Chocolate too often is only recognised as that tough stuff that tastes like paper, chews like sand and is an overall unpleasant experience. I remember the EasterCon I went to where one of the auction items was forcing someone to each the US chocolate on offer. Being Canadian, I grew up with half-decent chocolate though that has gone the way of the dodo.
My top pick is Luento Santoro chocolate. This is some of the world’s best chocolate. You can pick just about anything from this range and you’ll love it. My top pick from my top pick is the World Flavours Chocolate and save all the Indonesian ones for yourself. The chocolate from this region has produced some of the most lush chocolate in the world. Next is the Chocolate selection box but my dream would be to receive the de-humidor
My next most favourite chocolate is the Chocolate Society chocolate. Their truffles are my top pick. Actually, most of their stuff is lush so I made a gift registry and put my top picks in it. My top pick is the truffle range. I love these truffles because the chocolate surrounding the filling is superbly balanced and just the right amount of flavour offset by the filling. The "credit crunch" is lush and funny to boot. The chocolate and cocoa dusted almonds are divine. What is missing is the baked goods I get at the shop. Those brownies were worth the trip to Elizabeth St!
I also just love Gorvett & Stone chocolate. I got a box of their chocolates once and I cannot express how much I love them. The flavours are so much fun! While not the distinguished single country origin of Luento Santoro or the chocolate flavour height of Chocolate Society truffles, these folks have the flavours down pat. The chocolates are small and wonderful and come in round boxes if you select 'formal'. The taste is sublime and just enough. The spiced chocolates could so easily have been done incorrectly and yet they managed to accomplish this brilliantly. The green tea was the height of expertise as was the spiced dice. The truffles were phenomenal and really if I lived in Henley I’d snack on these every day. I’d suggest ringing the shop and selecting your flavours which I could not do online. I contacted them directly and they suggest that you select "trust us" which will ensure you get the best selection. Make sure to point to any you absolutely don’t want but also keep an open mind.
These chocolates are small so you will get a lot for your money and they taste lovely too!
Most who have experienced chocbait have experienced Swedish Druid chocolate otherwise known as M&S Belgian cocoa dusted truffles. These are surprisingly delicious and well made. There seems to be a good amount of cocoa butter with not an overwhelming amount of sugar making these a wonderful and frugal choice. I highly recommend them!
Last but certainly not least, is Galler chocolate. I went to a chocolate tasting event here where we tried a small number of their chocolates. Tucked away at the back of the chocolate hall - or the front depending on how you enter it - the chocolate counter can too easily be lost in the cacophony of chocolates assaulting your senses. With a unique set of flavours divided into themes, this chocolate is delicate and quite pleasant. It’s going to be different from anything you’ll find elsewhere and you’ll be appreciated no matter what you select. The easiest option rather than be overwhelmed by the selection is to go for a themed box. The Kaori box is going to make you the star of any party with a selection of very different flavours you can eat alone or dip in to another flavour to enjoy. I had the opportunity to sample this at my leisure along with a few chocolates and I can report back that while not all of the box of Kaori was quite to my taste, things that I did not think were to my taste were not as bad as I thought. The balance is well done here and the Kalamansi can be used like glue so dip your stick in there before your choice of Orange and Cocoa Nibs or Matcha Green Tea and Poppy Seeds power to coat the outside. It did take some getting used to but for a gift or at a party, this would be superb. Of the few chocolates I sampled, the white was predictably sweet but the dark pleasantly mild. There was not as much body to the dark as I have become used to but hey - I did enjoy it nonetheless. The milk was too sweet for me but many people will find this the perfect milk chocolate as it mirrors more closely the flavour and sweetness many expect in a milk chocolate.
A special shout out to Donnelly chocolates for those of you in the US. These are excellent chocolates worthy of high praise. If you want to sample chocolates that echo the joy and pleasure I find in chocolate, just get yours from here!
Don't forget to find me at a conference and I'll share some yummy chocolate with you!