Okay, before we go any further, can I ask a favour. Just read that title again please. Now think about it for a minute.
Those of you who regularly read my bits here on Chocablog may have correctly guessed that when I read the label at the Speciality & Fine Food Fair, I was immediately somewhat more than curious, but there were only three bars left on the stand and when Duffy Sheardown tells you he only has three bars left, he’s not saying “I only have three bars here, but there’s another box back at the hotel.” he means there are just three bars left, so I was particularly pleased when, after a brief consultation with his wife, I was handed this bar.
Such is our love for Duffy’s chocolate here at Chocablog that we’re a bit competitive when it comes to Duffy’s wares, and when I mentioned to Dom that I had been given this, his immediate reaction was to call me a rude name. That’s how much we love Duffy’s work.
So what about the chocolate? Well, from my immediate point of view, oak smoked salt sounded wonderful, and with the promise of a few top quality cacao nibs to chew on as the milk chocolate melted away, I was sold. Duffy’s explanation of the salting process “I just sprinkle salt over the bars, it’s completely random” and the fact it was smoked salt had me on the verge of a Homer Simpson moment right there.
So, what can you expect from this latest creation (assuming you can get hold of one)? A rich, milky chocolate with a creamy softness, spiked with little peaks from the smoked salt, which softens off some of the saltiness but also adds its own intriguing, almost savoury flavours into the mix. As the chocolate melts away and the final tang of the salt disappears, you’re left with the crunchy, nutty cacao nibs to finish. That nutty, slightly earthy flavour and light, acidic finish were a perfect end to a real taste adventure, and provided that final ‘grown up’ element that lift this chocolate further towards greatness. Yep, I love it. It has to be one of the best milk chocolates i have ever tasted, and it is in no small way due to Duffy’s inspired choice of ‘extras’.
One thing you can definitely say about Red Star Chocolate is that it will always surprise and delight. I don’t know how he does it, but Duffy has been getting his hands on small batches of amazing cacao beans almost since day one, and when you consider that day one wasn’t all that long ago, he’s doing pretty well at this chocolate making lark. He’s turning into something of a rare cacao wizard, and I can only hope for more from Red Star Chocolate in the near future.
You may be able to find this bar at Paul a Young’s shops at some point. It isn’t currently on the Red Star site, but believe me, it’s worth finding.