June 30th, 2008 by Rosa
Last semester, I went to a Master’s Tea with Melanie Dunea, author/photographer of My Last Supper. The book consists of her photographs of 50 world famous chefs, including Eric Ripert, Wylie Dufresne, Daniel Boulud, Anthony Bourdain, Thomas Keller, and Mario Batali, and what they’d like their last suppers to be like. If you ever come across the book, check out Guy Savoy’s excellent response. It’s a great coffee table book, and it makes a great gift for foodie friends. In fact, I got a copy of it signed for my friend Cassie’s 21st birthday present. I also may have read through it before I gave it to her…
So what does My Last Supper have to do with Thorntons Chocolate Smothered Toffee? Well, after hearing Ms. Dunea talk about meeting all those great chefs, I was curious as to what she would have for her last supper. So I asked her. She said her ideal last meal would be Thortons Chocolate Smothered Toffee and a glass of red wine. Luckily, there’s a Thortons right in the Cambridge City Centre, so I was able to make a bag of chocolate smothered toffee my first candy purchase in the UK.
I was surprised at how irregularly shaped the toffee pieces were, as they all looked fairly uniform on the photo on the bag. The outer coating of milk chocolate was sweet and creamy and definitely noticeable, as there was about 1/2 a centimeter thick layer of it. It certainly smothered, and it made the confection a tad too sweet for my taste.
When the candy was cold, the toffee inside cleaved like American toffee but once warmed in your hand or in your mouth, it chews into a super sticky caramel, like UK toffee normally does. And when I say sticky, I mean sticky. The flavor was nicely buttery, but it gets stuck in your teeth like whoa. Somehow that buttery taste didn’t translate into a physically buttery (aka greasy, not overly sticky) toffee. Usually, that would be a plus, but in this case, not so much.
The toffee was just too messy to eat. Because the chunks were so big, you couldn’t pop one whole in your mouth, but if you bit off a piece, by the time you finished chewing and chewing and chewing, the rest of the piece would have melted all over your fingers. I know because I brought the rest of the bag into lab to share at lunchtime. I warned people that it was hard to chew, but the intrepid sweet-toothed ones forged ahead anyway. And they struggled messily, and I felt guilty for subjecting them to candy-related social faux pas.
In conclusion, the toffee was tasty but messy and difficult to eat, making it more difficult to enjoy. I didn’t think to try it with a glass of red wine; I think that would actually pair nicely, with the acidity of the wine cutting through the sweetness of the candy. The toffee gets an OM from me. I wouldn’t turn it down if it appeared at my last supper, but I wouldn’t make any special request for it.
Finally, on an unrelated note, happy birthday, Mom! I’m sorry I can’t be home to spend it with you, but I am thinking happy thoughts for you, with a 5-hour time difference head start.