I’m quite dogmatic about chocolate. If I like something, I’ll like it forever. Without sounding like a horrible snob, I graduated from mainstream chocolate a long time ago. I still devour the odd Wispa bar or Ferrero Rocher at Christmas but once you’ve tried the holy grail of candy, I’m afraid there’s no going back. Not that I can warrant eating these very often but when I do, oh boy do I savour every moment. That’s a large part of why I love the chocolates in this post. Not only can you taste the marked difference in quality but because they are more expensive than your average box, you’re guaranteed to savour every glorious second.
So here is a round-up of my favourite British chocolate brands. For something a little different this Christmas, gift your foodie friends with one of these – each one has a very different offering and personality to boot.
Producer: Fifth Dimension
In a nutshell: Contemporary, innovative, Michelin-star quality chocolates from a small and multi award-winning producer based in London.
Perfect for: Chocolate connoisseurs with a passion for both food and travel.
Why I like them: Unlike the other two brands mentioned in this round-up, this producer is possibly lesser known. Yet, despite being the best-kept secret in the mainstream world of chocolate, these artisan chocolates have bags of style and punch. The flavours are bold, brave and full of character.
One thing I love the most is that these chocolates offer a very sensory experience – aesthetically the chocolates are very beautiful and the taste matches up to the experience. The flavours are very lively, fresh and authentic – you can tell they are fresh and handmade chocolates crafted by talent. Go for the Journey’s selection box, each filled chocolate is inspired by a different city global city.
Highlights: Hong Kong – Soy Caramel (a malty soy caramel ozzingly rich and incredibly smooth).
In a nutshell: Ethical yet quirky, with heaps of character – organic, dairy and gluten free, artisan chocolates from my home county of Norfolk. These guys are clever at creating delicious chocolates (and ice cream) using the minimal amount of organic ingredients. These truffles just happen to be vegan, although you wouldn’t know it.
Perfect for: Friends who have special diets and / or an ethical standpoint or simply anyone who wants delicious and wholesome British made chocolates.
Highlights: Sea Salt Almond Truffle – salty fine chocolate with chewy caramel pieces.
Why I like them: Now I might be a little biased here as I’ve worked for this lovely company several times in the past but trust me, these truffles are something else. Predominately made from ganache with a fine outer layer, making them incredibly melt-in-the-mouth. The texture takes some beating!
I love that the brand has an ethical stance. Although the chocolates appear to look the same, the flavours are all very characterful. Available via Ocado and most independent health food shops and fine food stores. Try the Special Edition Gift Collection pictured above – with four different flavours inside (Fine de Champagne, Cherry Cognac, Stem Ginger and Around Midnight Espresso).
Producer: Rococo Chocolates
In a nutshell: Owner, Chantal opened the doors of the first Rococo Chocolates shop on the Kings Road in Chelsea. Her eighteenth-century-meets-punk style fit into the rebellious vibe of Kings Road.
Perfect for: Cat lovers. Most foodies will have heard about these guys. It’s a “name-dropper” of the chocolate world.
Highlights: Popping Marc de Champagne – a champagne truffle with lots of airy, rich pops.
Why I like them: There isn’t a menu card inside the box which at first frustrated me and then delighted me. Each bite was a surprise.
There’s a real classic feel to the flavours and how they are presented. Visually they are very pretty chocolates, you’re archetypal chocolate selection straight from a fairy tale. And of course, the box, who wouldn’t love the box. (Now a pencil case.)