Chocolate Doesn't Complain ...
If you're a massive chocolate lover, you need to get yourself on A Chocolate Ecstasy Tour in London stat.
Ugh I’ve got a problem. This is why you can’t take me on chocolate tours. Or anywhere where food is involved. That’s probably the moral of this story.
All of this after I’d made a point of eating a STUPID salad for dinner. Stupid, stupid salad filled with fresh asparagus, chicken, roasted tomatoes, barley and plenty of nutritious greens. Might as well have had some Mickey D’s at this rate.
Possibly the worst thing about it all is that I’d eaten 40 pieces of chocolate the day prior!! I’d like to pretend that I’m kidding. But I’m not. I’m a monster.
You’re either sat there thinking:
A) Wow she’s the woman of my dreams. Definitely on board with eating with someone all day long.
B) Where in the world can I book myself a ticket on this amazing tour?
Because 40 pieces of chocolate in one day is excessive. But let’s face it, you didn’t go on a chocolate tour to have a measly fingernail-sized sample at 5 mediocre half-chocolate/half-cupcake shops. You know the tours I’m talking about. The ones that cost around £15 (or if you’re lucky a Groupon deal for £5), where you’re stuffed into any shop that will give you the day’s scraps with 30 other people. No thank you. I’ll go buy 10 Reese’s and eat them on a park bench instead.
Better yet, I’d happily dish out £45 for a three-hour neighbourhood historical stroll, stopping off for a chocolate tasting and participating in a mini lesson on the history and cultivation of chocolate from someone who has actually studied and tested chocolate for years across the world.
I don’t quite know how we managed to show up late to Chocolate Ecstasy Tour’s Sunday Chelsea tour given I was bouncing off the walls with excitement. But not all things in life come with an explanation. The group was halfway through introducing themselves and their favourite chocolate when I stuttered my way through some childhood Kinder Egg Advent Calendar sob story before Jennifer Earle, the founder and day’s guide, began breaking down what chocolate is.
She handed each of us a round dark piece of 60% chocolate, placing it on the back of our hand so as to keep it from melting as quickly as would happen in your palm. Encouraging us to take a whiff, we then bit down and let it melt on our tongue. Had we been allowed to look at a tasting wheel, we might have more readily picked up a few hints of fruit or cinnamon. Explaining that a good quality chocolate’s flavour could remain on your tongue for 10 minutes or so, she left us patiently waiting for the taste test.
We began with a teeny piece of 100% dark chocolate. It was bitter and slightly acidic, but straight away I felt satisfied. I could have concluded the chocolate tour right there as my cravings had been slashed. But we continued, gradually making our way down to 60%. Only now it tasted extremely sweet, and as we headed into the milk variety, I found it a bit sickly. Not that it stopped me… We each picked two truffles, a difficult decision given the vast variety including pumpkin pie, earl grey, bakewell tart and pink champagne. And once those were well rested in our tummies, we munched on a limitless supply of flavoured chocolate bars before being handed a bottle of water and making our way to a macaron shop.
With London rain on full display that day, we warmed ourselves with a cup of hot cocoa and truffles in Roald Dahl’s favourite chocolate shop. By this point I’d turned a little moody knowing our final stop was almost upon us. But when we arrived and Jennifer mentioned unlimited chocolate truffles at our every command, OH MY GOD and I immediately turned into an uncontrollable Augustus Gloop. I was in heaven plopping every apple crumble, pine nut and truffle, caramel, praline, cardamom, tarragon and yuzu truffle into my gob. I was actually a kid in a candy shop. And then I met the pistachio pearl. Chocolate will never be the same.
Now you’re thinking, she only ate 40 pieces of chocolate to get her money’s worth. Well in the interest of full disclosure, I was invited on this tour. I just have no willpower. And the way I look at it is this: I’ve had people spend upwards of £20 or £40 on a box of chocolates for me (and vice versa). And what do I do with that box? I give the fruity truffles to my flatmate. I take a bite of pieces I think I’d like, devour the ones I do, but place the half-eaten ones back in the box for my flatmate. Then I get angry when my flatmate has eaten a truffle I probably would have liked because yes, I actually needed that truffle and I won’t be able to survive without it. Now I can easily say, I adore this chocolatier and I’d love a lifetime supply of those pistachio pearls. So in the grand scheme of things, this tour is excellent value for money and you’ll fall just as much in love with Jennifer as you do with the chocolate.
The best bit? I’ve got the Mayfair and Notting Hill chocolate tours to look forward to. And with the weather warming up, my eyes on her Ice Cream Ecstasy. But I must resist purchasing all the goodies whilst on the tour. It’s just dangerous…
*I was a guest on Chocolate Ecstasy Tours but given I only write when I’ve got time, you know it’s going to be honest and about something I’ve thoroughly enjoyed.