Chocolate, spice, and all things nice. Who could resist? Who would want to resist?
Well, not the 60+ attendees of the #GBSCC2015 launch, that’s for sure. The crowd comprised the great and the good of both the media and the chocolate worlds, united in a love for all things cocoa and delighted by the prospect of an event which would combine it with spice.
#GBSCC2015 builds on a similar challenge which debuted last year and shared the same acronym. The key difference? This time, the ‘S’ stands for ‘Spiced’, not ‘Salted’ – and the possibilities are even-more endless. Throwing the competition open to professionals, amateurs and everyone in between ensures plenty of dynamic creativity that’s certain to provide the innovation-hungry judging panel with plenty of food for thought come the finals in October.
Intrigued? For the full lowdown on #GBSCC2015, read on…
The aim is simple – to make the most sensational spiced chocolate of all. Anyone can enter – that’s the beauty of #GBSCC. The competition sees top chocolatiers pitted against absolute amateurs, and all bets are off. With over one hundred individuals entering, each with three hundred Seasoned Pioneers spices at their disposal, the judging process is set to be long, arduous, and exceptionally delicious.
After preliminary judging by experts including master chocolatier Paul a Young, The Telegraph’s Andrew Baker, House & Garden’s Joanna Simon, and legendary food writer Glynn Christian, the final will be one of the highlights of The Chocolate Show in London this October.
Of course, everyone’s in it for their art, but the prize is not to be sniffed at. As an island noted for both spice and chocolate, it’s only apt that Grenada is the destination where the winner will spend seven days enjoying the island’s annual International Chocolate Festival as a VIP. Back in Britain, their top choc will be available in one of London’s finest food halls in time for Christmas.
The charitable chocolate
It’s highly likely that Paul a Young is made of sugar’n’spice’n’all things nice. In fact, if he were made of chocolate he’d probably be the bar he’s created as #GBSCC2015’s official treat. Incorporating Billingtons brown sugar alongside a blend of chilli, cardamom and pepper, £2 from the sale of each of the £4.50 65% Dominican Republic chocolate bars will go directly to The Trussell Trust – the challenge’s charity for the second year running, and operators of the National Food Bank Service.
The ones to watch
Disclaimer: These chocolatey chaps and chapesses are simply my tips for the top, not official entrants, but you’d do well to keep your eye on them regardless.
Now apprenticed to Paul a Young, young Zara took last year’s Great British Salted Chocolate Challenge by storm with her Tequila Shot and Winter Spiced Merlot Salt chocolates, and looks set to do the same but even better at the newly spiced-up contest.
Aneesh Popat is no stranger to spice. He often works with Indian ingredients, butboundary-breaking flavours don’t stop with the subcontinent. The Chocolatier also has a penchant for popping candy – last year’s Popping Pretzel Nut slab took silver at GBSCC.
To read more about Aneesh’s chocolates, click here
Matthieu de Gottal
Matthieu may be a GBSCC virgin, but with a keen palate and an experimental, ever-curious nature that’s yielded chocolate creations like ‘Salty Fennel’ and the marvellous, Kashmiri chilli-spiked ‘Indochine‘, he’s a contender to be reckoned with.
To read more about Matthieu’s chocolates, click here.
Fifth Dimension Chocolate
Mustard, Gujarati lemon pickle, and parsnip & lime are just a few of the offbeat truffles 5D’s Russell Pullan has pulled off with aplomb; earning his company a fair few Great Taste Awards in the process. Expect something slightly weird and very wonderful.
To read more about Fifth Dimension’s chocolates, click here
Most of Pablo Spaull’s efforts go into creating arresting bean-to-bar chocolate with carefully-sourced Peruvian cocoa, but his friendship with Matthieu de Gottal and frequent choc swaps with fellow makers hint at an experimental side project – could it be GBSCC?
Paul Wayne Gregory
Jocular Paul Wayne Gregory’s long since subtly spiced his wares – notably, the lifelike, entirely edible airbrushed mango sculpture he passes off as an Easter egg, and a smoky Bonfire Caramel chocolate which bagged its creator third place in 2014’s GBSCC.
Don’t be fooled by Iain Burnett’s gentle demeanour – The Highland Chocolatier‘s flavours are big and bold. Although his winning 2014 Salted Raspberry & Peppers Velvet truffle would be as apt this year, he may well deliver something even more exciting.
La Fleur de Chocolat
Founder Jacqueline Keenan has a keen interest in local and seasonal flavours, but the Herefordshire chocolatier doesn’t shy away from spice. Containing a brilliantly-balanced blend of six spices, La Fleur de Chocolat’s chai tea truffle is a case in point.
To read more about La Fleur de Chocolat, click here
JK Oliver Chocolates
Young chocolatier Jamie Kemp’s ‘The Cocoa Journey’ truffle is tribute to La Iguana, a family farm in Costa Rica where he learnt his craft and from where he continues to source the cocoa for this creation. Could a South American-spiced version fit GBSCC?
To read more about Jamie’s chocolates, click here
If Josef Zotter was a member of a nineties girl band, he’d be Strange Spice (a less lazy reference to his eccentric genius than ‘Willy Wonka-esque’). With three hundred different spices to hand, there is simply no predicting what he might mastermind.
Winchester Cocoa Company
Heavily and heartily championed by chocolate expert Cat Black, WCC’s creations are both ethical and delectable. Current small-batch items include a chai chocolate with locally-made masala, and a 2015 AoC Award-winning ginger muscovado caramel.
To read more from Cat on Winchester Cocoa Company, click here
Chococo’s ever-changing roster of chocolates are often somewhat spiced, from cinnamon-infused ‘Chilli Tickle’ through to the boozy ‘Brilliant Black Cow’ which combines the almost-eponymous local vodka with black pepper and lime.
- To keep up to date with all things #GBSCC2015, follow @GBSCC2015 on Twitter and Instagram, and ‘Like’ GBSCC on Facebook
- For more information on the Challenge including how to enter, click here
- To discover more great spiced chocolates, click here
- To read about the best Indian-inspired chocolates in the UK and the world, click here and here
- To get the recipe for my Bombay Mix-including Bombay Bad Boy chocolate cheesecake, click here
Image credits: Grenada beach – Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0), Judges – @fanofgrenada, Sugar & Spice Bar – Jennifer Earle