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I’m dreaming of a chocolate Christmas

Christmas is a’coming . . . and the chocolatiers are getting busy. This time of year sees chocolatiers bring out a range of seasonal novelties in order to tempt their customers.

Innovative and creative chocolatier Paul A. Young is embracing the festive season wholeheartedly, creating Experiential  (with flavours including Christmas Eve, Smouldering Embers and Christmas Dinner ), Elemental (inspired by nature), and Bountiful (fruit and spice-dominated) chocolates as well as an eye-catching Christmas pudding dessert dome £4.50), filled with brandy cream, vine fruits and a dark ganache.

Rococo is noted for both the quality of its chocolates and its attractive packaging. This winter they are bringing out a trio of advent calendar, priced at £50, £70 and £150. The first contains a selection of Rococo chocolates, the  second (which must be pre-ordered) a selection of Rococo chocolatier Laurent Couchaux’s fresh ganaches  and the third (also to be pre-ordered) fresh ganaches as well as a Duppioni silk scarf.  The seasonal ganache range will include Christmas Gianduja & Pecan, Christmas Surprise and Lychee, Chestnut & Rum.

From elegant French chocolatier La Maison du Chocolat comes a Christmas in Paris coffret (from 275g-535g, £40.50-£170) filled with a selection of five bonbons including one inspired by the French Christmas tradition of  ‘the thirteen desserts’ flavoured with almonds, figs, apricots and raisins in honey. La Maison du Chocolat have also teamed up with another iconic French brand Maison Remy Martin to offer a limited edition Mysteries of the Angels coffret (available exclusively from Harrods at £275): a red lacquered gift box containing a flask of Remy Martin XO Excellence Cognac alongside a selection of assorted milk and dark chocolates specially created by Gilles Marchal, Master Pastry Chef-Chocolatier at La Maison du Chocolat to complement the cognac.

Acclaimed chocolatiers L’Artisan du Chocolat are offering a range of treats, including a limited O Magic Collection containing thin chocolate discs filled with flavoured jellies including cherry and whisky and apple and cider (£15 for a box of 12), hand moulded chocolate pinecones filled with gingerbread parfait (£15 for 250g bag) and chocolate-coated Christmas Fruits and Nuts (£7 for 100g).

In addition to its ever popular Advent Calendar (pictured right), Divine, the Fairtrade chocolate company owned by cocoa farmers is bringing out gold coins (£2 for 75g net)and miniature Christmas Puddings (£2 for 80g net, ideal for stocking fillers, and also grown-up treats in the form of Dark Chocolate & Raspberry Discs and Dark Chocolate & Mint Crisp Discs (£4.50 for 100g box).

For those interested in learning about the diversity and variety of cacao, Original Beans, the eco-sustainable chocolate company, have come up with an informative offering: The Story of Cacao in Four Bars (£17), taking consumers from the birth of cacao with the Beni Wild Harvest, a wild cacao tree which grows in the Amazon rainforest, to Peru and the rare Piura Porcelana, then Esmaralda Milk (conched in Switzerland) to Cru Virgunga, made from cacao grown in the Eastern Congo by growers working in partnership with Original Beans.

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The Large Chocolatier's Table

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When you need a gift that blows all others out of the water, look no further than the huge gift boxes at Hotel Chocolat. The Large Chocolatier's Table, for instance, contains 1.5kg of quality chocolates made with more cocoa and less sugar. The Signature Chocolate Cabinet is another fabulous gift, boasting over 100 filled chocolates and Nano Slabs.

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