There was a time when mint or orange-infused chocolate was considered the height of exoticism. But nowadays, chocolate creativity seemly knows no bounds. Your sweet treat might sing with the salty savour of bacon or pretzel pieces, perfectly capture the juicy refreshment of a fresh pear, or even offer a solid substitute to swigging a G&T when gin o’clock strikes.
But what strikes me above all is quality. I could write a novel on the novelties I’ve happily enjoyed as just that – all those chocolates that merely amuse the bouche for a few moments before being quickly written off as a mere fling. But my love for certain creative chocs blossoms with every single square, quickly flourishing into a full-on long-term love.
And Creighton’s chocolate meets the criteria. If the company sold bachelors and not bars, I’d happily shop there for a potential partner; safe in the knowledge its superior stock would comprise all killer, no filler. Just as it does with chocolate, in fact. Even the zany is kept sane by fine attention to detail and using only quality raw materials – the scarily accurate set of ‘grandad’s gnashers’ a case in point.
You know you can expect top taste from even the plainest Jane in Creighton’s range. But it’s the other end of the company’s spectrum where my interest lies; the end offering the esoteric, the eccentric, and the downright excellent. What you read is what you get – if it says it in the spiel, it’s evident in the taste. Salted chocolate is a flavour I really savour – and both choc-dipped giant pretzels and salt’n’nut mendiants boast a properly punchy salinity that makes me salivate.
It’s not just me who finds those Nutty Nibbles so mouthwatering. The judges at the 2012 Great Taste Awards were similarly won over by the deep, dark discs generously strewn with a mixture of well-roasted, nubbly caramelised almonds and pistachios and a fair few flakes of crunchy Maldon salt that really make the tongue tingle. Quite simply, you need a pack or two to hand – if only for those terrible times when you’re totally torn between a sweet of savoury snackerel.
I love a bit of liquorice – be it a bagful of allsorts of Bertie Bassett’s acquaintances, big chunks of buttery special toffee from Thornton’s, those waxed paper-wrapped toffees whose taste is matched by ‘nonsuch’ other recipe in Walker’s range, or the curious cubes of midnight-black fudge from Ikea’s pic’n’mix that make even a Sunday afternoon trip to the seventh circle of hell bearable. And don’t get me started on those satin-surfaced blackcurrant and liquorice candies…
And, now, there’s also Creighton‘s ‘Liquorice Whip‘ chocolate bar, which includes both the flavours found in my beloved boiled sweets – with the always-welcome addition of chocolate to the already-marvellous mix. It could not be wrong, and, accordingly, it tastes so right – the dark chocolate, blackcurrant, and liquorice blending quite brilliantly into a homogenous whole.
For fans of other pic’n’mix bits, ‘Fizzy Cola‘ features prickly popping candy and a cola flavour that tastes just like The Real Thing. If you prefer your beverage brewed, the milky, meek and mild ‘Caffe Latte‘, and the strong, dark and brooding ‘Freshly Ground‘ are a couple of concoctions that conjure up a cup of coffee. They may lack the knockout punch of Sahagun’s KA-POW! bar – a chocolate-like but choc-free American eccentricity that cleverly compounds ground coffee and cocoa butter, but they’ll give you a little lift.
Floral flavours are not everyone’s cup of tea, with a fair few fearing that they evoke ‘old lady’s knicker drawer’ over ‘top-drawer taste sensation’. That fear is unfounded in the case of Creighton’s, where dark chocolate is vamped up with violet oil, and the white ‘Eastern Delight‘ is redolent with rose and peppered with pistachios. As both the choc-crazy @The_Cocoa_Nut and the Indian food obsessive @TheSpiceScribe, the latter pairing particularly appeals; whichever alter ego I’m assuming as I eat.
In addition, I’m could be claimed that I’m also a bit of a ‘Peanut Nutter‘. If you’re similarly keen on nut-laced candy, you too will find it handy that Creighton’s offer a bar by that name – the slightly-salted, peanut-packed milk chocolate reminiscent of Reece’s cups. If you’re shameless, sandwich a couple of squares with strawberry jam for a PBJ without the bother of bread and the added bonus of chocolate. Trust me, the combo is naughty, nice and crazy-good… come to think of it, a bit like Creighton’s itself.