Spice is nice in all things. Much like much-maligned salt, there are few foodstuffs that don’t benefit from its judicious addition. Strewing spice of some sort into any lacklustre culinary creation is a bit like flinging a fistful of glitter at a boring, bland background; turning it technicolour and bringing it, sparklingly, to life.
And if the initial edible is excellent in its own right, introducing a spicy partner to the proceedings can elevate it even further, taking it to tongue-tingling territory. As is the case with these chocolates…
Laying a saffron-spiced ganache atop a pistachio marzipan and double-wrapping the duo in 40% milk chocolate demonstrates why saffron and pistachios are such a popular pairing in both Indian and Middle Eastern cuisines.
Smoky, incense-like, elegant black cardamom is a revelation when paired with a dose of its fresh, citrussy green sibling and the intense South American chocolate in this bar.
Don’t let preconceptions of Brooklyn hipsters put you off this intriguing creation from the American artisans. Just nab a bar of the 71%, smoky-sweet vanilla treat from the new London store and shut the hell up.
As LMFAO (almost) once sung in Party Rock Anthem, ‘Errrryday I’m Trofflin’. With Cardamom & coriander, Saffron & nutmeg and Turkish coffee & clove ganache chocs in this range, I’d happily dip in on a daily basis.
Introducing inky, salty-savoury black olives and the fruity, gin-like zing of pink pepper to rich, just-sweet-enough 70% chocolate demonstrates Aneesh Popat to be a man of exemplary taste.
If you’re planning to pick a pepper to pair with chocolate made with the cocoa grown on your own estate, it stands to reason you should select the spice that shares the same soil. Vibrant, vivacious, v good.
Paprika in chocolate is none too common; but on the tables of Hungary the spice is an omnipresent seasoning just like salt and pepper. It’s beautiful in this bar from bean-to-bar-istas Rózsavölgyi.
For a liquorice-lover like me, anything aniseed is guaranteed to please. Particularly when it’s in white chocolate ganache that’s nestled against a nougat layer, fulsome of flavour from brown sugar.
A tippity-top trio indeed: Dark chocolate spiked with breath-freshening fennel; a nutmeg-laced sweet milk chocolate bar that tastes like fresh custard tarts; and a rich, dark bar peppered with sprightly red peppercorns.
Frankicense’s flavour is all incense-y, ancient, and mythical – and works wonderfully in Chocolarder’s ‘Three Kings’ bar. Here, it’s in a white ganache, twinned with a sharp, fruity red wine-and-redcurrant counter-layer.
Creamy, rich white chocolate and cool, citrussy cardamom both beguiles and bewitches. It might sound strange, but with its menthol notes, green cardamom is as good a match with chocolate as mint.
Adding chocolate to a Mexican mole is nothing new, but this bar flips the idea on its head; conching and refining Columbian cocoa beans with just enough mole mixture to add flavour and fire.
You might have chewed candied fennel seeds as a post-prandial palate-freshener at a curryhouse, eaten alongside the chocolate that commonly accompanies the bill. Think that combo, but oh so much better.
Quite simply, super-food for The Spice Scribe/Cocoa Nut. A posh-Caramac-kinda coating conceals a coconut nougat layer and a gorgeous ganache that’s generously gingered, chilli-ed and cardamom-ed.
I love all sorts of liquorice confections, but these are a bit better than Bertie Bassett’s. The Belgian chocolate balls feature a double liquorice hit; a gourmet nugget at their heart, and a tangy powdered coating.
It’s inspired by ayurveda so it’s surely good for you. Well, at the very least, it’s vegan – soy milk chocolate is used for both the coating and the richly-spiced date ganache that sits on sesame nougat.
The lightly-medicinal, earthy-savoury saffron notes are superb with the rich, buttery-nutty sweetness of toasted hazelnuts; and the two terrific in tandem, paired with deep, dark chocolate.
- To read more about The Chocolatier, Aneesh Popat, click here
- To read more about The East India Company’s chocolate products, click here
- To read more about innovative Zotter chocolate, click here
- To read more about Rózsavölgyi Csokoládé‘s Great Taste Award-winning bean-to-bar chocolate, click here
- To read a review of Chantal Coady’s ‘Rococo: Mastering the Art of Chocolate’, click here