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May 9, 2009

Butterflies that Melt

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Written by: Martin Christy
Melt lollipops

Melt lollipops

Having dashed round the Real Food Festival and caught up with a few chocolate friends, I moved on to Notting Hill chocolatier Melt to catch up with their latest news and products.

To celebrate the onset of summer, the ever inventive Melt have a special colourful collection of round chocolates, which are made in small daily batches and designed by Melt chocolatier Chika Watanabe.

Butterfly collection

The butterfly collection

The butterfly collection

Lychee and strawberry is a soft fondant with a flavour delicately dominated by the lychee – I mostly get the strawberry in the nose. The delicacy is in contrast to the dark chocolate used, which is quite tart – I suspect Santander 70%. I’m not usually a fondent fan, but this is high on fruit, light and not too sweet (maybe it’s more of a white chocolate ganache?)

I like yuzu – a small Japanese citrus with a flavour between grapefruit and mandarin, having tried ganaches from William Curley and bars by Laurent Gerbaud. Adding rosemary to this is a bold move, which just about works, though it’s a fine line adding that herbal note to citrus. At first I found it off and a little shocking, but got more used to it by the second piece. Reminds me of a fruit tea, good fruity flavour but slightly tannic. Lingers well. Careful biting into this as it can squidge a bit.

Marzipan and cherry kirsch is not exactly a summer flavour, but smells fruity and light. This is well balanced and marzipan is not at all heavy. Neither flavour would be my favourite, but together the combination is quite munchable.

I guess you can’t make a summer collection all fruit, but ginger seems to suggest a wintry offering rather than summer days. This is a straight-forward milk ganache (Jivara?), and is suitably light. The ginger flavour seems more like dried powdered than fresh, but this is not necessarily a negative and I could be wrong.

Coffee cardamom seems like another winter flavour, and is a similar milk ganache. After an initial coffee hit, I find this a little sweet, but then I might be expected to say that. The cardamom is just about there and the after taste is not so strong. I preferred the ginger though.

Lychee and strawberry and the marzipan are my favourites of the collection. I would have liked to have seen a couple more summer flavours in there, but this is definitely a nice set of chocolates to check out and should go down well at early summer dinner parties.

Ice cream

Ice cream flavours

Ice cream flavours

Melt also have a new ice cream range, and have an inventive display of teacups just inside the shop to illustrate the flavour range. The ice cream is made with an unusual technique – the ingredients are frozen down to -20c, then a gold bladed blender creates a light sorbet-like texture in a mere 20 seconds.

The chocolate flavour was made with Santander Colombian origin, which did it’s job, and the vanilla was pretty good, but the strawberry was a clear winner for me, and will go down a treat on sunny days in Ledbury Road. (Blustery cold winds were blowing today though, not quite so conducive.)

Limited edition bars

New bars

New bars

So I have here no. 77 of 500 dark bars made with Felchlin‘s Cru Savage 68% from Bolivian beans. This is said by Felchlin to be made from wild cacao, but I always take such claims with a pinch of salt. The source is no doubt obscure and hard to reach (and looks beautiful, I want to visit), but it’s still cared for and maintained by the locals, so ‘wild’ is perhaps not quite the right word.

The chocolate is sweet, with mild roasted hazelnut notes, very slightly tannic, creamy and a light top. (Tiny hints of cranberries.) Aftertaste is coffee and there is some sourness. Cru Savage is a good eating chocolate, not spectacular but it would be on my eating list. Melt have done a good job with the remelting and tempering – you wouldn’t think it, but it’s quite possible to destroy a good chocolate at this stage.

I also got to try a 50% cocoa solids single plantation Madagascar bar, which means it must be Cluizel Mangaro. I got a rather off-putting parafin note in the nose, which was still present in the initial taste. I’m not sure if that’s something that’s come in from Melt’s re-working or it’s just an effect of Cluizel’s milk process, which is always quite yoghurty. (A kind of very up-market Hershey’s kiss.)

Given the recent mixed batches we’ve seen of Mangaro, this could also be an interaction with the beans and possibly over-roasting. Once past this we’re into milky creaminess. Not everyone like’s Cluizel’s milk style, but if you’re a fan, you’ll find this one of the better milk’s.

Info

Melt
59 Ledbury Road
Notting Hill
London
W11 2AA
Mon-Sat 9am-6pm, Sun 11am-4pm

Tel: +44 (0)20 7727 5030
Web:  www.meltchocolates.com



About the Author

Martin Christy
Martin Christy is Seventy%’s editor and founder and is a leading voice in the chocolate industry, promoting the cause of fine chocolate and fine cacao and those who produce them. With twenty years’ experience of fine chocolate, he has travelled extensively visiting cocoa plantations and meeting the world’s top producers and is a consultant to the fine chocolate and cacao growing industries worldwide. Martin is Judging Director of the International Chocolate Awards, which he founded in the UK with Kate Johns of Chocolate Week. He is also Acting Chairman of the new fine cacao and chocolate industry association, Direct Cacao and is a member of the Heirloom Cacao Preservation Initiative Tasting Panel. He is also a freelance writer about fine chocolate, contributing to UK magazines and several books about fine chocolate.




 
 

 
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