Valentine’s Day is probably the chocolate industry’s major events of the entire year, but we don’t often see a great package of creativity entering Valentine’s products. There happen to be countless heart-shaped chocolates in crimson packaging, but it’s exceptional to see much interest paid out to the flavors themselves.
This collection from Paul A caught my attention partly since it appears fabulous (Paul’s chocolates always do), but mainly for the idea and focus on detail which has gone into creating it. The motif of the collection is romantic city destinations, hence the initial thing Paul and his workforce is to create a set of locations that both had intimate connotations and distinctive flavors that would function in a bar of chocolate. That probably ruled Cleethorpes and Slough (two of my preferred chocolate destinations) out from the start.
The beautiful thing is that they’ve been able to think of a group of destinations and chocolates that fulfill both criteria, and they’re really alternatively good. They are:
Marrakesh - Mint leaves, tea and rose petals, Valrhona 72% Venezuelan chocolate.
Paris - Fontaine Absinthe, lump sugar, and normal water, Valrhona 64% Dominican Republic chocolate.
NY - Vanilla cheesecake, Valrhona Light chocolate, Madagascan Vanilla bean, digestive biscuit, Valrhona 72% Venezuelan chocolate.
Seville - Marmalade ganache, toasted almonds, Valrhona 64% Madaagascan.
Lisbon - Pastel de nata (Portuguese custard tart) truffle, Madagascan vanilla bean, Valrhona white chocolate, Caramelized milk chocolate, wafer pieces.
Istanbul - Pistachio, honey and fig caramel, 67% Michel Cluizel Saint Dominique.
Copenhagen - Romkugler, chocolate cake, Appleton estate rum, 70% Valrhona.
Dublin - Guinness truffle with soda bread, 65% Duffys Dominican Republic.
Edinburgh - Glen Moray Port cask whiskey, oats, and salt, 83% Duffys Ecuadorian.
London - Sacred distillery Gin, Bermondsey tonic drinking water and lime, 64% Michel Cluizel Papua New Guinea.
Venice - Mascarpone, basil and limoncello, Valrhona, 66% Caribbean.
From the descriptions alone, you can tell just how much work has truly gone into this collection, but as is often the case with Paul A Young’s chocolates, the flavors themselves are surprising, delightful and delicious.
I love each one of these chocolates, both for the flavor combinations and the meanings behind the chocolates. Standouts for me will be the ‘London’ Gin & Tonic chocolate, the ‘New York’, which really does taste such as cheesecake, and ‘Venice’ with its creamy texture and subtle Limoncello flavor.
As if creating a distinctive assortment of chocolates wasn’t plenty of, you can also buy this Pink Praline Brownie. I’m fairly specific the inspiration because of this came from chocolate maker Pralus’ famous “Praluline” - a brioche loaf filled with nice, pink praline pieces. The Pralus brioche is usually among my favorite foods on earth, and they’ve been replicated faithfully in this brownie.
If I have a problem with it, it’s simply that there aren’t more than enough praline parts and it’s difficult to find them, as a result, they don’t have quite the visual impression the brioche has. That’s an issue though, and like most Paul A brownies, this one is delicious and the praline gives both texture and flavor to the mixture.
As well in the Valentines collection is this Dessert Dome. A sweet Madagascan chocolate dome with a center at the top that’s packed with an intense raspberry lowering. It’s a considerable piece that is easy enough to get dessert on its own, then one that’s sure to appeal to lovers of fruit flavor chocolates.
Finally, for those who like the traditional, presently there happen to be solid milk and dark chocolate hearts decorated with silver and gold leaf. They’re very very, but if you’re thinking about investing in me Valentine’s gift, I’d very much rather have the Destinations container of chocolates… please?