Britain has been recently surprising gourmands from all over the world with its artisanal products. The level of their international competitiveness rised like a rocket to the moon in full speed. Chocolate is not an exception, and a number of “choco” stars has been rising over the recent years. One of them is Paul A. Young, the talented chocolatier that incorporates unusual flavours and adjusts them to current seasons. Paul is one of the rare chocolatiers based in a global city, while still working in a truly artisan way. He set the bar for many upcoming young chocolate makers in the UK (one of his apprentices has founded the bean-to-bar LAND chocolates). Everything is made by the founder and his team by hand at his London workshop and all ingredients are purely natural. No artificial flavour enhancers or “made from a concentrate” juices are used. Just the plain old sugar remained because it is considered to work best with top quality chocolate.
AWARDS AND PRODUCTS
His creativity and quest for finding the right balance of flavours won him multiple awards including the ‘Chocolate Gold Winner’ in 2009 from the Academy of Chocolate and ‘Best Sea Salted Caramel in the World‘.
I have tried this highly celebrated piece of a sticky creamy, well-condensed and softly melting chocolate bar and must add that I cannot imagine a better choice with a cup of a deep roasted espresso (my barrister sister recommends Brazilian beans). The sticky caramel filling adds sweetness to your aromatic coffee and if you bite solely into it, you might be surprised with the slightly salty aftertaste that the salt in the caramel unveils. The final crescendo of salt serves to freshen up your palate after the sweet and sticky start. The dark chocolate from Madagascar (64%) enveloping the creamy caramel filling is tender, therefore I would recommend to put in the fridge for a while so you don’t end up with sticky fingers messy from chocolate and leaking caramel. It is quite fragile so handle it with care (otherwise it will end up like the one on the picture below) and savour in small amounts.
Another bar I have tried and liked a lot was:
67% SINGLE ORIGIN SANTO DOMINGO CARIBBEAN dark chocolate bar
Smooth and milky texture even though there is no milk inside. Touch of natural hazelnut aroma coming from the cocoa beans adds complexity. Melts softly and is balanced and suitable for the dark chocolate beginners. Leaves long filling aftertaste and is enjoyable on its own.
His truffles, ganaches and chocolate bars range from £2 to £65.00 for a 42 piece box.
Paul worked as a head pastry chef for Marco Pierre White at Quo Vadis and Criterion restaurants in London and in 2006 he opened his first chocolate shop.
Today, there are three chocolate boutiques in London including the flagship store on Wardour Street in Soho (addresses bellow).
His first book ‘Adventures with Chocolate’ won the ‘World’s Best Chocolate Book’ at the Gourmand Cookbook Awards in Paris. It discloses some of his recipes as well as gives you more insight into the cocoa world.
I love the flagship store in London’s Soho. Entering the small but old times recalling boutique, equipped with wooden furniture, one smells and senses that this is not just another sweet shop in a big city, but a place that is handled with care. The products are orderly displayed on trays and wooden shelves, there are some to be tasted on the spot as a treat, and during cold months there is a pot with a real thick hot chocolate, a warming cup of which you can take away. The shop assistants are very friendly, professional and helpful so do not hesitate to ask them anything so they can find the right treat for you. After all each of us might have different taste preferences, so if you do not like dark chocolate, you can have some delicious milk truffles and if you are adventures taste seeker, then you can try one of the Young’s unique creations. The cocoa bean printed wallpaper behind the counter not only looks great, but reminds what this place is really about – the great cocoa-based product – chocolate.
Flagship store is at 143 Wardour Street, Soho, London, W1F 8WA.
+44 20 7437 0011
OTHER LONDON STORES:
33 Camden Passage, Islington, London, N1 8EA; +44 20 7424 5750. Open: Tue – Sun
20, Royal Exchange, Threadneedle St, London, EC3V 3LP; +44 20 7929 7007. Open: Mon – Fri