I thoroughly intended to scoot past the the royal celebrations, letting others put in the over worked, overexposed and rather annoying leg work. However, on reflection after returning from one of Demarquette‘s events at his beautiful Fulham Road shop, it slowly dawned on me that I’ve somehow never managed to get around to writing about one of my very favourite chocolatiers here. This is an utterly bewildering oversight, and makes me feel, well, a little funny when I think of how many of Mark’s delicious chocolates I’ve consumed…The volumised mousse of the Royal Medina still stands out as one of my absolute favourite chocolates; a brilliantly textured chocolate that is rich, intenseley vanillery and satisfying. The Ben Tre Milk chocolate bar remains one of the only milk chocolates that I can eat in any quantity, the sweet, caramelised notes making it highly munchable.
The theme for this most recent trip to the shop was immediately apparent, decked out as it was with Union Jacks and bunting, Mark does like to go to town on his decorations, and the place was certainly well prepared should the Queen happen to pop in for a sweet treat! The range of chocolates showcased were the new Jubilee collection, including a collaboration with Kentish cobnut producer, Hurstwood Farm. Without going into too much detail, some really interesting comparsions were made between a generic praline paste that the majority of chocolatiers will work with, and a vibrant cobnut version Mark is using, the former tasting utterly flat and palid in contrast. It’s worth mentioning here that this is far from from being a tenuous British tie in purely for the Jubilee, Demarquette have long been champions of the small artisan producer and have been working with many British artisans from the very beginning.
Bowls of naked little cobnuts nestled in bowls around the shop for nibbling, we were also able to try the pressed oil which makes an excellent dip for bread. We obviously also tried the nuts in various chocolate combinations; a chewy nougat, an INCREDIBLE brownie, and as unnutterably addictive little pebbles, I dread to think how many I managed to put away that evening….
The showstopper though are these stunning cobnut praline jewels. Beneath glistening dark and milk shells lies a beautiful cobnut praline, full of character and natural sweetness; the flavour akin to a hazelnut praline but brought to life.
Mark was kind enough to give me a bag of these cute little Jubilee balls at The Chocolate Festival, their patriotic colours contain three different fillings; strawberry caramel, salted caramel and a vanilla ganache. For some reason I wasn’t overly enamoured of the strawberry, there were buttery notes that just didn’t do it for me, but you can’t go wrong with dainty little bites of salted caramel!
The little bottle of cobnut oil I brought home in my goody bag was clearly going to bother me until I could find a good use for it. I toyed with various salad ideas; I’m pretty sure it would really bring a beetroot and goats cheese salad to life, or add vibrant nuttiness to a salad plate of Iberico ham and beautiful Berkswell cheese. In the end, an allotment haul of our first asparagus sealed the deal, and I added the oil to a simple hollandaise sauce.