Whether you’re as old as Charlie Bucket’s nonagenarian Grandpa Joe or as young as one of Roald Dahl’s child protagonists, it’s likely that this inimitable author will have had a long and lasting impact on you. The man of many words – many of them delightfully nonsensical and entirely original – loved food as much as writing, even penning Memories with Food at Gipsy House with his wife Felicity.
Incredible edibles literally littered Dahl’s literature, not only peppering his prose but, where works like Charlie & the Chocolate Factory and George’s Marvellous Medicine were concerned, even providing the entire foundation for a ripping yarn. And, although he wasn’t one to sugar-coat life’s realities, he had a serious sweet tooth – devoting an entire chapter of The Roald Dahl Cookbook to the topic of chocolate.
Accordingly, one imagines he’d adore Rococo Chocolates’ bijoux boutiques, what with their hand-painted (not-quite enormous) choc-odiles, roasted, enrobed almonds masquerading as olives, and whizzpoppingly weird and wonderful truffles. Indeed, Dahl was an early influence on Rococo’s founder Chantal Coady, whose father returned from New York bearing a copy of Charlie & the Chocolate Factory back in the 1960s.
With 2016 heralding the author’s centenary, it seems only right that Rococo has announced a tasty tribute: an octet of ‘Strange & Scrumptious’ chocolate bars inspired by Dahl’s literary legacy. To try all eight will sate your appetite for fine chocolate, but beware: it’ll also fuel a fierce hunger to revisit the stories they celebrate.
That tale might be The Witches, which Rococo has cunningly represented through a duo of ‘Perfectly Normal’ chocolate bars – 65% dark and milk house blends which, it’s claimed, contain not a drop of the tasteless ‘Formula 86 mouse-maker potion’ – the stuff Dahl devotees will know for its ability to transform all who ingest it into rodents.
According to the eponymous novel, George’s Marvellous Medicine was a potion purported to possess a rather more assertive flavour than The Witches’ brew, although it’s doubtful it was as delicious as Rococo’s mildly-medicinal liquorice-and-fennel white chocolate ode – a bar whose spices are known to promote healthy digestion.
Dahl’s notorious greedyguts Bruce Bogtrotter could perhaps have done with a square; although he’d likely have scoffed the lot like he did with the fudge cake in Matilda. And similarly, a single square of the Bogtrotter bar – 65% dark chocolate blended with caramel milk chocolate, fudge pieces and a hint of apricot – will never suffice.
Prefer peaches? No problem, for that fruit of course features in Rococo’s James and the Giant Peach-inspired bar – used to infuse white chocolate whose crunch comes from chia seeds. Just don’t let your wicked aunts (or perfectly pleasant uncles, or indeed any other family members) get their hands on it…
If lapsang souching is your cup of tea, you’d be a idiot not to try Mr. Twit’s Beardy Breakfast. Combining 40% milk chocolate with that brew plus banana, yoghurt, and honey, Rococo has honoured Dahl’s dimwitted Twits in an altogether intelligent manner.
As intelligent, perhaps, as the wiley and Fantastic Mr. Fox. That sly character’s not been left out of proceedings – Rococo’s Bean’s Cider bar blends tart apple with milk chocolate. Frobsottle & Snozzcumber is similarly fruity; and the boldly-hued pink-and-green white chocolate flavoured with strawberry, raspberry, cucumber and mint would surely delight the The BFG who inspired its creation.
Surprisingly – more so given Chantal Coady’s connection to the tale – the range does not contain a bar devoted to Charlie & The Chocolate Factory. But then, a company as creative as Rococo is already staffed by factual incarnations of the book’s fictional chocolatier, Willy Wonka – and their output would surely delight Dahl.
- The Strange & Scrumptious bars are available from Rococo boutiques, priced £5.50 for 70g
- For more information and details on locations, click here
- For a review of Chantal Coady’s Mastering the Art of Chocolate’ book. click here
- For more on the Road Dahl centenary celebrations, click here