My eyes were opened to pairing tea flavours with chocolate when Yorkshire's Oski's sent me their Earl Grey and Chai tea bars. Since then, I've had the pleasure of tasting Love Cocoa's Earl Grey milk chocolate.
So, when I clocked this innovative autumnal collection by Belgian chocolatier Pierre Marcolini, I instantly fell in love.
A project on the cards for many years, Marcolini's brief was to blend grands crus of cacao with exceptional teas to create an unusual and unexpected flavours.
The resulting collection comprises of ganache-filled chocolates, bars, tablets, and truffles. The teas used in these creations are supplied by Paris' fine tea merchants Maison Dammann Frères and Le Palais des Thés.
A range of six cubes of tea ganaches are available in boxes of 18 pieces (£19.90) or 36 pieces (£39). The delicious-sounding flavour combinations are:
- Ganache with Oolong tea, Madagascan dark chocolate, and Madagascan vanilla.
- Ganache with Gyokyro Hikari tea, sugar-free house milk chocolate, and saké.
- Ganache with Orange Valley Darjeeling tea, house sugar-free Cameroon-Ecuador dark chocolate, almond, and caramelised sesame.
- Ganache with Matcha tea, Yuzu, house white chocolate, hazelnut, and caramelised sesame.
- Ganache with dark Pu'er tea, house Cameroon-Ecuador smoked dark chocolate, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds.
- Ganache with smokey Lapsang tea, house milk chocolate, hazelnut, and caramelised sesame.
There's a lot going on in each of these, with sweet, bitter, and smokey flavours played against grassy, citrus, and caramel notes. The teas look like they have been carefully paired with the chocolates to best showcase the characteristics of each ingredient.
Available in a box of 15 pieces (£19.90), these stunning lime green hearts feature a ganache made with matcha tea and yuzu nestled inside a shell of house white chocolate.
The green tea is also paired with Marcolini's house blend Cameroon-Ecuador dark chocolate in a box of 18 Matcha Tea Truffles (£19.90).
A 63g milk chocolate slab (£11) blends the flavours of matcha tea and toasted sesame. A pair of snack-sized 25g chocolate bars (£3.50) are also available. The house dark chocolate version boasts a ganache of Jasmine Chung Hao tea, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds. Meanwhile, the house milk chocolate variant features a ganache of smokey Lapsang tea, hazelnut, and caramelised sesame.
When creating this collection, Marcolini didn't stop there.
An Earl Grey Tea Cake (£9.90) is an ideal accompaniment to an afternoon tea at home, but is only available to purchase in-store. Made with rice flour, the light and fluffy 380g loaf cake is topped with a yuzu-matcha tea ganache.
A fun alternative that can be ordered online are the Melove cakes.
These light and delicate cakes feature a house milk or dark chocolate shell, with a marshmallow centre. Inside the milk chocolate shell is an Earl Grey and hazelnut marshmallow, while the dark shell hides a smokey Lapsang tea and hazelnut marshmallow. They are available in a box of eight pieces with four of each variety inside (£19.90).
You can purchase these limited edition seasonal chocolates online. You might be able to find them in the Marcolini store at 37 Marylebone High Street in London, or at the counters in London's Harrods and Selfridges.
Which of these chocolate tea creations would you most like to try? Let me know in the comments below.