Sunday, October 11, 2009

Chocolate Unwrapped 2009

Some pictures from Chocolate Unwrapped 2009 - to inspire you to go while it's still got one day left! Unfortunately I uploaded the pictures I took, only to discover most of them didn't come out very well, if I hadn't been so distracted by all the delicious chocolate I might have noticed this when I was at the fair. Oops.

Details of the event (finishing today) are at Tickets are £12.50 online or £15 at the door.

That's the fabulous Paul A Young in the picture above, giving a talk (there's lots of talks going on today too). He's a born entertainer and you can see for yourself this Wednesday when he's on This Morning televison show!

Chocolate Unwrapped is like walking into heaven for any chocolate lover (even though, ironically, you descend into the sumptuous room below the Mayfair Hotel in Berkeley Street, W1). The sight of tables and tables burgeoning with some of the finest chocolate creations made by England's skilled chocolatiers... it filled me with indescribable happiness that has overflowed into this Sunday morning (probably also still feeling the buzzing effect of all the chocolate I consumed, which would explain why I'm awake (again) after less than 7 hours sleep!).

It's almost impossible to even sample just one chocolate each from all of the stands at the fair without going into chocolate overdose (even for me). So I stuck (mostly) to the chocolatiers that don't have London shops.

Some personal highlights...

Chococo's White Chocolate with Berries was positively scrumptious. Like strawberries and cream, sweet, creamy chocolate offset by the sharp tang of dehydrated fruit. Moreish, and I'm not even a white chocolate fan unless it's baked into cookies, muffins or cakes.

Lauden Chocolate Particularly their Rose & Lychee and their Passionfruit (superbly made, French-style chocolates).

Askinosie Chocolate

Auberge du Chocolat new range

The Ecuadorian chocolate from Askinosie has strong liquoricey notes, a very unique chocolate, deliciously complex in its flavour. This chocolatier, Shawn Askinosie (read his story, it's very sweet), from Springfield (Missouri, USA), also makes a white chocolate with goat's milk. The goat's milk made it a little too reminiscent of farmyard for me. I had a similar challenge with Auberge du Chocolat's goat's milk caramel although it was a really interesting chocolate and very well made. Especially impressive when I learnt it was created by the 18yo son of this family business. They've just won some Gold Great Taste Awards too, but I didn't get to try those ones on this occasion. I'm sorry, a terrible failure on my part.

Trish Deseine's chocolate cake (and she's giving away the recipe! AND you can buy the chocolate in bulk from her at the show!)

Paul Wayne-Gregory and his merry band (that's Stephen on the right) are delightfully entertaining and force-feeding people who come by their stand. Including another great passionfruit chocolate and a popping-rock praline.

Gorvett & Stone from Henley also do a popping candy chocolate, amongst other delicious truffles, my personal favourite still being the raspberry & black pepper (both in truffles and in bar format). It helps that they use fabulous quality couverture!

Another interesting find, a newcomer to the chocolate fair scene is DeAngelis. Made in Italy, but based in Hartfordshire and run by an Italian-Australian, this chocolate - like Askinosie - has only cacao beans and sugar but it hasn't been conched and refined to get the smooth chocolate that we know, it's crunchy with sugar crystals. Reminds me of the chocolate I bought in Guatemala last November (I really should post the pictures from that!). It was made with very good quality beans, though it is harder to identify this because the sugar doesn't merge into the cocoa in the same way.

Finally, Ooh La La Chocolaterie with her very pretty chocolates. Try the whisky with raisins or the blackcurrant (or any, really).

I'm tempted to return but I must stay home and finalise preparations for next Saturday's sold out Full Day Chocolate Tour! I hope you can make to Chocolate Unwrapped today, and tell them I sent you (it might get you an extra chocolate)!

Happy Chocolating!

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