For my final post on the Cake and Bake Show, let us head back to the Chocolate Zone, where all the tastiest treats can be found. See those benches in the corner? Take a seat: you’re about to take part in something quite delicious.
It’s Sunday, it’s half past one, and Paul A. Young – London chocolatier extraordinaire – is about to begin a free gourmet tasting session. Goodness knows why there’s not a stampede, because what we’re about to receive is undoubtedly some of the best chocolate action in London… if not the world!
For the record, this is the man who created the Billionaire’s Salted Caramel Shortbread. Not to mention those lovely dark cups of spiced Hot Chocolate – and that obscenely gooey recipe for Chocolate Brownies.
Yes, Ogglers: I’m a fan. Even after that Chocolate Gnocchi disaster. So when I learned he was planning to hand out free tasters, I hot-footed it there so fast I almost singed my trotters.
Within minutes it was time to try the Bakewell Tart Truffle, and in our front row position, the Man and I were some of the first to be handed one. While others waited, I sniffed and took a bite.
‘Don’t eat it yet,’ Paul implored through his portable mike… but it was too late: the party in my mouth had already started.
This truffle had all the textures: crunchy roasted Almonds, a gooey Raspberry reduction, and a smooth Milk Chocolate Ganache made with Amaretto and Marzipan.
And yes: just like he promised, it tasted of Bakewell Tart.
Unlike some, their truffles always do what they say on the tin. Which is why I was so thrilled to try our second taster: the Soreen Malt Loaf Truffle.
For those of you unlucky enough not to have tried Soreen Malt Loaf in its original (non-truffle) form, I can tell you you’re missing out. Studded with raisins galore, Soreen is the squidgiest, gooeyist thing you can find on a shop shelf, its only downside being the way it sticks to the teeth like glue.
Thankfully, the Truffle had thrown off this particular property; and, while it may have looked like a miniature Chocolate Scotch Egg, it tasted unmistakeably like its namesake.
Covered in fine toasted Malt Loaf crumbs, the thin Chocolate shell gave way to a rich Ganache filling, textured like softened Butter (which was hardly surprising, given that Butter was one of its main ingredients).
Truffle Number Three was another newby, though slightly more ‘grown up’. The flavour? Black Cardamom, Chinese Stem Ginger and Ginger Wine.
While it wasn’t as much of a crowd-pleaser as the others – too smoky for some, apparently – in my throat it went down just as happily (as you know, this Pud-Hog LOVES her spices).
Even so, nothing slid quite as smoothly as these:
Made from a tried-and-tested recipe, which has been unchanged for nigh on ten years, this Sea Salted Caramel Truffle near enough swam along my tongue, making my taste buds squeal with delight as it went. The salt level was perfect: just enough to bring out the Waters and help it on its way.
Indeed, with its almost liquid centre, this is a truffle that does all the hard work: all you need to do is pop it in and let it melt. In a word (or two): sheer decadence.
Apparently Mr Young has one a day, and when I heard that fact I was most surprised.
Only one? I thought. How unnaturally restrained!
Then again, when you’ve got a few shops full of hand-made Chocolate, why limit yourself to a single kind of truffle? I can now name at least three more that are worth a jolly good chomp. One of each ought to keep a man going.