Monday, 23 February 2015
Personalised chocolate bars from Chocolat Chocolat
Independent chocolatier Chocolat Chocolat was opened in Cambridge in 1999, and though I visited Cambridge that year for the conference Russia before Millennium, to which my husband was invited, I missed the chocolate shop. More's the pity! I would have loved a good browsing and tasting session.
It was voted Cambridge's favourite chocolate shop, and seeing the images online, I can well believe it. The shop is famous for its handmade sheet chocolate, which is produced with the finest Belgian chocolate according to the French traditions of chocolate-making.
Chocolatier Isabelle has learnt her craft in Paris and Belgium, which she often visits, looking for more exciting flavours and ingredients.
As someone who is addicted to chocolate, I rejoiced at the chance of testing and reviewing three personalised chocolate bars from Chocolat Chocolat.
How does it work? To create your own bar, first you need to choose a chocolate type from 5 options: dark (70%), dark (55%), milk (34%), caramel (34%) or white (28%).
Then you choose toppings. If you are not sure what to pick from a big list of ingredients, you press the button "Show me" and get a few suggested combinations. Or you could create your own ingredients' combination from a big selection of fruit (candied lemon or orange peel, raisins, freeze dried raspberries and more), nuts (flaked or whole almonds, praline, pecans, pistachios etc), spices herbs, flowers (cinnamon, cardamom, cocoa nibs, coffee grains, lavender, fennel etc), confectionery (chocolate buttons, honeycomb, fudge, meringue etc), decoration (gold and silver flakes).
You can also add some wording if you like.
I was amazed to read that with the whole range of toppings and bases you can create up to 200,000 different combinations. That is very impressive. Cannot complain about the choice.
Placing an order is an easy process.
My first choice was a white chocolate bar with sea salt, chopped pistachio and whole hazelnuts. Over a year ago we bought some Italian chocolate bar from Venchi, with whole hazelnuts, pistachios and almonds, and though usually I am not very keen on white chocolate, it was delicious. My husband prefers white chocolate, and my little man loves it too. So, my choice was inspired by the Italian flavours.
What did we think of it? It looked very pretty and stylish. The chocolate is a solid thick block, covered with nuts. Sea salt adds a savoury touch to the sweet chocolate. Each bar comes in a stylish brown card sleeve.
I would have liked more than four hazelnuts and slightly less sweet chocolate. But overall, I was pleased with my choice of toppings to go with the base.
If you read my blog regularly, you know how much I love Earl Grey tea. It was natural that I would choose Earl Grey as one of the ingredients for the dark chocolate bar (though I confess, I expected it to be a flavour rather than the actual tea leaves). Candied orange peel and lavender flowers were the other two toppings. Both of these ingredients work well with the dark chocolate. And it looked gorgeous too.
A beautiful bar, which I enjoyed, but yet again, I would have liked a less sweet dark chocolate base. I like my dark chocolate almost bitter. All three bars which I have ordered were a tad too sweet for me.
It is a matter of personal taste, of course, but maybe something to add to the initial choice of bars? Something like choose the sweetness level.
My top favourite bar was dark chocolate with rose and violet petals and gold flakes. It looked glorious, like a 19C shawl. Flower petals were candied and added a splash of colour to the dark background.
As my birthday is coming later this month, I asked for a Happy birthday message on the bar.
I love the idea of customised personalised chocolate, where you can choose any toppings you like.
Personalised chocolate bars from Chocolat Chocolat will make beautiful gifts for any occasion - birthday, Mother's day, Easter.
Disclosure: I received three chocolate bars for the purposes of testing and reviewing. All opinions are mine.