Hey chocolate lovers! I hope you enjoyed my best of British chocolate item on ‘Love your Weekend with Alan Titchmarsh’. Alan, Gary Wilmot and The Reverend Richard Coles certainly did! It was so rewarding to be able to celebrate shush amazing chocolatiers and chocolate treats that are available today. If you missed it, you can catch it on the ITV hub.
And it if you like chocolate, the series I produced and directed last year is now on Discovery + & Food Network. ‘Rachel Khoo’s Chocolate’ celebrates the best chocolatiers and chocolate stories in Northern Europe and includes some incredible recipes by Rachel too.
And thanks to everybody who has shown an interest in my chocolate and raspberry liqueur cocktail! I’m so pleased it’s going down so well! This cocktail was created specially for the Easter Sunday 2021 edition of the show. Dark chocolate and raspberry is such a great combination and when made into a velvety liquor, it’s even better!
Here’s some info on the ingredients I used… And the recipe!
The London Brick (Bermondsey, London)
70% Dominican Republic Dark Chocolate
£15 for 125g
This is probably my favourite dark chocolate made in Britain. It’s a bean-to-bar chocolate made under railway arches in South East London by a husband and wife team Amarachi & Andy.
The couple started making chocolate in their spare room and then moved to bigger premises. Amarachi then founded Lucocoa in 2015 after realising that there was no breadth or depth of offering in a market dominated by poor quality chocolate.
Discovering that cacao, just like wine and coffee, delivers intricate flavours when correctly roasted, Amarachi decided to make chocolate from bean to bar removing all nasties and not using refined sugar – Opting for unrefined coconut sugar and lucuma, a fruit from Peru instead.
Tayport Distillery 1992 Raspberry Liqueur (Dundee, Scotland)
£22 (50cl) / £12.50 (20cl)
Tayport Distillery is a premium craft distillery producing a range of spirits including vodka, gin, liqueurs and eau de vie. The distillery is family owned and operated.
Born out of a love for Scottish produce, they have a range of liqueurs called ‘1992’. (The year that Director Kecia and her husband got married!) Within 6 months of launching their Blackcurrant Liqueur, they made a stunning Raspberry Liqueur with raspberries sourced from all over Scotland.
The Recipe! (For two cocktails in Martini glasses):
100ml whole milk
100ml double cream
200ml Tayport Distillery 1992 Raspberry Liqueur
35g London Brick Chocolate (shaved, grated or finely chopped) OR use Pump Street drinking chocolate (from https://pumpstreetchocolate.com/)
6 Freeze-Dried Raspberries (from https://www.fruitsfordrinks.com)
Pour the milk and cream into a saucepan, then add the chocolate.
Heat gently, whisking constantly until the mixture simmers and the chocolate has melted. You now have a delicious hot chocolate.
Allow the mixture to cool slightly for 5 minutes or so then pour in the raspberry liqueur and stir.
Allow to cool, then pour into a clean, sterilised container (once at room temperature) and refrigerate for at least an hour. (If making ahead of time, it will last in the fridge for 3 days – Just shake before drinking.)
If in a rush, once the drink has cooled for 10 minutes, pour into a cocktail shaker that contains ice. Shake for 20 seconds or so until the shaker is cold to touch.
Pour into Martini Glasses and decorate with three freeze-dried raspberries per glass. (Freeze-dried raspberries float better than real raspberries, and taste really vibrant.)
And just in case you’d like the details of the other chocolatiers that I featured in the item, have a look below:
1) Pump Street: Hot Chocolate (£12.45) + Sourdough & Sea Salt (£6.25)
Pump street started out as a family-run bakery in the beautiful coastal town of Orford in Suffolk, then they decided to make their own bean-to bar chocolate, just around the corner. Jo Brennan and her small team are award-winning craft makers of chocolate who use high-quality small-batch cocoa beans. Their idea is that you respect the farmers and their families and make the chocolate eating public understand about where the chocolate comes from. The vintage and location of the cocoa harvest is written on every bar because the vintage and location is very important in enjoying chocolate.
Their hot chocolate is delicate shaved flakes. It’s 75% cocoa from a single farm in Jamaica called Bachelor’s Hall Estate run by a farmer called Desmond. It’s fruity (dried fruit) with rum notes and toasty grains. Served with a square of sourdough and sea salt choc from their bakery series chocolates, is the best way for me! (66% chocolate, sugar, cocoa butter, breadcrumbs and salt) Rich and yeasty, with crunch!
2) Gower Cottage Brownies:
Brownies & Brownie Butter
Kate & Rob started making brownies for their local village shop in 2007 and after incredible feedback and huge demand for their brownies, Kate decided to do it full time.
Love of the brownies grew and grew, so much so that Rob gave up his job to work full-time with Kate. (They were also raising 2 boys at the time)
The brownie recipe remains pretty much unchanged and uses Belgian chocolate over 70%.
They now make brownie and blondie butter. I love the orange one which is made with orange oil. It’s much better than commercial the palm oil-laden spreads in the supermarkets!
£17.99 for a box (a dozen at around 550g) including UK next day delivery.
Gluten Free and Vegan options are available.
£6.95 each (not next day) or £19.99 for all three flavours (inc next day)
3) Hotel Chocolat Velvetised Cream Liqueur (£22, 15% vol)
Angus Thirlwell and Peter Harris opened their first Hotel Chocolat shop in North London in 2004. Their mission to make chocolate exciting again. It was considered the start of a revolution in British chocolate movement. Hotel Chocolat is the only company in the UK to grow cocoa on its own plantation, on their Rabot Estate cacao farm in Saint Lucia.
They believe it gives them an in-depth understanding of the factors that impact the final flavour of their chocolate, right from the growing tree. They also consider the treatment of their farmers as one of their top priorities, and their Engaged Ethics programme has already transformed the lives of many in Ghana and on Saint Lucia.
The liqueurs use warming vodka, real cream and 70% dark chocolate as they don’t believe in using anything artificial. They only use real ingredients to flavour their products.
4) Aneesh Poppat: The Chocolatier
Monthly Chocolate Club
Aneesh Popat is an award-winning chocolatier and an ambassador of fine chocolate. He has a small business in Bedfordshire (where he works with his mum and a handful of staff). His clientele is big! It includes royalty, Michelin starred restaurants, luxury hotels, department stores and he even makes chocolate for leading global brands.
Aneesh makes the most beautiful hand-made chocolates using a water ganache (Water having no real taste of its own allows for the chocolate to do all the talking).
He then uses high quality and fresh ingredients to make his chocolates, like fruit purées, spices, nuts and herbs. This means it’s all about the quality of chocolate and the added flavours.
Exclusive Themed Box
£24.95 per box of 18 chocs (vegan box available)
Previous themes include Home Alone / International Women’s Day / Love
Today we have an exclusive! Aneesh has created an Alan Titchmarsh themed box.
5) Highland Chocolatier Iain Burnett:
Virtual Chocolate Tasting.
Iain Burnett is a pioneer in contemporary chocolate making Iain’s tiny workshop and gorgeous shop are based in Grandtully, on the River Tay near Pitlochry in the Scottish Highlands.
He makes a wide range of spiced pralines and dipped fruits, but it’s the Velvet Truffles which have brought him to worldwide recognition as a Master Chocolatier and Truffle Specialist.
He mixes cocoa is mixed with crushed fruits, exotic spices and unblended fresh Scottish cream to create the famous Velvet Truffle.
The Velvet Truffles are handmade using ganache and can be enrobed or un-enrobed.
They have even been awarded ‘best truffle in the world’!
Virtual Chocolate Tasting
He conducts chocolate tastings at his ‘Chocolate Longe’ where you get a place mat with spaces for chocolate on it.
Iain’s idea was to share a journey of discovery into the tastes and textures and give insights into the world of gourmet chocolate.
During the first lockdown these tastings went online with audio tastings. It’s available in a variety of languages as he is such an international success!