Chocolate tasting events in East Anglia and how the act of eating fine chocolates can be good for your soul in the most surprising way.
Last Wednesday evening after my dinner, very unlike me I didn’t close down my taste buds with a chocolate truffle from my secret stash. That’s because me and my empty dessert belly were invited along to a special chocolate tasting event at The Library restaurant in Norwich with Le Club de Cacao.
Open to both members and guests, Le Club de Cacao is probably the best thing to happen to explorative chocolate-lovers living in East Anglia. It’s the brainchild of Madam Deroubaix who is also the mastermind behind the Norwich Chocolate Festival. It’s clear that this lady is the region’s answer to Vianne Rocher, the protagonist from Joanne Harris’ novel, Chocolat. Like Vianne, it’s Madam Deroubaix’s mission to bring the finest chocolate in the country to the area. And she does just that.
Across East Anglia she regularly hosts various chocolate tasting events, each one is themed by a different chocolatier expert showcasing the inside scoop about their range. Previous events have included creations from Paul A Young. This month, Fifth Dimension’s Albert Chau was the guest speaker who brought with him a divine selection of his award-winning chocolates. These are no ordinary choccies, they offer a three-dimensional, or should that be five-dimensional, experience. If I was to use just one word to describe them it would be, sensory. They combine both classic and unusual flavours with premium fine flavour single origin chocolate, often with a surprising twist both to the palate and on the eye.
We tried various chocolate varieties and sampled some filled chocolates as well as Fifth Dimension’s innovative “Chocwich” – the chocolate that thinks it’s a sandwich: thin, crisp slices of premium chocolate filled generously with a raspberry pate de fruit – this product won a Great Taste award in 2015.
Albert also told us a bit about the company’s sustainable practices, the relationship with their growers and how in many cases, they develop each recipe until they receive the thumbs up from Michelin star chefs. They have high standards indeed. Albert and his partner Russell are two very talented chocolatiers!
The evening was very enjoyable. It was a cosy gathering and the surroundings at The Library felt very conducive to an evening dedicated to chocolate. It was a lovely chance to meet other chocolate enthusiasts including our very own Lord Major of Norwich who attended the tasting.
The thing I loved the most about the event was that you are encouraged to really enjoy each truffle using all of your five senses. And it makes a lot of sense. With fine chocolates such as these, where so much care and thought has been invested and premium ingredients used, it’s important to eat each one mindfully and to really smell, listen and feel every encounter. In the first time in around 25 years, I didn’t just eat my chocolate but as advised, I examined its smooth glossy exterior and then allowed the chocolate to simply melt slowly in my mouth, each microsecond of melted goodness felt different to the next. With complex chocolates such as these, and similarly to a good wine, there are so many flavours, tones, scents and layers to experience you don’t want to miss a thing. So slowly does it, it’s a stroll not a sprint. It’s good to pause I remembered, shut out the world, no distractions, no chatter, no nothing – just you, your taste buds and this moment, frozen in bliss. Of course, we should eat, drink and live this way in general, no rush, mindfully and with the upmost appreciation, live every moment as though it is your last. Easier said than done but a good lesson to be reminded of during an evening of chocolate. Food good for the soul without a doubt.
Above – To be eaten very slowly and with all of your five senses: artisan Fifth Dimension chocolates from Le Club De Cacao tasting event. This box is called “Journeys”, perfect for food and travel lovers such as myself – each chocolate is inspired by a famous city. For me, a big win was “Hong Kong” (picture above – bottom row, second from the left) – a notch above the humble salted caramel, this version uses a premium soy sauce for a smooth, salty caramel flavour. Sublime. Available online www.5DChocolates.com and from many Michelin starred restaurants.
For more information about Le Club De Cacao events go to http://www.leclubdecacao.co.uk
About Le Club de Cacao:
Based in East Anglia, Madame Deroubaix hosts this mouth watering group, for people, who want to learn, and taste some of the finest chocolate produced in the world! Similar to a wine appreciation society but with Chocolate, giving you the range and diverse flavours to savour. This is also an opportunity to socialise with other likeminded people and share the chocolaty things you love.
Learn about the difference between confectionary and ‘fine’ chocolate and how to use your five senses to taste. There will be also be the opportunity to visit chocolate exhibitions, festivals, factories & museums throughout the year.