Chantal Coady’s Rococo has always delighted in offering fine chocolates which are at once witty and delightful. This Easter sees Rococo bringing out Bird of Paradise eggs, presented in the small, clear plastic packaging usually used to hold fresh quail’s eggs. The cardboard sleeve, however, has been designed by Chantal Coady and resembles a piece of rich brocade, adorned with a purple pattern and three sinuous, long-necked colourful birds of paradise, suggesting that the contents of this little egg box will be rather more exotic.
Opening the box releases a noticeable chocolate aroma and reveals the eggs – a darkly-gleaming, sophisticated-looking clutch of twelve dainty dark chocolate eggs, discreetly decorated with three different patterns reflecting the assorted flavours within. The chocolate itself gleams with the burnished shine of well-tempered chocolate. Each egg divides neatly into two filled halves, in effect, doubling the twelve eggs into 24 chocolates.
The egg flecked with tiny green and silver speckles, delivers an immediate and vivid rosemary flavour, with a delicate hint of passion fruit. The crunch of the crisp chocolate as you bite into it contrasts nicely with the soft flowing caramel and there is a lovely acidity from the chocolate at the finish.
The egg dashingly decorated with bold lime green squiggles is filled with kalamansi lime caramel, an unusual citrus flavour which combines well with the thick-textured, luxuriously smooth caramel. The citrus and the caramel are very well-balanced indeed – neither over-sweet not over-sour – creating a harmonious, nuanced flavour.
The gleaming, iridescent bronze egg contains Rococo’s most recently developed flavoured caramel. Biting into it, delivers first the distinctive almond-y notes of tonka bean, with the subtle notes of an elusive mandarin flavour also discernible. As with all the caramels, it is beautifully balanced, allowing the intriguing flavours to come through without overpowering them.
Not only are these eggs beautiful to look at, they are a real pleasure to eat. The elegant flavours of these eggs are a tribute to the considerable skills and talents of Rococo’s Principal Chocolatier Barry Johnson who has developed them, with the caramels handmade by Johnson and his team. The harmonious way in which Johnson balances the flavoured caramels with the chocolate shells in the individual eggs is mirrored by the Birds of Paradise Eggs collection as a whole. Cleverly, the three caramel flavours – Passion Fruit and Rosemary, Kalamansi Lime and Mandarin and Tonka Bean - while each distinctive from each other, work very well together, with the trio of flavours each offering a similarly sophisticated taste sensation in the tangy citrus spectrum. Eating the eggs, with the contrast between the glossy, firm-textured chocolate and the smooth-textured caramel filling, which glides over the tongue, melting on it, is a sensuous experience to relish and enjoy. Really and truly, a taste of paradise.