Just got back from a tour of the beautiful Essex countryside which is doing its best to move away from winter. I was trying to find a good farmers market but without much success. I've never organised a market myself but it makes sense to ensure that you have a good balance between craft and food stalls with similar stalls kept to a minimum. You can understand why stallholders throw their hands up when they arrive at a market and there are 4 others selling the same produce. If you come across any good markets in Essex let me know. Ok, lets get back to the main attraction.......
Chococo - I haven't featured any of their award winning handmade chocolates before and I couldn't resist buying one of their chocolate eggs when the opportunity was presented. Based in the lovely town of Swanage, Dorset, Claire and Andy Burnet started their business in 2002. I believe that in a previous life Claire was a big shot in marketing, this really shines through today. What I like about this company is their passion for producing excellent chocolate confections. I've never met either of them but it's interesting how a website and a product can exude confidence, trust and passion all at the same time. They have cleverly tapped into the truly local aspect of their business. Innovatively bringing local peoples ideas and recipes to life and incorporating these into their range. At the same time the use of colour and eye catching packaging has made it an instant winner. Their business is about provenance, purity and freshness and I'm sure this has paid dividends in their growth. Whilst many Chocolatiers around the country have huge highs and lows in terms of income Chococo have diversified. I believe they now have their own coffee shop and even supply to the likes of Harvey Nicholas and Selfridges. Will we see Chococo stores in other parts of the UK?
Chococo is not just about good chocolate as the picture above demonstrates. Their packaging is some of the best I've seen in the UK for a long time. It's fun and colourful adding to the enjoyment of giving somebody a superb and hopefully delicious gift. Chococo the brand.
The Chocolate: This egg is stunning to look and I don't really want to break it but I know I have to at some point. To make this egg 41% Venezuelan milk chocolate finished with a layer of white chocolate and decorated in naturally coloured white chocolate. Inside the egg has been studded with crunchy dried strawberries and raspberries. The white chocolate is of good quality and is probably Icoa with a 34% cocoa butter. As you would expect all the colouring used to make the Union Jack is 100% natural no nasty preservatives here!
Ok, I'm going to smash it now! It actually takes a bit of bashing to break this egg. The best way is to turn it on its side and Karate chop along the seem. I'm sure you'll work it out!
The thin white layer of sweet chocolate mixes well with the thicker layer of milk chocolate which has been studded with plenty of dried raspberries. These provide crunch and zing at the same time help to offset the sweetness of the chocolate. I've just eaten half an egg without even thinking so back in the box for you. My only request would be that their should have been a little bag of milk chocolate buttons hidden inside. But that is me just being greedy and harking back to my youth.
I really like this egg and would have eaten all 175g in matter of minutes had I not had more self control. I enjoyed everything about this egg and it scores maximum points for me in terms of presentation and taste. I was lucky to buy this egg at a discounted price but it normally retails at £12.95 including postage and packing. Money well spent in my opinion.
To treat your friends and family this Easter visit their website here.