Recently many many food and parenting bloggers were contacted asking if they wanted to review and run a giveaway for some handmade chocolates from chocolatier Genevie. Many said yes and accordingly reviews and giveaways have popped up all over the internet.
We were told some background…
Chocolate making started off initially as a hobby
little Luke likes to taste the chocolate!
So i’m not sure where my chocolate venture will end up but so long as people keep requesting chocolate – i’ll keep making it!
My chocolates arrived and I thought that they were so so, OK, but nothing that special, possibly them being posted in the exceedingly hot weather we had just had, had not helped. I was slightly surprised at just how good some of the reviews were on other blogs.
I then had an e-mail from another blogger questioning if Genevie was actually making these chocolates as some of her responses to questions did not add up. The lack of detailed information regarding the products and inability for Genevie to provide a picture of herself making the chocolates, along with the fact that when pressed she said she used “callabaut” chocolate (sic) were things the other blogger found disconcerting.
I did a little investigation.
- The site is very very new, and is registered to a Liz Marks on the 16th June. Both are explainable, although some of the initial e-mails for bloggers sent from the email@example.com was send from a Liz Marks in the from field which is strange.
- Genevie’s site has professional product shots, but the image of her is an iStock photo, why not use a real photo?
- The chocolates were too perfect to be made on a small scale at home. I sent some photos out to people who know more about chocolate than I do and they too were skeptical they were made by hand on a small scale and not in a specialist facility.
- The well known speciality chocolate blogs were not approached to review.
- Lack of contact detail on the site beyond an e-mail address
- No best before date or list of ingredients listed on the box. I was under the impression that allergens such as milk and nuts need to be listed by law.
It does not actually say on the site that Genevie is making the chocolates herself, but have a read of this cached page from the 17th August. If not specified, it is certainly implied in the statement “Welcome to my chocolate gift shop where I hope you’ll find the perfect gift made with love by chocolatier Genevie”
The site has now been updated and indeed it says that the chocolates are handmade in Belgium and are presumably repackaged in the UK.
I suppose the moral of the story is blogger beware, and read and question carefully when offered any samples, and do not put doubts and reservations aside in return for free products.
A response from Genevie is here.