Simon and I each took home a small selection of samples from our recent trip to see Paul A. Young. My haul consisted of three small bars and a small box of truffles.
The bars are similar in size to a Hotel Chocolat ‘mini slab’ format, but helpfully are divided into 4 chunks along the back, so can easily be snapped, shared and sampled.
My chosen bars were:
White Chocolate With Sesame and Sea Salt
I know how many people don’t regard white chocolate as ‘proper’ chocolate, but I’m quite partial to it occasionally, and this little bar was one of the nicest white chocolates I’ve had. The flavours were subtle and the sesame seeds added an interesting texture to the bar. It’s not too sweet and the flavour of the sea salt comes through at the end – along with the nutty flavour from the small pile of sesame seeds left in your mouth. Very nice.
Milk Chocolate With Stem Ginger
I’m a big fan of ginger and chocolate, and this was a great example of how to do it right. One side of this creamy milk chocolate was studded with crystalised ginger in a similar way to the Cocoa Tree ginger bar I reviewed last year – although thankfully not quite as packed-in. The milk chocolate has wonderful subtle flavours as it melts until you’re left with just the ginger to bite into, releasing wonderfully peppery taste.
Dark Chocolate With Green Peppercorns
A dark and fruity 72% Venezuelan chocolate with a glossy sheen to it. Interestingly, you can’t actually see any peppercorns on the surface as they’ve been ground – not too finely – and mixed in with the chocolate. The peppery flavour is actually quite subtle and complements the chocolate particularly well.
Three very different – but equally interesting – little bars.
Foolishly, I didn’t actually take the time to write down the names of the individual chocolates in my little box, but as you can see they all look wonderful.
There were three in particular that stood out for various reasons – the caramel, the tobacco truffle and a Marmite ganache (pictured).
Now before you run away screaming, I have to tell you that I loved the Marmite ganache. The flavour was extremely subtle and started out as a slight saltiness and built to a fuller Marmite flavour. It was so subtle that you probably wouldn’t know what it was if you hadn’t been told, but the combination of flavours really did work.
The tobacco truffle on the other hand, was not my cup of tea. The tobacco was far too strong for my taste and got to a point where the tingling feeling almost started to sting. You can tell it’s made with quality ingredients, but this one was just too much for me.
Finally, we have Paul’s award winning sea-salted caramels. We’ve mentioned before how a touch of salt can enhance the flavour of caramel, and this is one of the best examples of that I’ve tasted. The filling is beautifully soft, but just the right consistency so it doesn’t flow out when you bite into it. If you visit Paul’s shop, this is one you have to try.