Just when you thought all the festivities were finished… The sun was shining all around me; people playing and having fun. It was the season for ice cream and sunbathing; and it was merry Christmas at Paul A Young.
On the 5th day of August, Paul A Young gave to me his finest festive treats. Kicking off with a cup of chocolate mulled wine that I liked just fine, I was hit with a blizzard of the chocolate wizard’s latest and greatest creations.
Now I’m not likening Paul to the Little Drummer Boy, but I bet he sang a round of ‘ba rum pah pum pum’ when he added a merry-making dash of Appleton’s finest to his salted caramel sauce. It would undoubtedly be an unusual sauce for the goose, but I’d urge you to take a gander when it hits shop shelves.
Fruit’n’nut is always a firm festive favourite, and Paul has taken all the guilt out of that particular pleasure by re-rendering it using chocolate that’s rather more respectable than the cheap classic. Fruit and nut nuts will be tempted by a triumphant triumvirate comprising a bar, a truffle, and a big old brownie.
Oh, the brownie. Santa can sod off; I’m not leaving this by the fireplace on Christmas Eve. These substantial squares are worth their weight in gold, and each weighs almost as much as an ingot of the sparkly stuff.
Speaking of sparkle, there’s a bit’o’glitter on the gold-leafed, chunky dark chocolate and orange bar (which obviously is not Terry’s, it’s mine). Pearlescent powder makes solid chocolate stars shine brighter and adds burnished brilliance to a bauble. More decadent decorations come in the form of Paul’s ‘Advent calendar’ – 24 wooden houses each housing a trademark truffle.
Persia peppers Paul’s Christmas collection, with a pair of products inspired by Persiana author Sabrina Ghayour’s musings with Michael Lowe, head chocolatier at Paul’s Soho boutique. Persian Spice is not a girlband member trying her hand at a new career in food – it’s a spicy, sweet’n’sour, barberry-bejewelled white chocolate truffle.
The pistachio, rose and cardamom Persian Christmas bar raises the bar for flavoured white chocolate; the pale jade shade the same hue as your envious friends eyes as you enjoy it in front of them, not caring to share.
Sharing, caring Paul has heeded Christmas cries of ‘pass the Port’, and his Churchills’s white Port and Wensleydale caramel is a more than passable attempt to incorporate the ingredient in a truffle. A bleedin’ brilliant one, actually. From a 12–strong selection of fine flavours including the most exceptional, all-American Sweet potato pie, this boozy choc with cheese pleases.
With the greediest appetite and the very best will in the world, the disagreeable fact remains that there are only so many truffles one can try in a single sitting; even if their creator is proffering them forth as he merrily regales you with tales of his Christmas creations.
But receiving stocking (okay, a swag bag) stuffed with a delectable selection to try at one’s leisure reduces the displeasure considerably. The considerate chocolatier understands the need to savour flavours with due diligence, and I fully intend to honour the approach.
So I plan to spend a few days pontificating, and will bring you a truffle-by-truffle , no-doubt delicious, in-depth dissection of Paul’s Christmas collection next week. Good things, you see, come to those who wait….
- In the mood for more sneaky peeks at festive chocolate?
- To read about Christmas chocolate from La Maison du Chocolat, Lidl, Montezuma’s, & more, click here
- To read about Christmas chocolate from Lakeland, Hotel Chocolat, Bord Bia & more, click here
- To read about Christmas chocolate from Valrhona, Sous Chef and Carluccio’s & more, click here
- To read about Christmas chocolate from Selfridges, Harvey Nichols, Marc Demarquette, click here
Portrait by Tom Moggach