I can’t quite remember where I first read about Edinburgh’s Thinking Chocolate, but I am pretty sure that it had something to do with their Haggis Truffles. After all, it isn’t every day you read about Haggis Truffles, so I had stored this away in some forgotten corner of my memory until I made it back onto that side of the Atlantic again. Obviously I had to search out the person who decided that the world needed such a truffle.
That person is Nadia Ellingham. She’s been at the helm of Thinking Chocolate for quite a few years now, and is one of those people who is always thinking about chocolate. And she thinks about it in a wonderfully imaginative way, coming up with unusual flavours for her truffles such as Umami and Tomato & Basil. In fact, every year to raise money for Comic Relief, she has a “Guess The Flavour” contest where she goes a little wild to keep people on their toes.
The Thinking Chocolate shop is not very big at all – compact and bijou you might say. It wasn’t really supposed to be a proper shop so much as a space for Nadia to make her creations, but it had a lovely big window which she filled with chocolately things and so people started coming in to make purchases. And as I stood in the shop talking to her, there was a steady stream of people coming in to buy her ornate Easter Eggs – no real surprise considering how they looked.
Naturally I had to sample some of her very pretty chocolates, and these were the highlights from the box although I’d also like to mention the lemon mousse filled min Easter Eggs because I’d happily eat those all day long.
The infamous Haggis Truffle. First of all, the answer to the question on everyone’s mind. No, there is no actual haggis meat in this truffle – it is completely free of entrails. Instead, it is a lovely dark ganache which has been spiced in the same way that a haggis is with nutmeg, black pepper and mace, and a bit of oatmeal for texture. And it is very clever indeed. I must admit that there was a big smile on my face as I ate what looked like a truffle and haggis flavours came flooding through. An ingenious idea, perfectly executed and very, very tasty.
Single Malt Whisky Truffle
A dark chocolate cup housing a very smooth and relatively boozy whisky ganache, with just a few nibs on top. There’s very little to complain about here because the balance between the chocolate and the whisky is handled so well. No wonder the Scottish Malt Whisky Society asked Nadia to make some truffles for one of their tastings.
Tangerine & Lime
I’d never have thought of combining coconut and citrus, yet it works really well. The sharpness of the tangerine and lime stay in the background as the chocolate and coconut mix together, like sticking some Opal Fruits into a Bounty bar. An unusual combination for sure especially because of some unexpected floral notes, but all the better for it.
Cocoa Nib Raspberry & Rose
This was really, really good. The fruit centre just melts away to nothing at all, almost like a sorbet. It is flavoured nice and subtly too, which is good because that rose could get overwhelming very quickly, and there is plenty of space for the dark chocolate that makes up the shell and the crunchy little nibs on top.
So while it might be the promise of a Haggis Truffle that brings many people to Thinking Chocolate, there are plenty of other reasons to go back again. Chocolates are made in small batches, with new varieties being introduced all the time so be prepared to be pleasantly surprised.