truffles, caramels and other ganaches should always come direct from the manufacturer – that’s why we don’t stock them. Freshness is paramount. You can’t compare a chocolatier making some chocolates on one day and sending them out the next with a global entity storing their chocolate in a warehouse, potentially with lawnmowers and oral solution.