Whether you’re looking for the ideal gift or just want to treat yourself, we can’t think of anything we’d rather receive through our letterbox than a regular delivery of chocolate. Our round-up of these nationwide subscription services will put a smile on the face of any recipient, whether they prefer milk, dark or white chocolate.
Featuring artisan bars, beautiful boxes and bonus treats, you’ll often be among the first to try exclusive new flavours, not yet available in the shops. Many boxes contain tasting notes so you can really further your chocolate knowledge while scoffing the lot. There’s a plethora of subscription lengths and prices on offer, from weekly to yearly, and most offer free delivery with parcels that fit through your letterbox. With easy cancellation policies, it really is easier than ever to sign up to a top notch chocolate subscription – the gift that keeps on giving.
As Forrest Gump said: “Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get.” But the team behind food and drink site Crummbs have ensured it’s going to be a delicious surprise.
1. Hotel Chocolat Tasting Club: £9.95 for the first month, then £22.95, Hotel Chocolat
Feel like you’re part of the club with Hotel Chocolat’s interactive tasting subscription. Each month you’ll receive your choice of tasting box containing the latest chocolates from the development kitchen, as well as best-sellers from the stores. It arrives with detailed tasting notes on each flavour, allergy information and a score card so you can submit your feedback and actually have a say on what new flavours make it into the shops. With space to make your own notes, this is a subscription service for real chocolate aficionados – and you can choose between five different boxes, from the “classic” selection to a “rare and vintage” collection. You’re free to cancel at any time and with your first box you’ll receive a free gift. Ours was a bag of their salted caramel chocolate puddles worth £5.50.
2. Chococo Truly Fresh Chocolate Club: from £41.50 for 3 months, Chococo
Made from fresh Dorset cream, the Chococo selection will need to be kept in a cool place and eaten within two weeks. Not that they’ll last that long – this impressive selection of handmade chocolates were as delicious as they were beautiful. Featuring stunning gold toppings and naturally coloured flourishes, we loved the special alcoholic flavours created with the help of local distilleries. Think Salcombe Gin and pink grapefruit, or the award-winning Old Thumper made with beer and both milk and white chocolate. Choose from small (nine chocolates), medium (16 chocolates), or large (25 chocolates) over a three-, six- or 12-month period.
3. Cocoa Runners Chocolate Tasting Club Subscription: from £18.95 per month, Cocoa Runners
Sourcing a range of artisanal, craft chocolate bars from around the world, we’re pretty sure you won’t have tried these anywhere else. We sampled a really interesting dark chocolate from Original Beans, which is grown on cocoa islands called “chocolatales” in the Beni province of North-eastern Bolivia, as well as a 100 per cent cacao, unroasted chocolate made with Ecuadorian beans by Pacari. You’ll never receive the same bar twice, as Cocoa Runners source bars from single-estate, small-batch makers. This service is best for dark chocolate-lovers as there are currently fewer craft bars using milk or white chocolate being produced. You’ll get the full lowdown on the story behind the bar as well as comprehensive tasting notes. If you’re gifting there are three-, six- or 12-month subscriptions on offer.
4. Paul A Young The Chocolate Club: from £198 for 6 months, Paul A Young
Each month a beautifully presented box of handmade chocolates will be delivered to your door, containing 16 delicious flavours. As well as Paul’s signature sea salted caramel you’ll also be rewarded with inventive seasonal concoctions such as Pimm’s Cocktail, Bakewell Tart and El Dorado Rum, Coconut & Peppercorn – all tied up with that iconic purple bow. Be warned, as these chocs are so fresh, you only have seven days to eat them, but we don’t see that being a problem. Choose from either a one-off subscription fee of £198 for six months, or £370 for 12 months.
5. Green & Black's Yearly Bar Subscription: £75 per year, Green & Black’s
If you’re a fan of Green & Black’s organic chocolate, just imagine a whole year of deliveries from them. Each month you’ll receive two different 100g bars from its assortment of 19 flavours – our favourites were Milk with Sea Salt and Dark with Burnt Toffee. You can specify a preference for all dark or all milk if you’d like, or be surprised and just get a mixture. There aren’t any options for a shorter subscription, but it won’t automatically renew, so there’s no need to remember to cancel.
6. Melt Chocolatiers Selection Box: £19.99 per month, Melt
British, family-owned chocolate company Melt makes chocolates by hand in its London kitchens. Choose from a box of 10 fresh chocolates, a selection of bars, or alternate between the two of them. Flavours include an award-winning sea salted caramel bonbon, salted feuillantine square, praline cup, along with seasonal chocolates – all freshly made in small batches on a daily basis. The Melt Bar range has over 20 flavours so you’re sure to get something new with each delivery, which occurs on the 20th of each month. You can postpone certain months and cancel at any time.
7. BoroughBox Artisan Chocolate Subscription: from £39.99 for 3 months, Borough Box
Each of BoroughBox’s monthly deliveries features four different bars from different chocolate brands which are rotated regularly. The last box contained Love Cocoa (by James Cadbury), handmade Creighton's, ethical Seed & Bean and vegan RAWR Chocolate - all of which were superbly delicious. They all go into a nice thin box that fits through a letterbox. Choose from three-, six- or 12-month subscriptions, with the option to add a gift message at checkout.
8. Ooh! Chocolata Ooh! Club: from £19.50 for 3 months, Ooh! Chocolata
Here’s a good-value option with a straightforward approach from an independent chocolatier. Each month you’ll receive three individually wrapped 50g bars from its core range (we loved the Cornish sea salt with caramel fudge), as well as a “guest bar” in clear cellophane, which comes in a mystery flavour. It was good fun trying to work out exactly what that flavour was, but don’t worry, all is revealed online (along with allergy information). The package is wrapped to fit comfortably through your letterbox and delivery is included in the low price. Available in three-, six- or 12-month subscriptions.
9. Montezuma's The Real Chocolate Club Membership: From £19.99 a month, Montezuma's
We have long been fans of Sussex-based chocolatier Montezuma's. With lots of innovative flavours to try, a laudable ethical approach to production and packaging and delicious tasting chocolate, the subscription service is a real treat. You get 600g of assorted milk, dark and white chocolate each month in a flat package that fits through the letterbox, with the chance to sample new creations before they hit the shelves. Ours contained three different bars and two lots of truffles, including a preview of the intense new 100 per cent cocoa bar with orange and cocoa nibs – it went down well with the sub editors on a night shift – as well as a creamy white chocolate bar with a raspberry kick, a honeycomb crowd-pleaser and two lots of truffles. The chilli and lime ones were the talking point. This one gives you a lot of chocolate for the money and gets bonus points for not too much packaging. Each box is despatched around the 15th of the month.
10. CocoaCrave: From £15.95 a month, CocoaCrave
If you’re that person who likes to mix up your sweet treats, then CocoaCrave could be for you. The brainchild of a chocolate-mad couple, you get 24 chocs each month sourced from makers around the world, in six different flavours. Each choice of fresh, handmade chocolate – all with fun human names – comes in a little black box of four. The whole lot fits through the average letterbox and there are more than 100 flavours to choose from so you should get a different selection each month. Combinations weren’t as unusual as we were expecting but perhaps all the better for it; these are quality crowd-pleasers with some out-of-the-ordinary touches, like the milk chocolate prosecco truffles with popping candy or the zingy dark chocolate ginger ganache chocs that came in our selection. We loved the fact that we could fit one of the individual boxes in our bag to take as an office treat or as a luxury pressie for a friend we were meeting after work. Subscribers can select a delivery date with options for gift wrapping and a personal message.
The Verdict: Chocolate subscription boxes
Hotel Chocolat’s Tasting Club represents good value and is the most comprehensive, including tasting notes, a free gift and an interactive rating system. Chococo and Paul A Young are the best bets for ultra-luxurious, almost-too-pretty-to-eat boxes. Or if chocolate bars are more your thing, Cocoa Runners source the most interesting bars that you won’t find on the high street.