When I cast my mind back to my chocolate travels to Brussels nearly a decade ago, there's one shop window that had me agasp. Delicate handcrafted chocolate baubles formed an exquisite Christmas tree display. That memory has stuck with me, and is one of my most favourite chocolate displays I have ever witnessed.
That display was in the window of Pierre Marcolini's store in Brussels, and it just blew me away. I think it's the first time I understood how chocolate can be artwork too.
Now, the Belgian chocolatier has released his collection for Christmas 2019 and I'm happy to report the chocolate tree is back - just bigger!
Limited Edition 'Rêve Éveillé' Christmas Tree
£1,000 | 7.8kg | Dark chocolate only | Available in-store only
Where to begin with this beauty? Let's start with WOW! How magnificent does the Limited Edition 'Rêve Éveillé' Christmas Tree look? If you're after a showstopper for a Christmas banquet this year, you'll need to head to Marcolini's store on Marylebone High Street in London and pray they can safely get this made-to-order treat direct from Brussels just for you.
This grand one-metre-tall masterpiece costs a pretty penny (£1,000 to be precise) but this is both a work of art and a delicious treat for guests all rolled into a gorgeous Christmas tree form. Still, it'll be heartbreaking demolishing this magnificent piece.
Don't be fooled by the pristine white appearance - this is dark chocolate sprayed white. Gorgeous dashes of colour add pizazz to an already jazzy centrepiece.
'Carillon Gourmand' Christmas Tree
£129 | 1.45kg | White or Dark chocolate | Available in-store only
If you can't part with £1,000, there's a more pocket-friendly alternative that would equally stop the show on Christmas Day.
The 'Carillon Gourmand' Christmas Tree is around a tenth of the price, but will certainly make a lasting impression at any festive dinner party or Christmas gathering.
The tree is made from either house dark or house white chocolate, and is decorated with six Praline Sleigh Bells. Beneath, two drawers conceal 36 truffles and 36 Praline Sleigh Bells - perfect for sharing with guests.
Chocolate Sleigh Bells
£9.90 | 54g | Milk or Dark chocolate | Available in-store only
Want a taste of the high life but without breaking the bank? This gorgeous pair of chocolate Christmas bells cost under a tenner, and are still full of Marcolini charm and flavour.
The milk chocolate Duo of Chocolate Sleigh Bells features an XL milk chocolate bell with nougat, paired with its miniature sibling. The dark chocolate version stars praliné instead.
If you find yourself in London, head to Marylebone and buy yourself a treat from Santa. You won't regret it.
Love at First Sight Rare Whiskies & Rums
In Autumn, Marcolini launched a range of rare tea chocolates. Winter's theme is rare whiskies and rum. Available in boxes of 18 or 36, each selection contains six varieties:
- Dark chocolate ganache with Aberlour single malt whisky.
- Dark chocolate ganache with Nikka whisky.
- Banana caramel with Charamel rum.
- Vanilla salted caramel with Oban whisky.
- Piedmont hazelnut praline with Ardbeg single-malt whiskey.
- Piedmont hazelnut praline with Trois Rivières rum.
A Winter’s Tale Christmas Cake
£49 | 530g | Available in-store only
After the Sleigh Bell Christmas tree, this Winter’s Tale Christmas Cake has a place in my heart. It's a signature item from 2019 and features a light chocolate mousse atop a layer of Black Forest biscuit. A cashew nut crisp, mixed with sunflower and pumpkin seeds, forms the decorations. At its heart is a Tahitian vanilla crème brûlée.
This cake should feed up to six people, so it's another product ideally suited for dinner parties. If you find Christmas pudding too stodgy after your Christmas lunch, this decadent chocolate pudding might be right up your street.
Other highlights from the Christmas collection include:
- The cute Praline Sleigh Bells come in boxes of 18 (£21; 187.5g) or 36 (£39; 375g) and feature festive centres including nougat, vanilla, coffee, cinnamon, hazelnut, and pistachio. Two boxes of nine - ideal for giving as gifts - are priced at £23.90 for the pair (187.5g).
- The round advent calendar (£49) decorated with a wonderful festive scene. This 175g snow globe-style advent calendar is filled with 24 assorted chocolates.
- Hollow 160g Saint Nicholas figurines in milk, white, and dark chocolate (£14.90) mean the kids won't be left out.
Which of these fabulous treats catches your eye? Let me know in the comments below.