For some people Christmas is all about presents, eating, family or chocolate. While I don’t disagree with any of these, for me it is also about end of year lists. I love perusing the music lists from PopMatters or Pitchfork to find great songs and albums that I missed during the year. And looking through lists of the best video games for more titles I won’t have time to play.
So this year I thought I would share the best chocolates I have tasted this year. I’m not suggesting this is a definitive list, even I couldn’t try every chocolate on the market. And I’m sure many of these have been around for a few years, but this year was the first time I tried them, so they count. My list, my rules!
I’m going to start with an honourable mention for a non-chocolate. Yes, I’m breaking the rules with my first entry, but it was sooo delicious that I have to give it a mention. The Lemon Tart (OK, Tartelette Citron) from Meert in Lille was divine. They have been around since 1677, so I guess all those years of practice have paid off.
On to the actual chocolates and in third place it is William Curley’s classic Sea Salt Caramels. I had a big box of these to get through after doing a course with him, and the last one tasted just as good as the first one. These are not great because of an unusual flavour combination or creative textures, they are great because they are a classic flavour executed perfectly. And sometimes that is all I need.
In second place it’s White Strawberries and Cream from 1683 Chocolate Place. A creamy white chocolate with a generous dollop of jam in it to give it the strawberry element. I tried a few chocolates from 1683 Chocolate Place with actual jam or honey in them this year and they all worked well, so watch this space, I may well be taking some inspiration from them next year!
And in first place, the best chocolate I tried this year, the Passion Fruit Caramel from Zara Snell’s Winchester Fine Chocolates. A passion fruit and white chocolate filling and a dark chocolate shell and I’m in chocolate heaven. This chocolate won a Bronze in the World Final of the International Chocolate Awards back in 2017 and it is easy to see (and taste) why.
And because it’s my website, I’m also going to list my favourite Coastal Cocoa chocolates of the year. I’m including only those recipes that I created for the first time this year, otherwise it would be too hard to choose.
In third place Honey and Almond. I love the contrast between the chewy nougat layer and the smooth honey ganache. But most of all I love the waft of delicious honey fragrance that appears whenever I open a box of these up.
In second place Cinnamon Doughnut Truffle. Partly because it tastes so good, but mainly because of the look of desire from customers when I tell them about it, and the even more excited look when they try it.
And in the top spot we have Blackberry and Vanilla. This is one of those recipes that worked almost perfectly from the first time I made it. The combination of the pate de fruit and the vanilla ganache reminds me of blackberries in custard. It makes spending days picking blackberries in our local Country Park in the pouring rain worthwhile!
Let us know your favourite of the year below or on Facebook? What should I be trying in 2020?