The Grenada Chocolate Company
The Grenada Chocolate Company
Founded by Mott Green, who has started a fund to help rebuild the rural economy after Hurricane Ivan devastated Grenada. His chocolate is some of the freshest, most honest I've come across. It is also unique in that it is grown and made into chocolate in the rainforest, and it's evident in the tasting. The 71 per cent organic cocoa dark chocolate (£5.50 for 113g) is worth a mention.
This company was started by two City lawyers, Simon and Helen Pattinson, who were disenchanted with their high-flying lives. Now they have a huge range (more than 300 varieties) of organic and vegan chocolates: bars, truffles, and dollops (small disks infused with Bergamot). The lime pickle (£3.95 for 130g) is a most unlikely combination, but it works brilliantly: chewy slices of dried mango, dipped in white chocolate that has been infused with lime and chilli.
01243 537385; www.montezumas.co.uk
Valrhona's 64 per cent Grand Cru Manjari (about £4.50 for 85g) is one of my all-time favourites. It's bursting with red berry fruit, cherry raspberry and citrus. The acidity is balanced by the fine silky chocolate and an extremely long finish.
Available from Rococo, Waitrose and specialist outlets ( www.valrhona.com)
L'Artisan du Chocolat
Gerry Coleman is the bright young thing of the London chocolate scene. He's famous for the tobacco chocolate he created with Heston Blumenthal. I love the clean passion-fruit and raspberry jellies that cut through the ganache, as well as the Moroccan mint (all £6 per 100g).
89 Lower Sloane St, London SW1 (020-7824 8365; www.artisanduchocolat.com)
Chococo is a family business based in Purbeck, started by Claire and Andy Burnet. Their modern, funky, vibrantly colourful packaging stands out, and there's a sense of fun about the range. Notable are the Rum Totty (£3.75 for 100g), a truffle containing rum-sozzled raisins, and the Raspberry Riot (£3.75 for 100g), a raspberry truffle rolled in freeze-dried raspberries.
01929 421777; email@example.com
Green & Black's
William Kendall (formerly of the Covent Garden Soup Company) has helped Green & Black's to become a big name. New products (from £2.49 per 150g) include a crunchy milk-chocolate bar; a dark chocolate with espresso; and a dark chocolate with whole dried cherries. My favourite was the cherry - tangy fruit with lots of intense dark chocolate.
020-7633 5900; www.greenandblacks.com
Charbonnel & Walker
Although French in origin, this company is now as English as they come. It is famed for its Rose and Violet Creams (£9.50 for 125g), which are firm and intense, and - like Marmite - you either love or hate them. Bittermints (£8.50 for 125g) are an excellent marriage of unsweetened dark chocolate and mint fondant. Pink Champagne Truffles, with a hint of strawberry (£10 for 130g), come in a pretty round box.
One The Royal Arcade, 28 Old Bond Street, London W1 ( 020-7491 0939; www.charbonnel.co.uk)
Another vintage English company. Both packaging and chocolate have had makeovers, though the classic range of Fondant Creams (£7.50 for a box of 16) remains central. The Organic Earl Grey Wafers (£12.95 for 200g), milk chocolate infused with tea, are excellent. The truffles are now enrobed in chocolate (they used to be rolled in cocoa powder), and the Banoffee truffles (£12.95 for 200g) are the chocolate equivalent of nursery food.
14 Princes Arcade, Piccadilly, London SW1 (020-7629 4838; www.prestat.co.uk)
La Maison du Chocolat
Robert Linxe was the first of the chocolate couturiers. Each chocolate is immaculately presented, exquisitely made and enrobed in the finest chocolate. Ganaches use fresh lemon, mint and fennel infused in the cream (£7.50 for 100g). Salvador, the raspberry one, is infused with fresh fruit - one of the greatest tests of a chocolate-maker. And the London shop is so smart.
45-46 Piccadilly, London W1 (020-7287 8500; www.lamaisonduchocolat.com
The Chocolate Society
Owned and run by Alan Porter, a man who makes truffles (approximately £6.50 for 100g) how they should be - a thin crispy layer of chocolate and cocoa powder with, inside, a ganache that is intense, dark, and buttery, yet allows the character of the cocoa beans and fruity chocolate to shine through. There are delicious strips of orange peel dipped in the finest layer of dark chocolate, and an Organic bar (£3.52 for 100g) which is a far cry from most of the competition: smooth and full of fruit and cocoa butter with a really long finish.
36 Elizabeth Street, London SW1 (020-7259 9222; www.chocolate.co.uk)Reuse content