Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Nicky Grant - Fine Chocolates from Cornwall

An elegantly presented little package arrived through the post the day before Mother's Day. I was very tempted to save it to give to my mother, but I had promised to review the chocolates, so the job just had to be done by me - it's a hard life!

There is a wealth of amazing chocolatiers and chocolates in and around London, but in my far flung part of the country they are few and far between. I was, therefore, particularly excited to discover handmade Cornish chocolates by Nicky Grant at the Cornwall Food & Drink Festival a couple of years ago. Like all of the best filled chocolates, these use fresh ingredients with no added preservatives, colours etc etc. The downside of this is of course, they don't last very long - but to be honest I defy anyone to make them last as long as the specified two weeks anyway!

The quality of ingredients are key to really good chocolates and Nicky uses single origin and plantation chocolate. She also uses local produce, such as cream butter and honey, wherever possible; this makes them doubly appealing to me. Last year Nicky won Gold at the Academy of Chocolate Awards for her fennel and ginger truffle.

On opening the box, that wonderful chocolatey aroma which only comes from good quality chocolate drifted up and into my nostrils. Several deep breaths later, I was ready to take photographs - oh the patience needed! There was no form of identification for the chocolates, so I just had to guess - some better than others I suspect. CTs taste buds are a little more refined than mine and he would probably have done a better job. But he wasn't around to taste these and to be honest, with only six, I wasn't willing to share.

Ginger hit me straight away with this one. Lovely smooth and creamy ginger ganache with toffee notes. Covered in rich dark chocolate, this was rich, spicy warming and delicious. I wondered if it contained a touch of chilli, as it left a lovely warm feeling in my mouth and back of my throat long after I'd finished. I could have quite happily consumed a box full of these. I am now wondering if this may in fact be the award winning fennel & ginger and I just missed the fennel?

As I was hoping this was a fruit puree with a rich deep pink colour. I thought at first it was raspberry, probably because of the colour. I then started doubting myself and thought it tasted more like blackberry. Either way it was delicious and I would have been happy to have had several more.

This domed milk chocolate shell with white and dark marbled across contained what tasted like cardamom & hazelnut praline. The flavour of cardamom was delicate but very much present and combined well with the sweet milk chocolate. I'm beginning to sound like a broken record here, but this too was really delicious. 

Covered in dark chocolate and coated with cocoa, this was a dark chocolate ganache through and through. It was good; it had bitter notes and wasn’t too sweet, but somehow it just wasn’t quite as rich as I would have expected. I wouldn’t, however, say no to a box of these either.

This shiny chocolate dome looked to have a piece of crystallised ginger on top. Could this be another ginger I wondered? It was. Less rich and sweeter than the first it was still very gingery. It did not have the distinctive warmth of the first, which sort of confirms my suspicion of chilli. I liked the fact there were two different type of ginger chocolates in the box, for I am a fan – one for the more sweet toothed and one for the, err, more discerning palate!

A dark chocolate shell dusted in cocoa and containing this Cornish seasalt caramel. It was utter bliss. Beautiful smooth caramel which flooded my mouth with salty sweetness. This is another gold award winner and no wonder; the balance of salt to sweet was just right and the dark chocolate offset the sweet caramel wonderfully. Much as I loved the first three chocolates I tried, for me this was the best of the box.


This box of chocolates were a lovely mix of flavours, textures & shapes and were deeply satisfying. All six chocolates disappeared rather too quickly, but the taste of ginger, caramel and chocolate lingered on for quite some time making for a doubly great taste experience.

As well as filled chocolates Nicky also makes bars, cakes and amazing chocolate sculptures. You don't have to be down in Cornwall to taste these chocolates however; they are available to buy online.

10 comments:

  1. Beautiful and yummy box!!!
    Have a nice day

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  2. Now those look wonderfully high quality chocolates! What a HARD job you have tasting and testing them.....!!
    Karen

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    Replies
    1. Karen, I know, life can be very tough sometimes! These were exceptionally good chocolates, trouble is, I just want more.

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  3. I have heard about these amazing Cornish chocs and that sea salted caramel would be my first choice. I wonder if they need a Devon food blogger to do a review?! Hint hint!

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    Replies
    1. Hehe Kate, you can but try. Love the fact it's Cornish sea salt being used in the caramel.

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  4. Ooh, yummy! I'd be happy to receive a box of these, especially the first ginger one, that sounds fab.

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  5. Yes a whole box of those ginger truffles would not go amiss at all ;-)

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  6. Candies - wonderful! I will try to make!

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  7. I really like seasalt caramel. They look delicious.

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