Damien Allsop is another Michelin standard Head Pastry Chef turned chocolatier, and he has taken an unusualk approach to many of his products, including the CH20colates Dom reviewed (and didn’t much care for).
It isn’t very often that someone comes up with a new way of making confectionery, but these ‘Clouds’ from Damian Allsop seem to use an unusual process to arrive at a whisper-light, almost meringue like centre which is then coated in chocolate.
As you can see, the box contains six of these little hemispheres which are flavoured with coffee and anise, itself a somewhat unusual pairing. They’re rather attractive to look at too.
I quite liked the white decorative detail, although some definitely had more than others (that’s hand finishing for you I suppose).
Crack one open and you can see the filling. Light and creamy in colour, the darker spots are (I think) where the coffee lies. The centre is made from a foam which is then freeze dried so it resembles the honeycomb filling of a Crunchie (but is infinitely lighter). These things are light – really light.,
When I met Damian he was giving out samples of his wares, and as a result I think he sold quite a lot of both these and his water ganaches. From the sound of things, these Clouds might well be the better choice, and while the chocolate content might not be terribly high, they certainly do deliver on flavour. Once you’re through to the centre and the light, crispy foam begins to melt the anise is there almost immediately. The filling dissolves quite rapidly and then something quite strange happens. Those little blobs of coffee join in and you suddenly find you have a mouth full of liquorice. That’s right, liquorice flavour. Not a very strong, overpowering liquorice, but that’s definitely the end taste.
It’s a bit of a surprise at first, and great for catching friends unawares and even though I haven’t eaten liquorice in a very, very long time (never liked the stuff) I did rather enjoy the light, subtle liquorice flavours of these Clouds.
I’m afraid to say that Damian Allsop’s website is still less than helpful in terms of product information, but he does have the online shop up and running, so if you fancy trying these for yourself it isn’t impossible. I’d say these were more after dinner treats or a novel (not novelty) gift rather than a daily chocolate treat to munch on, and if you have a penchant for the slightly strange then these will be right up your street. Personally, I thought they were fun, interesting and somewhat unusual but not really up there with some of the more exotic creations that pass through Chocablog country.