If you’re purchasing a present for someone and you know that quality chocolate is right up their street, then stuff the selection box, retire the Roses, give the Milk Tray a miss… and put these gifts on your Christmas list. In search of yet more inspiration? Click here for yet more superb season’s eatings.
Paul a. Young
This Christmas, Mr. Young is taking inspiration from the old, giving the festive favourites that have fallen from favour a brand-new lease of life. Quite a few are booze-infused; including a chocolate based on that once-again trendy tipple, the Snowball. Paul’s Cherry & Kirsch Caramel will be a revelation to anyone who’s fallen foul of those foil-wrapped selection box specimens, and Tawny Port, Stilton & Water biscuit is perfect for the person who can’t pick between pud or a cheese course.
Stockings should be stuffed with Paul’s triple-C (Caramel Cranberry Crumble) bar, in which a chunky hunk of caramelised, cinnamon-spiked milk chocolate is generously-studded with dried cranberries and cookie crumbs; and perhaps a Plum Pudding Brownie or a spicy, floral Persian Christmas Blondie.
Before you get too excited, know that this is already sold out (unless you nab it as part of one of the Christmas selection boxes from Aberdeen-based bean-to-bar-ists Raven Chocolate). But I still wanted to showcase this nifty number just in case Santa should have some secretly stashed away. Resplendent in its fabulously festive wrapping, the 80% dark superstar bar combines Colombian cacao with 6-month-brandy-soaked Christmas cake. Roll on Christmas 2016…
In Truffle We Trust
They’re not yet selling online, but if you live in or near Manchester, In Truffle We Trust’s wares are within your reach. Chewy, gooey, boozy, and ever-so-slightly salty, the Salted Caramel & Rum bars are naughty but very nice indeed. Nicely-sized, these lovely logs are large enough to feel like a big treat but sufficiently small to convince oneself that the calories can’t possibly count.
If rum leaves the chocolate-lovers on your gift list numb, opt instead to present them with a pack of ITWT’s Christmas truffles. Each is brushed with a different shade of lustre dust, colour-coding festive flavours including mulled wine, chestnut, honey & thyme, rose & lemon, and orange & clove.
Fifth Dimension Chocolates
Forget destination dining and transport a lucky loved one to a far-flung location with Fifth Dimension’s city-inspired chocolates. This Christmas, there could be none more apt than the new kid on the 5D block – the limited edition Reykjavik. Inspired in Iceland where Russell and Albert were seduced by the spruce butter they sampled, munching one of these milk chocolate cuboids will plant you squarely in a forest of fir trees.
Bertil Åkesson’s outstanding Organic Madagascan chocolate inspired Monsieur de Gottal’s first festive effort, which contains a trio of utterly arresting creations.
Orangerie is a spiced up, frisky whisky number that’s less ‘laced’ and more ‘lashed’ with Compass Box’s Orangerie whisky, wrapped in Åkesson’s 75% Brazil dark chocolate and dusted in Kashmiri chilli. Somewhat simpler but every bit as luscious is Lait du Bali; a no-messing ganache made with nothing more than Åkesson’s 45% Bali Milk Chocolate. By contrast, orange-y Jul is a symphony of spice – cinnamon, clove and Malagasy pink pepper are all infused into Åkesson’s 75% Malagasy dark chocolate.
‘Nollaig Chridheil’ is as hard to say as its contents are easy to eat; the so-named box containing a nonet of cocoa-dusted chocs which showcase their maker’s mastery of the complex world of whisky. In this instance, it’s Glenfarclas 105 Single Malt Scotch Whisky, combined with fine festive spices in a Chocolat Madagascar 50% milk chocolate ganache.
This gift from the gifted Dorset chocolate company just keeps on giving; first in the form of its Venezuelan 43% milk chocolate cocoa pod capsule, then the contents it cradles – dark chocolate-covered Colombian cocoa nibs, solid single-origin mini cocoa pods from Madagascar and Venezuela, and gingerbread and sea salt caramel cocoa pods.
When it comes to Christmas, Aneesh Popat gets extremely excited – Buddy the Elf has nothing on this chap. As such a fan of all things festive, it was no surprise he’d choose to infuse his trademark water ganache with real mince pies. Beautifully fruity, the truffles feature currants, raisins, and candied orange and lemon peel, and powdered pastry provides a crunchy coating.
JK Fine Chocolate
Jamie Kemp is all about origins – and his Mini Rustic Truffles features a trio of his favourite cacaos. The earthy, somewhat smoky Costa Rica Luna’s crafted with La Iguana’s cocoa beans, grown on the organic family-run farm in the mountains where Jamie learned his trade. Although both Volana and Maraina are both made with Madagascan Samirano cacao, they’re rather different characters; the former brightly-tropical, the latter for the milk chocolate-mad, led by notes of cream and cacao.
With gooey caramel cores, a mid-layer of gooey ganache and a crisp chocolate shell, Jamie’s triple truffles offer multiple delights in a single mouthful. The gift box delivers a phwoarsome foursome of single-origin specimens; 70% Madagascar ganaches filled with either Raspberry or Rum & Raisin caramels, and 64% Costa Rican numbers containing caramels flavoured with Sea Salt or Jaggery Panela.
Any wise man (or woman) would do well to come bearing this gift. The beautiful box holds three of Rococo‘s perennially popular festive flavours, all based on rich 65% dark chocolate. There’s the sweet-tart Morello Cherry for when they’re feeling fruity; the raisin, armagnac and spice Christmas Pudding bar for after dinner nibbling, and gold leaf-brushed, orange-infused Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh for regal eagles.