Wednesday, 9 November 2011
A French cafe, fine patisserie and chocolate from Belgian all on sale in a London side street. Yes, a surprisingly strange mix indeed! Situated between Baker Street tube station and Marylebone you can find La Gauloise.
Surrounded on either side by two omni present high street food outlets, Pret and Tesco, this small but perfectly formed homage to French sweet delicacies continues to soldier on, well for the time being that is. There isn't room to swing a chat and you probably can't get WiFi unless you can log onto Pret next door. It always has a fantastic display of cakes and chocolate shapes to drool over in its front window. The walls inside are packed with boxes of Panettone and what seems like a never ending selection of chocolates from Classic Wheels. Who? Yes, ok we'll get to them in a minute. Back to the cakes.....which I have to say are excellent and great value for money.
Nearly everything is made by the owners with the exception of the Portuguese Custard Tarts which were very tasty by the way. If you're rushing home and want a little taste of naughtiness without breaking the bank then this is the place for you. La Gauloise can be found at 3a, Melcombe Street, London, NW1 6AE.
So, from France to Belgium and the strangely named chocolate bar, Classic Wheels. I'm sure J Clarkson would have a field day with that one. Perhaps, I should send him a bar especially as it has a picture of a very fast racing car on the front...I know its a tenuous link but, its a link!
The company originated back in 1998 and was part of the larger family run business, Gilis Group, a fine food company that started in 1909. An interesting combination of art and food. Jaak De Konninck, the Belgian artist and Patrick Gilis, the food manufacturer resulted in the creation of a range of chocolate products under the brand names, Starbrook Airlines, Classic Wheels and Fleet. The company has a worldwide distribution and can be found in 76 countries and 170 airports. The packaging is definitely retro and conjours up images of the 50's when the world was really changing for the better. To read more about their story follow the link.
The chocolate: Classic Wheels a chunky 100g bar with a cocoa content of 31%. A sweet chocolate aroma with a smooth buttery taste. It's not too sweet and the cocoa is not too strong. It will not set the world of chocolate on fire but it does the job. Especially if you're looking for that last minute gift as you rush through the airport terminal before your flight taxis down the runway without you! If they don't like the chocolate they'll certainly enjoy collecting the beautifully decorated tins! Checkout the chocolate planes....
Overall I give this bar 5/10 for flavour and 9/10 for their original packaging concept which is totally different to the norm. This bar cost me £3.45 from La Gauloise.