Boutique Aromatique is an exciting new chocolate shop, opened last month in Nottinghamshire by chocolatier and patissier Shelly Preston. Based at the Welbeck Farm Shop, Boutique Aromatique specialises using aromatic flowers & fruits to flavour their chocolates.
Although they’re brand new – so new that their website isn’t even finished yet – Shelly was kind enough to take time out to send us some samples. And as you can see, first impressions are pretty good…
This is some of the nicest packaging I’ve seen for a long time. It’s just a simple, card box covered in thick paper with a bow, but it’s perfectly executed. It’s stylish and intriguing without being over the top.
Clearly a lot of work has gone into making the design look effortlessly simple, but it got my attention and I couldn’t wait to see what was inside.
My box was stuffed full of loose chocolates, and while I’m always grateful to receive more chocolate, that did mean that they had been battered a little in the post. Not much, but enough for me to notice. The box just isn’t quite big enough to squeeze six chocolates into neat layers.
That said, it didn’t really make any difference as I excitedly tipped them all out onto the table anyway…
Shelly uses Amedei and Valrhona couverture in her chocolates, and I believe these are made with Amedei’s Toscano 70% and Valrhona’s 64% Manjari. Both pretty high in flavour, and great choices when it comes to producing flavoursome, aromatic chocolates.
I had four different chocolates to try:
Moroccan Mint & Sweet Basil
A sweet, silky ganache with a natural mint flavour that initially reminded me of Demarquette’s Moroccan Mint Tea ganache. As the initial burst of mint flavour recedes, the basil comes to the front, but it’s really the mint that dominates and lingers here. Delicious, but not subtle!
Strawberry Citrus Basil & Pink Peppercorn
I initially wondered whether this was going to be a little too many flavours for one little chocolate to handle. It turns out that this is one of the more subtle strawberry chocolates I’ve had, and it works incredibly well. The flavour is fresh and tastes of real strawberries, with just the slightest hint of pepper at the end. Very nice.
Bitter Almond, Coffee & Cardamom
One of the more interesting coffee chocolates I’ve had lately, and another very enjoyable chocolate. The coffee is thankfully quite subtle, and the almond and cardamom give the ganache a sweetness.
Blackcurrant & Hibiscus Flower
A sweet, smooth blackcurrant ganache that tastes almost like a jam when you first bite into it, before quickly receding as the chocolate flavours come to the front. I didn’t pick up on the hibiscus much, but that’s not a flavour I’m familiar with. But the simple, fruity simplicity make it one of my favourites of the bunch.
I’ll confess I was a little sceptical about the idea of making chocolates around such strongly aromatic flowers, herbs & spices – I like to be able to taste the chocolate rather than being slapped in the face with too many other flavours. It turns out I needn’t have worried though. There may be a lot going on here, and it’s those natural, wild flavours and aromas that are definitely the stars of the show, but they work with the chocolate, rather than against it. I’m looking forward to see what they come up with next!
These chocolates are definitely worth seeking out. Boutique Aromatique website isn’t ready to take online orders just yet, but if you want to buy some and can’t make it to Nottinghamshire, you can give them a call on 01909 511 218 (UK) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.