Holly Caulfield is an artist based in Brighton, and apparently she was so moved by watching the movie Chocolat that she decided to become a chocolatier. A little over eighteen months ago Chocoholly was born and Holly began selling her handmade organic chocolate bars and shapes. Being an artist, Holly designs all of her own packaging as well, so she’s completely involved in every aspect of her products.
Chocoholly seems to be doing rather well – John Lewis in Oxford Street and Bluewater (huge shopping centre in Kent) have been stocking the range for a couple of months, and quite a few stores in the Brighton & Hove area are also carrying Holly’s products. Her website seems to be more blog than shop, indeed, I couldn’t find pricing information for this bar, so I’m afraid we’ll have to guess that it’s not the cheapest of chocolate.
My last encounter with a chocolate bar which contained coconut was very positive (Camaya, as I recall) so the combination of chilli (as Holly puts it, not a mouth burner) and toasted coconut had me keen to try this 72% bar.
I did rather like the choice of colour for the foil, I might add. I wonder if Holly’s customers are primarily female, or whether she just chose this rather lovely pink as a continuation of the colour scheme for the packaging?
Anyway, to the chocolate itself. First taste put me very much in mind of the Grenada chocolate bar I reviewed last year. It smells great – rich, dark cocoa notes with woody undertones. It has an excellent, smooth mouthfeel, great texture and lots of flavour. The added ingredients don’t make themselves known immediately, so I was able to enjoy the rich dark chocolate before pieces of coconut were released to join the chocolate. It’s classic dark chocolate – rich, soft, and smooth as can be. The chilli is indeed subtle. It’s there but only as a companion to the chocolate. It never takes over and never gets scary. The coconut pieces are crisp and retain their flavour even when the chilli is in full flight on the tongue. It’s an unusual pairing but it does work, and I thoroughly enjoyed the chocolate. If you have your doubts bout chilli and chocolate this could well sway you.
Based on this first encounter I’m very much looking forward to my next Chocoholly bar, which will be a milk chocolate confection (she was kind enough to send a few things).
Now, if you’re in London this Friday (18th September) I have reason to believe that Holly will be at John Lewis’ Food Hall in Oxford Street between 12:30 and 4:30, giving away samples of her entire range. I’d recommend you get down here and try some of this for yourselves. Of course, we’d be very grateful if you told Holly you read about her here, and do say hello (I’m afraid I can’t make it myself).