Speciality chocolate fair
9 September 2011 – The Speciality Chocolate Fair is the only event in the UK dedicated to fine quality chocolate. The fair presents unique opportunity to taste and source the very best suppliers and chocolate products from a wide range of chocolatiers and producers.
Fresh, fruity flavours once again proved to be popular in the artisan market. Amelia Rope Chocolate showcased its new chocolate bar range, including dark mandarin, dark lemon and dark ginger flavours; Italian company, Autore was exhibiting a coconut pulp covered bar; and Pure Chocolate Truffles launched its sugar free filled chocolates in a new orange flavour.
Many exhibitors were highlighting new snack products, and the overriding theme was clearly on health. Born To Be Yummy showcased a range of brownies, flapjacks and chocolate crispies which incorporated fresh fruit and linseeds; Filbert’s Fine Foods launched new 40g snack sized bags of peanuts in three new flavours – all of which are gluten free; and Premium Farm Foods introduced its freeze dried fruit crisps, made from ripe fresh fruit.
Speciality Chocolate Live
New for 2011 was Speciality Chocolate Live, a demonstration theatre featuring new techniques, flavour ideas and tastings from pastry chefs and chocolatiers.
Paul A Young gave a presentation on chocolate making with seasonal flavours and unusual ingredients.
The use of seasonal fruit and vegetables in your diet is extremely common amongst consumers, but the idea of extending seasonality into confectionery is a relatively new idea. Flavour ideas for Autumn included cider, sloe gin, apples and pears.
Some more unusual concepts which Young has introduced included a marmite truffle, a Soreen loaf truffle and a Worcestershire sauce ganache, all of which tasted amazing. Young has to experiment with more unusual flavours, tasting them in different dilutions, to ensure the ingredient compliments the chocolate rather than overpowering it, “Elderberry doesn’t work with chocolate, nor do some salts or poor quality alcohol. I like to work with flavours that are different, seasonal and unique,” notes Young.
The star of the day for me was Young’s sea salted caramel – absolutely gorgeous! This flavour idea was created by small chocolatiers but now is a mainstream idea, available in most supermarkets.
“We all get a bit too serious about chocolate, people are too concerned about chocolate origin or percentage cocoa, we should just have fun,” concludes Young.
Keith Hurdman of Thorntons believes that the focus for the UK artisan market will be British flavours to tie in with the Olympics in 2012. Rose and raspberry, vanilla caramel and Cornish sea salt, apple cider, Bakewell tart and cloudy lemonade were some of the flavours I tasted throughout Hurdman’s presentation. “The number of flavour combinations that could possibly be created is endless, but there are limitations to what can be developed when working for a mainstream company. Cost is a major factor, and any chocolates produced must be affordable for the majority of the population,” says Hurdman.