The Milky Bar kid might well have been strong and tough, but is he truly felt only the best was good enough he really ought to have slung down his own sugary stuff, mounted his steed and galloped off not into the sunset but to the white chocolate showcase at London’s La Pâtisserie des Rêves (henceforth referred to as ‘LPDR’.)
White chocolate is, by its very nature, the edible equivalent of a blank canvas. It’s also a common children’s favourite – a fact that did not escape the attention of LPDR’s co-founders Thierry Teyssier and Philippe Conticini as they set about setting the world most wonderful master confectioners a challenge: coming up with a white choc creation that would call to mind childhood memories.
Philippe’s own bar sets the bar high. Inspired by his mother’s kitchen experiments, the Frenchman added sweet vanilla and citrussy verbena to a white chocolate whose texture comes from pieces of passionfruit-flaxseed pastry. And it works, the crunch and the initial citrussy, herbal rush yielding to a long, sweet, lingering creaminess.
As I nibble a small square of Willie Harcourt-Cooze’s offering, I’m told a mildly terrifying tale of a group of darstardly drug lords sabotaging one of the chocolate maker’s trips to South America. The flavour of the barvolento beans he’s used for his bar is as rich and powerful as a gang leader, and I note that the alabaster chocolate is not only as white as the type of ‘snow’ Columbia is so known for, but every bit as additive. Additive-free and utilising undeodorised cocoa butter, it’s more complex than simple white chocolate has any right to be: white chocolate to wow naysayers.
If caffeine is your drug of choice, you’ll adore Amaz’s pure origin Peruvian with plentiful pieces of crunchy coffee beans – the bar’s flavour far more robust than the typical ‘cafe au lait’ profile of similar white-chocolate-and-coffee combinations. Tea can also be taken in the form of my favourite in the range – Susuma Koyama’s hojicha tea and puffed rice white chocolate, which tastes much like imbibing a malty brew with a biccie.
If that descrpition appeals, it’s likely so will Vanderparre’s speculoos-laced bar, which makes much of Belgium’s best biscuits.Combining the caramelised cookies with white chocolate creates something secret Caramac-eaters might well take to with gusto.
The memories informing each creation may be delicious, but unless you share the recollection, your own enjoyment very much depends solely on personal preference. As a cinnamon cynic, I’m less enamoured with Oberweis’ so-flavoured white chocolate, although I do appreciate the authentic ‘cinnamon bun’ savour of the Luxembourg maker’s sweet creation. I love the crunch of the seeds in Galvan’s fig and almond offering, although the subtle flavours whisper a little too softly for me.
Much louder, and as clear as a bell, is the fresh mint flavour of a rather muddy-coloured bar from Italy’s Domori, which works wonderfully well with the white chocolate’s sugary sweetness (the herb similarly-successfully in saccharine Moroccan tea), the cool menthol cutting any cloying creaminess. Rózsavölgyi Csokoládé’s almost-neon green white chocolate is every bit as happily herbaceous – the Hungarian makers mixing in masses of aromatic ingredients, resulting in a treat whose gifts keep giving – opening with a riot of soft herbs – fresh and zesty; building to a bit of a concerto; and closing with the woody, deep savour of hard herbs.
Beschle’s bright bar is certainly Swiss in style; super-smooth with the easy melt and fat creaminess that Lindor-lovers lust after. Although apparently inspired by lassi, it lacks the sharp acidity I’d anticipate from the yogurt-based Indian beverage – and perhaps is all the better for it. Mellow and milky, it starts subtly with a soft lemon flavour that quickly transforms from merely lovely to lively, turning shockingly sherbert-like as the chocolate melts away. Cardamom keeps things clean and cool, its own citrus notes almost unnoticable yet enhancing and emphasising the overall impression.
But hey, that’s just my impression, and yours might be entirely different. If you’re tempted by any or indeed all ten, the white chocolate creations will by vended both by the bar and as a complete collection, the latter packaged in LDPR’s snazzy presentation box. The Milky Bar Kid might have had a a horse and a hat, but he never had that.
- La Pâtisserie des Rêves’ white chocolate bars cost £3.70 per piece or are available as a packaged set for £55.
- To read more about Rózsavölgyi Csokoláde’s Hungarian bean-to-bar chocolate, click here
- To read more about Domori’s Criollo chocolate, click here
- To read more about unusually-spiced chocolate bars, click here