Here's Chocolatier.co.uk's guide to great gifts you could buy the chocolate lovers in your family this Christmas.
Rootling through a Christmas stocking is just the best way to start Christmas day. Alongside traditional gold-wrapped chocolate coins, there are lots of witty chocolate novelties to choose from. From the ever-creative team at Dorset-based Chococo, seasonal new offerings include Chocolate-studded Snowballs in assorted flavours and pretty Festive Chocolate Picture Bars.
There are stocking fillers aplenty from Thorntons, from the tiny Christmas Robin Alpine Log to chocolate snowmen and Santas. For a cosmopolitan touch to the stocking, look no further than Damian Allsop’s inventive Eat London range of chocolate bars, in assorted flavours inspired by London’s multicultural communities.
Beautifully packaged to look as if it is a box of chocolates, Rococo, is the delectable new chocolate book by Chantal Coady, founder of Rococo chocolate company, studded with appealing recipes and enticing pictures – a scrumptious tome. Chocolate Ecstasy Tours, founded by chocolate enthusiast Jennifer Earle, offer an enjoyable insight into London’s thriving chocolate scene, complete with much sampling en-route. Or, for a treat, book a place on one of the Laurent Perrier Champagne Dessert Bar events at acclaimed chocolatier William Curley’s stylish Belgravia shop.
Chocolatier Amelia Rope uses organic aromatherapy oils to elegant effect in her flavoured bars such as Pale Lemon and Sea Salt or Pale Rose, while boxes of her Chocolate Cubes collections offer a chance to sample across the range.
Appeal to his wild side with Artisan du Chocolat’s Salted Caramel Chocolate Explosion Wild Bar – laced with popping candy. Or, for adventurous eaters, go down the chilli chocolate route with Montezuma’s Chilli Gone Barmy collection°. For a more classic approach, chocolatier Paul Wayne Gregory’s Pure Indulgence collection of award-winning chocolates in flavours such as rum, coffee and mint, lives up to its name. Boys will be boys - and Harrods chocolate Big Top Building Blocks are perfect for Lego enthusiasts of all ages.
For the chocolate geek
Damian Allsop’s Pure Collection, a collection of water-based ganaches which celebrate the best artisan chocolates from around the world, is both and excellent and delightful way in which to educate one’s chocolate palate.
Ecuadorian, raw chocolate specialists Pacari did stunningly well in this year’s International Chocolate Awards, gathering gold in a number of categories – so a selection of their bars sold through The Raw Chocolate Shop would offer excellent ‘research’.
Based in Lincolnshire, motor racing manager turned chocolatier, Duffy Sheardown of Red Star Chocolate is noted for the quality of his ‘bean to bar’ chocolate bars – with a range of single origin chocolate bars to choose from.
For Grandma and Granddad
Mint and chocolate is a classic combination, on offer in Fortnum and Mason’s handsomely presented Dark Chocolate Mint Squares. At this time of year, what could be more comforting than a mug of hot chocolate? Sir Hans Sloane Chocolate Beads (available in milk or dark°), in trademark cheery scarlet packaging, make truly excellent drinking chocolate and are a present to be savoured.
Bettys of Harrogate offer a range of appealing, retro-styled chocolate treats, from the Lady Betty Chocolate Selection to Liqueur Chocolate Truffles.
For the ethical chocolate lover
Issues within the chocolate industry such as labour conditions, low wages and deforestation all need tackling. It’s good to see increased awareness of these issues, with Christmas, of all times of year, an apt time to think about the ethics of what we consume.
Divine - the Fairtrade chocolate company is 45% owned by cocoa farmers in Ghana – offers Christmas treats from chocolate coins to Dark Chocolate After Dinner Ginger Thins. Original Beans works directly with cocoa farmers to champion environmentally responsible, sustainable cocoa production and offers a select, sophisticated range of chocolate bars, including Cru Virunga 70%, a dark chocolate bar made with single origin cacao from the eastern Congo.
Headed by the charismatic and committed Mott Green, the Grenada Chocolate Company on the island of Grenada is a co-operative of cocoa farmers transforming their own cocoa into chocolate in Grenada itself – with their Nib-A-licious bar – studded with pieces of roasted cocoa nib – particularly popular.
For all the family
Round off your Christmas feast in style with Rococo’s Couture Chocolate Christmas tree (milk or dark), an edible table decoration created by their chocolatier Barry Johnson and decorated with seasonal morsels from candied ginger to pistachio nuts. An assortment of Paul A Young’s inventive, fresh chocolates – ranging from his iconic Marmite truffle and award-winning Caramel to seasonal flavours including Mince pie marzipan, Spiced Brandy with coffee and cream and Rodda’s clotted cream and gingerbread caramel – would go down well with chocolate lovers; think of the fun you’d have selecting them too.
Paul A. Young truffles
A classically elegant addition to festive eating on offer from Maison du Chocolate is their chic Christmas Star Gift Box. Perfect for passing around after that Christmas meal, when everyone somehow manages to find room to squeeze in a bit of chocolate, comes the Christmas Hatbox from Hotel Chocolat.