From truffles to brownies: 25 East Anglian Treats to tempt you during Chocolate Week 2017
- Credit: Archant
October 9-15 is National Chocolate Week, so to celebrate the occasion here's a look at 25 chocolate delights our region has to offer.
• Special delivery
How about having chocolate delivered to your door? Pump Street Bakery, in Orford, offers a subscription for its handmade chocolate, which is made from beans imported directly from family farms and cooperatives around the world. Entitled 'A Rare Batch', subscribers receive a curated collection of four new bars every other month, along with tasting notes to unwrap the story behind each bar. Two bars in each batch will be exclusive releases to A Rare Batch subscribers.
•The world's most expensive chocolate shoe
Limited to 50, there are only 15 Saffire Slippers still up for grabs. Modelled on Christian Louboutin designer shoes, they are made entirely from chocolate. But before you get too excited about your next shoe purchase, you might want to know the price tag: they start at £599 - about the same as buying the real thing! 'Each shoe is handmade by moulding and sculpturing rich Belgian chocolate before being finished and mounted in its own display case to help protect it – a process which takes 40 hours,' explains Gary Funnell, manager at Saffire Chocolates in Taverham, Norwich. 'Glitter finishes are not for human consumption, but if you really want to eat your shoes then there are a variety of other delicious finishes that certainly are! If you can't bring yourself to tuck in, then the shoes will last forever as long as you follow certain rules.'
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Salted caramel has become massively popular in recent years, and it's a key part of B Chocolates' signature treat - Honey Sea Salt Caramels. 'We make and cut all the caramels by hand and use a small enrobing machine to help with covering each caramel with a delicious 70pc single origin French chocolate,' says owner Anna McCreadie. 'The honey is sourced from Suffolk beekeepers and each caramel is decorated by hand with Suffolk sea salt before being packed in a beautiful box of 15 caramels, which have a shelf life of three months - though we hear from customers that once opened, the whole box disappears quickly.' You can buy the Honey Sea Salt Caramels at Snape Maltings Farmers' Market on the first Saturday of most months.
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• Ice cream dream
Booja Booja's Hunky Punky Chocolate Ice Cream is a smooth, rich and deeply truffley ice cream made with just four ingredients. It's organic, dairy-free, gluten-free, soya-free and made without refined sugar, but when it comes to taste it gives the most luxurious dairy ice creams a run for their money. Made near Poringland in Norfolk, Hunky Punky Chocolate picked up an award (its sixth) in the Chocolate Ice Cream category at The Great Taste Awards this year. The awards are often referred to as the Oscars of the food world and celebrate the very best gourmet delights in the UK, proving that Hunky Punky is far from being just a 'free-from' treat.
• Fun with the kids
Become a chocolatier in your very own home! Suffolk-based Petite & Sweet's chocolate lolly-making kits contain everything you need to make four delicious, Belgian chocolate lollies. The templates are simple to follow, just like painting-by-numbers but piping, and the piping bags are easy to use and the chocolate is melted in the bags, meaning there is limited mess. Ingredients for each lolly are packaged separately so that they can be made individually, so the fun can be spread over multiple days. There are four themed kits available: garden bugs, farm animals, sea creatures, and festive friends.
• Dessert classic – in a bar!
Gnaw Chocolate's ingenious take on the classic British dessert banoffee pie, bringing together banana and toffee in a delicious milk chocolate bar. This banana-caramel-creamy pie scrumminess hand-crafted in 'Gnawfolk' (Norwich) is one of their most popular products – and it's easy to taste why!
• A chocolate revolution
Tosier doesn't make chocolates, they go one better – they make chocolate! Launched in Ipsiwch at the beginning of this month, the goal is to create great quality, small-batch chocolate, controlling every step of production from bean-to-bar. Made in their chocolate kitchen, where they hand-sort, roast, crack, winnow, grind, refine, hand-temper and pack in micro batches.Using the highest quality, sustainably-sourced directly-traded cocoa beans, Tosier is part of a transparent supply chain as provenance and traceability are essential. It's better for the farmer, for them, and for you. Chocolate is evolving, be part of the revolution.
The people at The Ely Gin Company specialise in flavoured gins, but normally focus on infusing fresh fruit into their products. Imagine our delight then to discover that they also offer a Dark Chocolate Gin! Rich and dry on its own, this gin is intended for cocktail lovers and it mixes well with any of the usual chocolate companions. Try with orange juice after a heavy meal, pour over vanilla ice-cream for a dessert that will impress any guest, or add a shot to your coffee as a great winter-warmer.
• Cracking combination
Deepmills Chocolate has been hand-crafting chocolate bars in Ipswich since 2011, using the finest sustainable Belgian chocolate. One of its most popular products is the Dutch Salted Liquorice Belgian Chocolate Bar, which unites 54.5pc cocoa Dutch salted liquorice pastels with aniseed organic oils to give an amazing experience. 'Whether you're a liquorice lover or not, the sweet, salt and liquorice flavours is a combination to love,' says chocolatier Michelle Garnham.
• Dunk, stir, enjoy…
Three simple steps to the perfect hot chocolate with one of Cocoa Delicious' hot chocolate stirrers.East Harling-based Cocoa Delicious was founded in 2013 by Laura Cotton. With a love for all things hot chocolate, Laura developed a hot chocolate stirrer brand with a twist; a product which not only tasted delicious, but looked the part too. A combination of exquisite flavour and beautiful designs, which would be an elegant and sophisticated talking point at a dinner party, or equally well enjoyed curled up in front of a roaring fire under your favourite blanket.
• Hot stuff
It's no secret that chocolate and chilli is a fantastic combination, and Yum Yum Tree Fudge has beautifully transposed this ancient combination in its Ecuadorian Chilli Chocolate Fudge. At first allow yourself to enjoy the rich dark chocolate with 82pc cacao and then, once you have melted through the cocoa butter, the particles of medium strength chilli will be felt on the tongue. The Thurston-based business also makes a White Hot Chilli Chocolate, which is made with a fine Belgian white chocolate and double the amount of chilli.
• The most important meal of the day
Who says you can't eat chocolate for breakfast? Crush Foods makes a Chocolate & Roasted Hazelnut Granola. Hand-baked in Salle in the heart of Norfolk, it is packed full of chunks of dark chocolate and roasted hazelnut. British gluten-free oats are lightly coated in Crush's own cold pressed rapeseed oil, mixed with honey and nuts before being slowly baked. It's perfect for a luxurious breakfast or great as a snack on the go.
Have you ever wondered how the contestants on Bake Off or Masterchef create their chocolate creations? Well it's down to physics and the art of tempering and, with the right tools, some expert tuition and a stash of chocolate, anyone can have a go and get fantastic results. Step in chocolatier Sarah Knights from Chappel Chocolate House. As well as making delicious hand-made Belgian chocolates from her base in Chappel, Essex, Sarah offers children's and adult chocolate parties, workshops, school workshops, demonstrations and team building events in the Essex and Suffolk areas at a location of your choice.
• Gluten-free and gorgeous
A gluten-free diet certainly doesn't have to be bland. Everything on the menu at Café Jungle, which has venues in Beccles and Norwich, is totally gluten-free - from afternoon tea to pies and deep-filled sandwiches. One of its best sellers is its chocolate brownies, which are made daily in the cafes, and you can enjoy your treat surrounded by beautiful leafy plantlife, as both cafes are housed within Urban Jungle - a plant nursery dedicated to the unusual and exotic.
• Chocolatey twist on afternoon tea
For a truly out-of-the-ordinary experience indulge in a luxurious chocolate afternoon tea at Park Farm Hotel in Hethersett, near Norwich. Expect all the traditional trimmings with a chocolatey twist. Enjoy a selection of sandwiches and chocolate treats, sausage roll, and chocolate scone with hazelnut spread. All served with a choice of teas.
• Autumn delights
Eye-based Cocoa Mama is celebrating the arrival of autumn with a couple of seasonal favourites – Toffee Apple Caramel and Ginger Crunch, both handmade on the premises by chocolatier Helen Fraser. Evoking the spirit of crackling bonfires and the colourful cascade of falling autumn leaves, the delicious Toffee Apple Caramel is enriched with pure apple essence that helps fill a single-estate Dominican Republic white chocolate shell. The flavourful warmth of the Ginger Crunch is thanks to Australian crystalised ginger and pure ginger essence, hand-dipped in dark Belgian chocolate.
• Just the drop
Lovingly crafted by Broadland Wineries in Cawston, north of Norwich, Chocolate Drop is perfect for all those who adore chocolate. This imaginative blend of red British wine with luxurious dark chocolate flavours is just the drop for somebody who likes their drinks a little sweeter and a touch less serious. With aromas of dark chocolate and black cherry, this cheeky little number is delicious by itself, with any kind of chocolate, or with hearty red meat-based dishes such as a beef casserole. This wine is currently available at Sainsbury's.
• Have your cake and eat it
Two Magpies Bakery's mini raspberry chocolate fudge cake is a real favourite with customers. It is made with Callebaut Belgian chocolate – a mix of 100pc cocoa powder and dark chocolate callets. 'We split the cake and create three layers filled with raspberry compote and dark chocolate ganache,' explains Rebecca Bishop, director of Two Magpies Bakery, based in Southwold. 'The cake is then covered with more dark chocolate ganache, chocolate mirror glaze and decorated with fresh berries.'
• Top truffle
When it comes to truffles, Norfolk Truffle Company's white apricot and Amaretto truffle is hard to beat. This white chocolate truffle with apricots soaked in Amaretto and brandy, is coated in dark chocolate. Hand-made in Brooke, south of Norwich, it's not hard to see why this tasty truffle was winner of a 2016 Great Taste Award.This and a selection of Norfolk Truffle Company's truffles are available from Digbys Fine Chocolates, in Norwich.
• Tasting history
The Museum of Hot Chocolate in Sudbury is run by the family behind Marimba, and charts the history of hot cocoa from the early civilisations of central America, through the Spanish conquistadors to more than 400 years of chocolate beverages in Great Britain.The timeline is laid out in graphics, and there are exhibits of cocoa packaging and advertising materials, some of which are more than 150 years old. The fascinating facts reveal how chocolate has been used as a currency, a medicine and as a carrier for poison. But don't let that put you off, as afterwards you can try a cup of Marimba's own Hot Chocolate Melts in the café, including an opulent variety known as the Marimba Max, complete with curls of ice cream. The museum is free to enter and is open Monday to Saturday, 10am-4pm at 6 Borehamgate, Sudbury.
• Macaron master
Tim Kinnaird of Masterchef fame knows a thing or two about making delicious macarons, and as chocolate is the raison d'etre of this mouth-watering list, the passion fruit and chocolate macaron is an obvious choice – it's one of Norwich-based Macarons & More's most popular. The macaron is filled with a chocolate and passion fruit ganache using Belgian milk chocolate and passion fruit purée. The shells are coloured with an extract of marigold flowers. 'Passion fruit is often paired with dark chocolate,' says Tim. 'We prefer the softer and mellower milk flavour of the creamy milk chocolate.'
• Hot chocolate heaven
Winning a coveted three gold stars in this year's Great Taste Awards for its Mocca Hot Chocolate, Hadley's certainly do serve one of the best hot chocolates money can buy. Using single origin chocolate from Pump Street Bakery in Orford, milk from Fen Farm Dairy and Suffolk Farmhouse Cheeses, it is simply a chocoholics dream. Served in Hadley's parlour in Lavenham, customers can choose the origin of chocolate from Jamaican, Ecuador, Madagascar or Grenada.
• Skull style
With Halloween just round the corner these chocolate skulls are sure to be a spooky showstopper. Made by The Chocolate Deli in Wells, these solid life-size skulls have gone down a storm at celebrity award shows and have also been used as cake toppers for alternative weddings. They are handmade to order using origin chocolate and weigh a whopping 2.5kg!
• In a whirl
Hadleigh Maid has been crafting chocolate for nearly 40 years in the heart of the Suffolk countryside. When it comes to chocolate classics, you can't beat a walnut whirl. The most popular has to be the milk chocolate walnut and mallow whirl. The signature milk chocolate encases a special recipe soft, airy vanilla mallow, all topped off with a crunchy walnut. But if you want something a bit different there's also coffee or orange truffle walnut whirls and a limited edition Christmas spiced truffle. A classic combination that will leave you licking your lips at the very thought of enjoing one
• Good enough to drink
Prosecco can be a treat for any time of day with this Pink Prosecco Cupcake Chocolate from Carousel Chocolates in Aylsham. Classic Prosecco flavouring is encased in a white chocolate cupcake topped with pink chocolate and finished with a white sugar flower.These cute cupcake chocolates are hand-made made in Scotland and Carousel Chocolates owner Sarah Norman-Miller was so taken with them that she keeps a range of 16 different flavours in the shop, some of which change with the seasons. 'The Pink Prosecco Cupcake is new to our range and we're hoping it will do well in the lead up to Christmas,' says Sarah.