1. Chocolate Chelsea

    Cha cha cha! A couple of choco-rific events led Great British Chefs guest blogger  Chris Osburn to the upscale streets of Chelsea recently. Both happenings focused on what’s great about British chocolate these days and confirmed that London (and maybe even Kent) just might be the most exciting place in the world of chocolate at the moment. Don’t believe him? Well, keep reading. He promises you he’s not completely nuts!

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    Photography & blog post by Chris Osburn 

    British nuts for chocolate

    I might not be completely nuts, but I am utterly adamant that you should try Demarquette Fine Chocolates' new cobnut pebbles. What's a cobnut? An English hazelnut essentially – just a little more robust and (dare I say it?) nuttier than you might be accustomed. So, it’s not a substitute but a different thing all together, and a lot of people (including me) would say the cobnut is much more flavoursome too. 

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    And a pebble? It’s just a little chocolate covered bite-sized morsel with a cobnut or whatever inside. And don’t, if you find you still prefer hazelnuts to cobnuts, Demarquette still has hazelnut pebbles for sale as well.

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    Demarquette (located on the Fulham Road and just a couple minutes amble from Great British Chefs's own Tom's Kitchen), sources its cobnuts from HurstwoodFarms, an award winning cobnut supplier in Kent. Along with the pebbles, Demarquette does a right tasty Kentish cobnut chocolate diamond praline created especially for the Diamond Jubilee.  Visit this link for more photos of my visit to Demarquette Fine Chocolates.

    Like water with chocolate (and nothing else)

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    Up the Kentish road from Hurstwood, British chocolatier Damian Allsop does his “cH2Ocolate” magic in Tunbridge Wells. His claim to fame: removing the cream and butter and instead using spring water to “unlock the true flavour” of chocolate. These days, it’s not too terribly uncommon to come across water-based ganache or whatnot for chocolaty treats. But Damian did it first (and arguably still does it best). 

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    As lovely as Kent can be, you don’t have to trek out their to try his vegan and non-lacto chocolates. He has recently launched a collection of “Eat London” chocolate bars. The bars celebrate London’s rich and diverse cultural mix and have been created to suggest the possible flavour profiles of some of its most iconic settings. For example, if Brixton Hill or Edgware Road were chocolate bars, what might it taste like? Damian has a few yummy ideas. The Eat London collection is available via damianallsop.com as well as at Liberty, Tavalo, Mount Street Deli and other quality shops.

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    The Eat London bars can also be found at the Wyndham Grand London Chelsea Harbour hotel. This makes a lot of sense as Damian and the Wyndham have recently teamed up to offer some chocolate experiences for the hotel’s guests, including an afternoon tea based around his Eat London collection and a chocolate masterclass.  There’s more photos from my visit to Damian Allsop’s workshop here.

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    Further exploring the concept of London as chocolate, the Eat London afternoon tea is particularly worthy of mention. The tea will be served in the hotel’s glass-fronted lounge overlooking Chelsea Harbour and will include a South Kensington Petit Pot au Chocolat, a Brick Lane Mango Lassie Chocolate, lemongrass brownies and more. Don’t hate me too much, but I got to sample the Eat London tea. It’s awesome and features some kicking pistachio ice cream, which in true Allsop fashion contains no actual cream.

    Priced at £28 per person, the Wyndham’s Eat London afternoon tea will be available only this June. Yep, more Diamond Jubilee-ing. 

    Photography & blog post by Chris Osburn

    What are your favourite non big brand chocolates?  Do you have a favourite place where you buy chocolate for special occasions.  Let us know over on Great British Chefs Facebook page.

Notes

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