Feeding Your Imagination is one of what appear to several business ventures being run by one Paul da Costa-Greaves, a master Chef, restauranteur and chocolatier formerly based in Devon but now relocated to Bristol.
I came across him at the recent Speciality & Fine Food fair at Olympia and he very kindly sent me home with a small stack of his wares. It was only when I came home and happened to mention thisto Dom that he said
So I had a look at the various bars and their ingredients and decided I’d review the one I’d specifically asked for. The name decided it for me – after all, if you call a bar of chocolate ‘Lovely’ and it isn’t, you’re really asking for it, aren’t you? (I’m reminded of a band named ‘Fabulous’ and a certain Majestic hotel, neither of which actually were). The reason I’d singled this one out was because it contained an intriguing combination of peppermint and Cardamom – one of my favourite spices.
Paul’s bars are all organic (with the usual exception of the soy lecithin) and this bar was made from a 34% cocoa solids Swiss milk chocolate (although the website confusingly says 36%). Unlike some of the others it doesn’t carry the Fairtrade mark. Whether FYI will move towards all Fairtrade or not I can’t tell you, but I would guess that it would be something Paul would wish for.
It probably won’t be a huge shock to learn that the chocolate smells of mint. I would have been surprised had it not. What I was interested to discover was whether the cardamom had any chance of making a showing against such a dominating flavour.
Pop a square in your mouth and the chocolate melts, delivering soft, fresh mint flavours in among the creamy milk chocolate – and yes, the cardamom is there, smoothing out the mint and adding its unique fragrant notes to the mix. I wouldn’t have thought the two flavours would have worked so well together, but they do (as a Cardamom lover, I could have happily had a little more of it, but I’m guessing that any more would radically change the overall taste of this bar). The end result is a fresh, light mint flavoured bar with a soft, creamy texture, a soft mouthfeel and a clean, light finish (helped by the mint oil, of course).
I can only think that Paul has spent the past couple of years refining his recipes, because I have no hesitation in recommending this bar. It’s a jolly good example of how well mint and milk chocolate can go together.
This (and the other bars in the range) can be purchased online, or from an interesting variety of stockists (have a look at the list of London stockists and see what I mean about ‘interesting’) and after this first taste I’m very much looking forward to telling you more about FYI chocolates.