Don’t you just love when fate smiles upon you and everything seems to fall right into place?
This happened to me a few weeks ago, when I read an article in Food magazine about a chocolate company based in Broadclyst, near Exeter.
The article referred to a tasting club, where the chocolatier would take on board the suggestions of the tasters and actually create the chocolates they came up with.
I thought it sounded interesting, so I looked up the company online and fired off a quick email to find out more. I received the most lovely response from the chocolate maker herself, Katie, saying that it was a bit short notice, and she had no idea where in the country I lived, but she was holding a launch event for her new online store in Exeter the following and would I like to go.
Would I? Of course! And I’m so glad I did, because the launch event was fabulous. To give it a bit of a twist, Katie teamed up with several local clothing stores to put on a chocolate fashion show, with models wearing outfits that reflected her range of chocolates.
There were of course plenty of chocolate samples being handed out, which gave me my first taste of how good Choccie Bar products are.
The stand out chocolates sampled on the night were definitely the chilli chocolate collection – three after dinner chocolates, to be eaten in a specific order.
First up, a chilli-infused strawberry ganache, coated in dark chocolate. As far as I’m concerned there’s nothing worse than being offered chilli and getting nothing more than a slight tingle on your tongue, so I was delighted that this chocolate had a proper kick to it.
Next, ginger flavoured chocolate, which was milder in heat but still full of flavour and with a pleasant sweetness that takes the edge off the chilli eaten previously.
The third chocolate is a coconut filled heart, which cools and soothes your taste buds and leaves a lovely tropical aftertaste. Seriously, after trying these you will never want to go back to after dinner mints, they are seriously that good!
I was lucky enough to have a chance to chat with Katie after the fashion show, and she very kindly gave me a goodie bag to take away, with a box of 18 more delicious handmade chocolates, and a solid chocolate masquerade mask.
When I opened the mask, I only intended to nibble a corner, but it was such good quality milk chocolate that I ended up scoffing it all there and then.
I was a little more restrained with the box of chocolates and made them last a couple of weeks, tasting just a few at a time. There was a good mixture of fruit, nut and caramel flavours – my personal favourites were the strawberry creme (despite normally hating those!) and the lemongrass, both of which were very different to any I’ve tried before and absolutely delicious.
Now the online boutique is up and running, you can order boxes of chocolates and choose which you’d like in them – so you’ll never have the problem of those one or two flavours that no one likes sitting around unloved!
With Christmas on the way, these would make a fab present, but if I’m completely honest I’m far more likely to buy them for myself as they’re a bit too good to share!
I love getting to meet local food producers down here in the South West, and I’m so glad that I stumbled across Choccie Bar at just the right time, and had the chance to meet Katie and taste some seriously good chocolates.
Go check out Choccie Bar for yourself – I promise you won’t be disappointed!