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Dark Chocolate in UK: James Chocolate?


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First this is a general inquiry about high quality good tasting dark chocolate in UK for eating. We know about Green and Black's which is made in Italy.

Second, have you heard, or do you have web site for James Chocolate , Evercreech, Somerset, BA 4 6LQ. They have some wonderful tasting chocolates with rose, lavender, etc that someone gave us but they do not remember where they got it.

Edited by TGullet (log)
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First this is a general inquiry about high quality good tasting dark chocolate in UK for eating. We know about Green and Black's which is made in Italy.

Second, have you heard, or do you have web site for James Chocolate , Evercreech, Somerset, BA 4 6LQ. They have some wonderful tasting chocolates with rose, lavender, etc that someone gave us but they do not remember where they got it.

Came across some of their small bars last summer in a sweet shop in Dulwich, South London. Think I had the rose. Very nice; does what it says on the packet.

Unclear as to whether your general enquiry is chocolate made in UK or available in UK. As far as made in UK James and Roccoco are the only ones which spring readily to mind. Green and Blacks is a bit bleargh. The novelty bars (butterscotch, ginger etc.) are good for a laff, but I find the cherries in the cherry one too sour.

As far as available in UK the best ones have come across in London are Michel Cluizel, Pierre Marcolini and Bonnat, and I still have a soft spot for Lindt Excellence (the 70% not the 85% which is too dark)

ta

J

Edited by Jon Tseng (log)
More Cookbooks than Sense - my new Cookbook blog!
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Try www.montezumas.co.uk. They're a Sussex-based company with some shops dotted around the South East and I think one about to open in Spitalfields. But you can shop on-line.

Their chocolate is very good (at least on a par with Rococco if not better)and their dark 73% is especially good. They also do a variety of novelty flavours and shapes, as well as kilo bars (this may be a special order though).

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Check out Plaisir du Chocolat based in the Scottish Borders. The flavours are to die for each topped with a work of art! Each one has been inspired by a place that their creator Bertrand Espouy has visited.

http://www.plaisirduchocolat.com/products/couture

Danielle Ellis

Edinburgh Scotland

www.edinburghfoody.com

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Try www.montezumas.co.uk.  They're a Sussex-based company with some shops dotted around the South East and I think one about to open in Spitalfields.  But you can shop on-line.

The shop in Spitalfields has been open a few weeks now.

Sadly, I'm not enough of a chocolate fiend to be able to compare them to some of the chocolate shops around Picadilly. Maybe there's a challenge there... :wink:

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I've been thinking it's about time I did a chocolate tour of London, and this thread gives me some fodder for it. Thank you!

(I did a day of visiting Toronto chocolate shops about a year ago. Great day out, didn't need to eat any more chocolate again for at least another week or so...)

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First this is a general inquiry about high quality good tasting dark chocolate in UK for eating. We know about Green and Black's which is made in Italy.

Second, have you heard, or do you have web site for James Chocolate , Evercreech, Somerset, BA 4 6LQ. They have some wonderful tasting chocolates with rose, lavender, etc that someone gave us but they do not remember where they got it.

Selfridge's in London has a wonderful chocolate department. I bought a small box of Valhrona goodies for Valentine's Day, and it was delicious. I noticed there are several fine chocolate concessions in the store, not to mention Green & Black's and others. I think my favorite, though, has to be Maison du Chocolat - it brings back memories of not only Paris but also NYC.

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London Chocolate Week used to be a fantastic opportunity to explore, try and buy what is on offer. I’d be very happy to be proved wrong but I don’t think it has run in the last couple of years.

My own conclusion was that L'Artisan Du Chocolat, tucked away off Sloane Square, are the best of the best. I’m sure you’d find something impressively satisfying amongst their plantation bars.

Personally I don’t think any of the other chocolatiers in London get close to the quality of their couture collection. Unlike most other producers they do not recycle mis-shapes (they sell them at Borough market, and very nice they are too) which allows them to be much more bold in their flavouring.

(Must stop thinking about salted caramels and get back to work...)

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It's financially prohibitive for most chocolate makers to source the 'base' chocolate (couverture) directly, so nearly every quality chocolate maker-retailer you find will use either Valrhona or Caillbaut (I'm sure I'm spelling the latter wrong) which are the main suppliers of high quality coverture.*

Rococo, l'Artisan and (perhaps, it's under debate) Marcolini source some of their couverture directly; La Maison du Chocolat may also. Wiliiam Curley, whom I think does the best chocolate based pastries in London, uses Valrhona. He and l'Artisan do the best chocolates, and Rococo does great 'novelty' chocolates (dfferent shapes/colours and flavoured bars)

*This is in no way meant to denigrate anyone - merely to explain that nearly everyone starts with the same raw materials and it's what they do with them - what they add in terms of flavourings, and how fresh these fillings/flavourings are - that distinguishes them from each other.

Rule of thumb in buying a bar is that there should be very few ingredients on the label - the fewer the better in fact; cocoa solids; milk; bit of sugar (very little bit) and that's about it. No vegetable oil, stabilisers, etc.etc.

I don't remember where Michel Cluizel gets his chocolate but it is good too.

Less expensive but still decent brands including G&B (owned by Cadbury's so I would be surprised if it's made in Italy, but it's possible - I will find out) will use cheaper source material, possibly even bought from a middle party.

I've sampled chocolate from MELT in Notting Hill, a new place that uses Valrhona, and it's very promising.

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Montezuma's certainly seem to make their own. And its lovely.

Debatable if they are talking make their own by take someones couverture, melt it down and fabricate, or actually making their own chocolate from scratch, which I doubt.

Very few places make chocolate from scratch ie roasting and grinding the nibs, conching the chocolate etc - Bernachon in Lyon is the only artisanal outfit I can think of from the top of my head who do. Maybe more people are doing it nowadays... the trend towards single cru/bean/varietal etc chocolates might tend to point in this direction.

I'm not sure, are there intermediate stages between either buying in someone elses couverture or buying a sack of beans and doing it from scratch? Do people buy in cocoa liquor or powder? I guess maggie might know, given her voluminous connections into London's chocolate scene...

Incidentally dropped into the Mountezumas place in Spitalfields over the weekend. Quite interesting how they're pitching it - not the uber high-end snotty type of shop (Marcolini's chocolate is lovely but sorry the shop in ken church st just leaves me completely cold). Bars and branding are irreverent and fun - sort like Itsu crossed with willie wonka. I am still slightly confused whether they are pitching at the real top-end market though or trying to be more mass-market (and, dare I say it, populist?).

Tried out the two classics test pieces - plain truffle (nice... not outstandingly melting but decent) and the 73% bar (smooth, nice snap, more bitter than some bars i can think of). next time will make sure I go for some of the specialty bars. strawberry and paprika sounds like it will either be sensational or a complete disaster...

ta

J

Edited by Jon Tseng (log)
More Cookbooks than Sense - my new Cookbook blog!
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  • 2 weeks later...

Popped back into Mountezumas on Sunday and picked up a bar of Strawberry and Paprika milk chocolate. To be honest tastes exactly like a normal bar of milk chocolate to me... no noticeable strawberry or paprika bits. Am wondernig if I got a mis-packaged bar - the ingredients lists freeze-dried strawberry bits and paprika but no sign.

???

also have a chocolate and chilli which will report on anon.

J

More Cookbooks than Sense - my new Cookbook blog!
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First this is a general inquiry about high quality good tasting dark chocolate in UK for eating. We know about Green and Black's which is made in Italy.

If you're cooking or eating for me it has to be Valrhona, Valrhona, Valrhona. They have an incredible range for catering - Tropilla is reduced fat, Caraibe for smooth, Guanaja for sharp kick, Araguani for severe chocoholics... Callebaut is rounder and deeper flavour and good for certain applications. Try their 70% in chocolate chip cookies!

“My advice to you is not to inquire why or whither, but just enjoy your ice cream while it's on your plate - that's my philosophy”

- Thornton Wilder

Shameless link to Kieranm's blog...

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  • 2 weeks later...
Popped back into Mountezumas on Sunday and picked up a bar of Strawberry and Paprika milk chocolate.  To be honest tastes exactly like a normal bar of milk chocolate to me... no noticeable strawberry or paprika bits.  Am wondernig if I got a mis-packaged bar - the ingredients lists freeze-dried strawberry bits and paprika but no sign.

???

also have a chocolate and chilli which will report on anon.

J

All the Montezuma's bars I've tried have struck me as rather underpowered in flavour. The chilli is perhaps the exception , but its still a bit one dimensional.

That said, I'm not a great chocolate eater, though the stuff they sell in the Algerian coffee shop on Old Compton St , (blue and white packaging , with pictures of tea cups or teapots or something along those lines) is pretty good , especially the geranium one and the cardamom one.

gethin

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