I have little time for so-called superfoods but I’m big on food that is super. Super-tasty, super-clever, super-irresistible. If it does your body a bit of good that’s great, but if it tastes nasty, it can naff right off. I’d rather have a ‘medicinal’ shot of hard liquor than a green juice which resembles primordial soup.
Where chocolate’s concerned, my stance softens slightly. I can’t claim to dislike the wares of Doisy & Dam – a brand whose bars each contain a whole Holland & Barrett’s-worth of hyper-healthy foodstuffs – but I maintain a healthy skepticism. So when Paul a. Young handed me his own trio of superfood-imbued products, I was somewhat reassured by his insistence that his chosen inclusions were picked for what they added to the eating experience, not the nutritional profile.
And, in the case of the Red Quinoa bar made from high-cocoa white Valrhona, Paul’s also gone for aesthetic appeal. The crisp, deep ruby grains lend a pleasant speckled effect to the otherwise-ivory chocolate. In the eating, it’s a very sweet treat: creamy and round with a steady melt and vanilla warmth. The quinoa adds crunch and also an earthy element, preventing the sweetness straying into sickly territory and demanding you chew, not merely let it melt.
The name of Paul’s ‘Seedy Soho’ bar is both cheeky reference to and celebration of the neighbourhood that’s home to its creator’s Wardour Street boutique – and it’s delicious. So says the common consensus of a tasting panel comprising milk-lovers, milk-haters, and everything in between. The chocolate in question is 50% Madagascan milk, which tastes like the most fulsome CDM you could imagine, and proves a very happy medium for a rich mix of added ingredients. I usually jeer at chia, but here those sometimes-slippery seeds remain quite crisp; making a multi-textured menage a trois with golden linseed and sunflower seeds.
Most strident of the three bars is Paul’s Toasted Buckwheat bar, made with Duffy’s Star of Dominican Republic 65% dark chocolate, those eponymous grains, and just enough Maldon salt to make things sparkle. The chocolate is powerful enough to stand up to buckwheat’s rather robust and somewhat savoury flavour, but sufficiently mellow to compliment, not clash.
You might think that the bits in these bars belong in smoothies, salad or sandwich breads. But, as Paul points out, even the puffed rice we Brits pour into our breakfast bowls as cereal is a seriously popular addition to many European chocolate bars. So think outside the box; if you’re after something new, novel and terrifically tasty, go against the grain and get stuck in.
- To find out where to buy Paul a. Young’s chocolate, click here
- To read more about Paul a. Young’s chocolate-making classes, click here
- To read more about why chocolate experts rate Duffy’s chocolate, click here
- To read more about Doisy & Dam’s superfood chocolate, click here
Image credits: Paul portrait by Tom Moggach; Quinoa bars Paul a. Young’s Twitter feed