Clerkenwell Chocolate are a name I know from having been involved in the organisation of this year’s Academy of Chocolate Awards. They did rather well, picking up five awards in total, including a sliver for these truffles.
Despite my involvement in the awards, I don’t think I’ve actually had a chance to try Clerkenwell’s chocolates before. My time there was mainly spent entering numbers into spreadsheets and I hardly got to try any chocolate, so I’ve very much been looking forward to getting my hands on these.
As you can see, the presentation is very simple, dare I say plain. It does the job of containing the chocolates inside and nothing more. But sometimes that’s all you need.
The chocolates inside are also quite simple. Dark, not too shiny, with a small fleck of gold leaf on each one.
Open one up and you’ll find a thin shell with plenty of smooth, dark ganche inside.
The ganache is made from Valrhona Manjari, one of my personal favourite chocolates. Manjari is a 64% cocoa solids chocolate made with a blend of beans from Madagascar, renowned for their sweet, fruity, citrus flavours. According to the label, the shells are also Valrhona dark chocolate, but they don’t seem to be Manjari.
Manjari is a popular choice with high end chocolatiers, as it goes so well with many other flavours. Paul A. Young, for instance, uses it in his Marmite truffles and bars amongst other things.
But it’s also great on its own, and these truffles are the perfect example of how good a simple plain dark truffle can be when it’s made by someone who knows what they’re doing – and Clerkenwell clearly know what they’re doing, as this chocolate as delicious!
The thin shell is sweet but doesn’t have any distinct flavour notes of its own. I assume that’s a deliberate decision so as not to obliterate the flavour of the ganache. And the moment you bite into the shell, that smooth, fruity, creamy ganache comes to the front. And it’s really very good indeed. The cream takes the edge off the Madagascan citrus notes, but a touch of fleur de sel seems to lift the deeper chocolatey notes just a little.
My only real problem with these chocolates is that I was only sent a box of four. I guess I’ll just have to buy some more – along with the rest of Clerkenwell’s range. They don’t seem to be available to buy online yet, but if you’re in London you’ll find them at Kaffeine, 66 Great Titchfield Street, from late September. Go check them out.