Seeing as it was Dom who did all the clever app work I think it’s ok if I brag about our exciting new mobile app! It’s available for iPhones and Android (for details on how to get it go here: http://worldchocolateguide.com/app/ )
We are still working to add more shops to this site and, therefore, the app and welcome any suggestions you might have!
Now you will always know how close (or far away…) you are from chocolate. Isn’t that exciting?! It’s much easier than using the website on your phone (which, I discovered on Sunday, inconveniently won’t reveal the shops behind the little markers on the map).
Happy Chocolate hunting!
P.S. If you do get the app please do take a second to rate it and if you have any suggestions for how we can improve it or any shops we’re missing, let us know!
This week I’ve spent time talking to several men who are incredibly passionate about food and so inspiring to speak with, Marc & Kim from Demarquette, Nick of Rude Health and Willie Harcourt-Cooze.
Today I met more passionate foodie men (and a woman). Antonio, Stephane and Simona are friends who met through the randomness of house shares several years ago and four months ago opened La Gelatiera in New Row, Covent Garden. It is a gorgeous little shop. They kindly invited me and Dom to visit for a tasting. I wasn’t really sure what to expect, but who says no to free ice cream? What I found was owners incredibly passionate about making the best food they can with the best possible ingredients.
Most of their sourcing is through the Slow Food Association. Antonio is the chief ice cream maker and Simona, who came in just before we left, comes most evenings after she finishes her day job, to bake the brioche and biscotti and other fine non-frozen treats. They are mostly recipes of her grandmother. Antonio’s grandfather used to have an ice cream parlour in Italy and he’s devoured books on chemistry written by other ice cream makers to get a scientific approach to the best ice cream.
The milk comes from Jersey cows and isn’t pastuerised or homogenised before it arrives so it keeps the good proteins as well as making a better flavour. They don’t actually buy any chocolate for any of their wide range of chocolate offerings, preferring to purchase the cocoa mass, cocoa butter and cocoa powder separately so they can control the sugar and not have any soy lecitihin that most chocolate manufacturers use. They refuse to sell water because it “is free from the tap and shouldn’t be sold” and also because, so I learned today, the “dry residue” that is mentioned by law on all water bottles is higher than it is in tap water and apparently bad for your kidneys. I’ve never heard this before and am yet to research it further but I love that Antonio cares so much to ensure that what they serve at La Gelatiera is good for you in as many ways as possible. The coffee beans currently come from a social project in Italy, they are roasted within a prison.
None of these ethics override the importance of taste. Which I know because they were generous with their samples and we tasted everything with chocolate and a few other things besides. Antonio asked me “so, no more desserts for you this week after this?”. Ha. He obviously doesn’t know me well yet! We did leave completely satiated of sweet things (for the afternoon…). The levels of sweetness in the ice cream and desserts varies and most are not sickly sweet. For those who are giving into a sugar craving, the chocolate salami or the salty caramel ice cream would definitely satisfy.
The chocolate gelato, one of the first things we tasted, was rich and almost pudding like with just the right balance of sweetness. Delicious. The version with chilli had just the perfect amount of (fresh) chilli to warm your mouth without burning it. I have two favourite, must-try things from the afternoon. The tartufo which they are just about to launch (you will be able to book one hour sessions to enjoy one with your lover for Valentine’s) and the Dolce Amore, an indulgent chocolate mousse made with an Italian liqueur, butter, eggs and cocoa mass and topped with flaked almonds.
This morning I started the day with an oat hot chocolate. Sound strange? It’s surprisingly good. I was turned to it by Nick Barnard of Rude Health and Marc Demarquette. They co-hosted an event on Monday to shout about the sexiness of oats and chocolate.
Chocolate, yes, easily understood. Nick made a firm case for oats too, regaling us with tales of his challenge to the Scots for the title of Champion Porridge Maker at the World Spurtle Championships in Scotland, whilst making us porridge. First with rolled oats, then with oatmeal, the authentic Scottish way.
Video: Making porridge the authentic Scottish way
The oatmeal version was part of the special dessert Nick and Marc prepared for the competition. A chocolate cup filled with porridge and topped with hot salted caramel. The hot caramel causes the cup to melt and it all mixes into one delicious chocolatey mess.
The oat hot chocolate we were greeted with as we arrived. I didn’t notice straight away it was made with oat milk. Maybe because they were injecting it with shots of Scotland’s finest whisky… And topping it with vanilla cream. Oh that was a nice way to end a cold January Monday.
I made my oat hot chocolate this morning with my Blendtec which is quite amazing. You grind the oats in it, add water and blend further then throw in some chocolate (Willie’s 100% Venezuelan Black today) and put it on the hot chocolate cycle. It’s thick to rival a Spanish hot chocolate. It tastes ultra indulgent and is full of all sorts of good things. I don’t really know how you make it without a Blendtec. You could buy oat milk from a health food shop or Wholefoods. I think some supermarkets sell it too. I’m totally converted to making porridge with oatmeal too, unfortunately that’s also quite difficult to find… Well, at least good chocolate isn’t thanks to this map.
In the last of our video interviews from Salon du Chocolat in Paris, we talked to French chocolate maker Franck Morin. Based in the south of France, Morin’s grandfather opened Chocolaterie Morin (shop page) in 1958. Unusually for a bean-to-bar chocolate maker, they also make, truffles, bonbons and other sweets.
Morin works closely with farmers and other chocolatiers (such as London’s Marc Demarquette) to produce bean-to-bar chocolate, so the chances are if you’re a lover of fine chocolate you’ve already tried their chocolate, even if you didn’t realise.
Watch the full interview below to find out more about one of our favourite chocolate makers.
I’ve been rather smitten with the chocolate and almond croissants from Gail’s for some time now. I’ve been known to go for a “jog” with the sole purpose of going past a Gail’s and picking up these freshly baked, warm pastries, filled with melting chocolate and almond paste, topped with flaked almonds and icing sugar. It makes the exercise worthwhile.
When Gail’s PR got in touch and asked if I would be interested in reviewing the Christmas range, well, how could I say no? Who could? My mum was due to arrive for an unplanned visit and she is, afterall, one half of where I inherited my chocolate obsession. A package was delivered to my home. By the time I got home it was minus one brownie. I had forgotten to warn my boyfriend it was coming to review. Cheeky. Luckily Gail’s sent two, along with two gingerbread reindeers and a beautiful Chocolate and Cherry Cake.
Studded with rum soaked raisins that just provide small hints of Christmas deliciousness, this could easily be sold year round. (Hopefully the chef is reading…) And, how good is that slogan? Man cannot live on bread alone. He needs chocolate too. Or maybe that’s just me…
The most impressive piece in my bag was the Chocolate and Cherry Cake, described as a “rich, dense, boozy chocolate and cherry cake, steeped with plenty of rum”. Oh yes it is. Possibly the most alcoholic cake I’ve ever tasted. The plus side of this means that, along with its intense chocolate hit, you really will only need small slices to keep everyone happy. I suppose if you give them big slices they will be very happy! It’s not a big cake but it will go a long way. The downside of the fact that this cake might even be more loaded with alcohol than the uninvited Christmas guest, is that it’s really difficult to pick up on any cherry flavour. In true Christmas cake or pudding style, there are also small pieces of almond throughout, something you may want to know before you buy.
My mum couldn’t even finish her slice in one sitting. That might be due to jet lag but I’d say fair testament that even a hardened chocoholic won’t be too offended by receiving a small slice once they take the first bite. It is truly rich, fudgy and pudding-like. Different, and delicious.
If you want to skip making dessert this year then get your orders in – last day is tomorrow (Dec 19th)!