The results of 2015’s Great Taste Awards are out – and, as ever, they see a ‘galaxy’ of stars lavished upon chocolate companies producing far finer treats than the brand I not-so-subtly slipped in there. So, without further ado, I’d like to shine a spotlight on some of the old favourites I’m over the moon to discover have been newly-garlanded.
Rococo Kalamansi Caramel
A repeat offender when it comes to earning industry accolades, Rococo’s frequently-award-winning, cocoa-pod-shaped Kalamansi Caramel features a 60% dark chocolate shell encasing a filling with perfect flow factor and a buttery, bruleed sugar flavour made all the more mouth-watering by the bright citrus notes.
JK Fine Chocolates Salty Hazelnut Caramel
Okay, so Jamie Kemp also won a star for his Popping Salted Caramel, but I’m no fan of popping candy, so will comment instead on the properly-salty, roasted hazelnut paste-enriched, quite delicious thick caramel that captured its creator a pair of gold stars. If you can bear to make it even lovelier, warm before eating.
Fifth Dimension Chocolates ‘Genoa’ truffle
Fifth Dimension usually does unusual flavours well, but it was with the lemon-and-basil ‘Genoa’ that the company triumphed. Super-shiny and as bright in flavour as in colour, it’s an intriguing eat that’s not too weird to stop it feeling like a treat. If you’re in London, check out 5D’s chocolates at Kitchen Table Projects.
Selfridges Selection Salted Caramels
Harnessing the substantial talents of Marc Demarquette for these chocolates is testament to the fact that Selfridges knows how to pick the right producers for its signature ‘house’ range. The Anglesea Sea Salt & Tahitian Vanilla Caramel and Hebridean Honey & Sea Salted Caramel are surprisingly diverse but equally delicious.
Sweet Virtues Baobab & Vanilla Superfood truffles
If you’re yet to buy into the notion that good chocolate does you good, allow Sweet Virtues to change your mind. This brand is all about balance, and a happy, holistic approach to health. The winning truffles pair the mango-ish tang of baobab with the rounded mellowness of vanilla – they may taste devilish but are absolutely angelic.
Pump Street Bakery Bread Bars
PSB kinda cleaned up at the GTAs with stars for many of their single-origin offerings, but by far my favourite bars are those which incorporate the company’s baked goods in the chocolate – the Sourdough & Sea Salt 66% that’s become a modern classic, and the newer, buttered-toast-tasting Ecuador Rye, Crumb, Milk & Sea Salt 60%.
Akesson’s Trinitario 75% with Wild Voatsiperifery Pepper
When your estate is home to both cracking cocoa and rare and exquisite spices, it’d be sheer folly not to combine the two. Amongst Akesson’s many winning chocolates, the triple-starred 75% Trinitario bar is beautifully bold, boosted by the Wild Voatsiperifery Pepper that imparts an exotic, heady fragrance and flavour.
Hotel Chocolat Supermilk
Dark milks have become The In Thing, and that’s no bad thing – especially because the trend ultimately fosters a demand for better quality choc across the board. Hotel Chocolat serves as a accessible portal to the fine chocolate world – and the brand’s 65% Supermilk is a super way to wean oneself off Dairy Milk.
Doisy & Dam Ginger, Chilli Flakes & Hemp Seed chocolate
D&D’s Organic 74% Ginger, Chilli Flakes & Hemp Seed chocolate is hot stuff – and not just because it won a Great Taste Award. Amply studded with dried chilli seeds and further warmed with ginger, the flavour is fabulously fiery. Textural interest comes in the form of hemp seeds; lending robust crunch and nutty depth to the bar.
Organic Seed & Bean Co. Espresso and Sea Salted Lime bars
If you have a petit penchant for caffeine and hard liquor, you’ll go gaga for Organic Seed & Bean Co.’s Fine Dark Espresso and Cornish Sea Salt & Lime Milk chocolate bars. The coffee underscores the rich, smooth chocolate in the former, whilst the latter brings margaritas to mind.
Original Beans Grand Cru Blend No 1
All of Original Beans’ chococlates reveal unique and distinct profiles, but the 80% anniversary blend Grand Cru’s coffee and wild berry notes are very very nice. Made with rare cacaos coming from South America and Africa, each bar bought means a tree is planted in the Virunga National Park.
- To read about JK Fine Chocolates, click here
- To read about, Hotel Chocolat’s Supermilk, click here
- To read about Doisy & Dam, click here
- To read about Organic Seed & Bean Co., click here
- For the full list of 2015 Great Taste Award-winning products, click here