For the capital of bling, a gold-plated truffle

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The Independent Online

The couple's luxurious legacy lingers, though, as the latest sell-out offering from its chocolate shop demonstrates.

A chocolate truffle sprinkled with 22-carat gold has proved so successful with residents of Britain's champagne capital that stocks have sold out before its official launch. Flecks of gold leaf on chocolate from Venezuela's fabled Hacienda Concepcion cocoa estate have been used to create the indulgent treat.

"The official launch was Friday but all the boxes are gone so we are selling them loose," said Paul Swindells, managing director of the Chocolate Trading Co, which is selling them at a price of £14.99 for 12.

The demand is hardly unexpected. The same newspaper that delivered news of the chocolates also revealed recently that a new local jewellers is about to start selling diamond-encrusted mobile phones.

"Bling bling, it's for you," read the front-page headline accompanying a report of the £50,000 handsets. And if there is any money left burning a hole in the pockets of the village's more affluent female residents, they can always try one of the local "self-mastery courses" established for working mothers at a cost of £195 for five sessions.

"The type of customer we serve tends to have a bit of extra cash to be more indulgent," admitted Mr Swindells, who has benefited more than most from Alderley Edge's millionaire footballer set, which includes Rio Ferdinand, Andy Cole and Dwight Yorke. Sir Alex Ferguson is also a regular visitor from his home in neighbouring Wilmslow. Gold chocolate is certainly not as decadent as it gets in Alderley Edge. Mr Swindells' firm also retails a "chocolate bomb" which evidently comes in handy if dinner party conversations are not going too well. The 18cm product, which comes complete with chocolate detonator, is "the ideal dinner party talking point" the company claims, by virtue of its outer chocolate case that explodes when set alight to reveal silver and gold dragees (sugared almonds). The price of £72 might sound a lot of money for a bunch of almonds but the customers seem to love it. Needless to say, the company website currently reports the bomb as "out of stock''.

The 1mm irregular gold flecks which adorn the new Alderley Edge chocolates are too small to be felt on the tongue and have no effect on the digestion, so those who buy them do so in appreciation of their aesthetic quality. "We simply want to offer our wealthier clientele the ultimate indulgence," Mr Swindells said.

He should not be fooled into thinking villagers do not appreciate a bargain, though. When the village's chip shop recently dropped the price of fish and chips from £2.90 to £1 to mark 10 years of trading, hundreds flocked in and queued for up to two hours.

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