Oooops – I’ve just found this post loitering amongst my drafts, I’d written it rapidly with sticky little fingers in a whirl of excitement at discovering such DELIGHTS at The Chocolate Festival and then clearly promptly forgot all about it once the focus of my latest affection was scoffed. Sorry. No matter how busy I am, and I am hence this forlorn blog post, I always endeavour to make it down to The Chocolate Festival, held twice a year around the chocolate calendar corner stones of Christmas and Easter, it may be getting bigger and more crowded as each goes by, but I continue to persevere in the hope of coming across chocolates like this to get excited about.
I’ve been following Kokopelli’s progress on Twitter for some time, well the lovely Steph anyway, she’s only been making chocolates commercially for a short period, slowly swapping days in the office for days making chocolates, until eventually it’ll become a full time business. I’ve heard impressive things from trustworthy source Chocablog, and so I leapt at the chance to try some of her range for myself when I heard she was exhibiting at the festival.
I find Steph swaddled from the cold and fidgeting to keep numbness at bay, she’s cheerful and helpful beyond the call of duty, even in the face of my dithering, and the appalling weather. It has to be said though, that the chocolates themselves are no doubt happier than the previous year, that in stark contrast to this, was melty hot. I eventually settle on a pre-madeup box with a couple of her Easter specials swapped in. All the chooclates are made from Valrhona couverture and fresh ingredients, packaging is stylish and I cannot wait to get them home to savour (hoover them up).
I wrote these notes very quickly as I was eating them, over a couple of evenings back a couple of months ago, so I’ll leave them as they are, I’m sure you’ll get the gist…
Ginger Triangle – I love that these chocolates are PUNCHY. A milk chocolate shell goes some way to tempering a full on dark ganache literally exploding with ginger, both fresh and with a dash of liqueur too. This is incredible and everything I want but never get in other supposedly ginger chocs, I congratulate myself on finding a second of these in the box.
Sea Salt Caramel – Dark shimmering chocolate is the foil for this super buttery, sultry caramel number made slightly savoury with that hint of salt. Grown up.
Roasted Hazelnut – I dip in and out of my love for praline’s, they can become very samey, most too sweet or just lazy cheap box fillers, but this has rekindled my love with relish. What starts as a simple and classic nutty praline flavour, soon develops a lick of salt, then deepens and develops toasty hazelnut notes, the finish long and satisfying. A white chocolate shell perversely lifts the richness and adds a sweet point of difference.
Peanut Butter Praline – This has a perfectly tempered and decorated shell and yet on biting through I’m slightly surprised by what appears to be a very dried out in texture filling. However it’s surprisingly good, a, slightly on the fondanty side, praline, it’s pleasingly gammy as I think any peanut butter chocolate should be. There’s something about the sophisticated dark shell that baffles me and I feel as though I’d like a smidge more salt; I’m just not sure that old American sandwich stolwort can ever be elevated too far above the trashy…Mind you, this is an excellent attempt!
Malted Milk Egg – Oh, this is unbelievable dreamy. Inspired by an Askinosie bar of the same ingredient, Steph wondered if she could push that malty flavour further. She can and she has, it’s a brilliant bauble of milky malty heaven ganache in a glossy milk shell. Seriously comforting.
Lemon Caramel Egg – This is another winner for me, I find I’m liking citrussy chocolates far more as I age. No idea what that’s about?! Here, a dark shell with burnished golden sheen contains a tart, curd like, lemon caramel filling. I think I could eat these all evening…..
Raspberry and Black Pepper – This is the only one I’m not enamoured of; I find the raspberry slightly jarring with savoury pepper against the rich dark chocolate. It’s more than possibly just me, but I often find dark incarnations of this combination a little too full on, like I’m getting too much of the bitter pip flavour and wanting the sharp raspberry notes mellowed out.
My funny taste buds aside – this is an astonishingly good selection; it’s refreshing to find such a confident use of flavours paired with clear skill in how to work with them. I’ll certainly be buying them again for gifts and, rather more likely, my own greedy indulgence.
Despite my earlier aside re. ‘hoovering’ them up, I’m actually very restrained when it comes to eating chocolate, never indulging in more than one or two. These, THESE, lasted all of two evenings. That probably tells you all you need to know.