The Speciality Chocolate Fair is part of the Speciality & Fine Food Fair that’s currently underway at London’s Olympia. The fair is a trade show and not open to the public, but they do allow bloggers in, so I thought I’d bring you some of my personal highlights.
One of the first stands I visited was Zotter’s. Neatly organised with every flavour on the wall, it really brings home the size and strangeness of the Zotter range.
Both the lovely Amelia Rope and Sun & Stephen from Lauden Chocolate insisted on feeding us an endless stream of samples. They both have interesting takes on flavour, at different ends of the spectrum. Many of Amelia’s bars have very subtle and delicate flavours, but Lauden’s eye catching filled chocolates are tangy, zingy and literally bursting with flavour. Unsurprisingly, both did well at this year’s Academy of Chocolate Awards.
Someone else who did well at the Awards was Duffy Sheerdown, who won the Golden Bean Award for the best bean-to-bar chocolate. He was there, displaying his award and a couple of new flavoured bars; A 43% Ecuador Milk Chocolate with Oak Smoked Salt & Nibs (amazing!) and a 72% Ecuadorian Dark Chocolate with Nibs & Ground Coffee (crunchy!).
The country’s only other bean-to-bar chocolate maker, Willie Harcourt-Cooze was also there, and was also showing his first flavoured bars. A ginger & lime, fruit & nut and an orange, all in eye-catching packaging. Not on sale yet, but you should be able to buy them soon. Willie was also handing out tasty hot chocolates, and talking at length about his passion. He’s the kind of person you could talk to all day, if only there wasn’t more chocolate to see.
Launching at the show, The Grown Up Chocolate Company are producing a range of bars that look a bit like like upmarket versions of something you might find on your newsagent’s shelf, but taste fantastic. Also making their debut were Manor Chocolates, the new wholesale brand of Demarquette.
We also had lovely chats with Rafaella Baruzzo, who had some amazing new creations including a ‘curry’ almond and popcorn chocolate, and a fantastic looking chocolate Christmas tree. We saw everything from Prestat’s insanely brightly coloured range of products to Baravelli’s simple, elegant range and everything in between.
Overall, a great show, with lots of exciting new chocolates to look forward to this winter! It’s certainly worth paying a visit if you do get the chance, and there’s so much more to see than just chocolate. If you’re into that kind of thing.