I love to see new businesses start up, and even more so to see them do well. When someone with a passion and a skill decides to take it to the next level, I wish them all the luck in the world!
This week I was lucky enough to be invited to a bloggers event after the recent opening of a new chocolate shop in the Jewellery Quarter in Birmingham, which was aptly named The Chocolate Quarter. It is a family run chocolate making business, selling a unique range of their very own creations, and these guys like to get creative!
On arriving I was given a very warm and friendly welcome from Jay, who ran the store along side his family and delivered our evening, sharing his extensive knowledge on the creation of chocolate, and shared many samples from around the world, made from beans from far away countries such as Tanzania, Madagascar and Ecuador.
Not long after we arrived, we were all offered a hot chocolate, although I can’t lie about the fact I was slightly disappointed to find out it was made with water, and not milk, like I am used to. Jay was only too happy to explain that the milk dilutes the taste of chocolate and using water helps to bring out the proper flavours. Given that we were clearly not using cheap powdered supermarket chocolate here, you could see exactly what he meant. It was delicious, and yes was an instant convert, and yes I went back for more!
We were also lucky enough to be privy to some new samples for their as yet unreleased Fathers Day range, with flavours such as Stout, Bacon and Whiskey. The stout was a clear favourite with a number of us!
The next part was a lesson in tempering chocolate, the intricate details of heating and cooling the chocolate to create the perfect shine and ‘snap’, and then after being shown, creating our own truffles. It wasn’t rocket science, but still sadly looked like my two year old daughter had sat in my place and tried her hand at giving it a go, but in my defence it was my first attempt! There was chocolate everywhere, but thankfully a whole lot of thought had clearly been put into this evening for us and they had covered all number of details. We were particularly grateful for the disposable aprons, wipes and gloves! They even gave us presentation boxes to take our creations home in after we had coated them in cocoa, icing sugar and coconut!
With our leftover tempered chocolate we were treated to a fantastic fondue with a whole assortment of fruits, doughnuts, honeycomb and Turkish delights. It was the kinda moment when you drop all thoughts of slimming world, weight watchers or how tight your jeans have become and lose yourself in chocolately drunkenness! All nicely washed down with a glass of Prosecco.
At the end of the evening, before we left we even had the chance to purchased some discounted chocolates to fill the rest of our presentation box, from an amazing selection of flavours. It was so hard to decided which ones to pick without shouting “ALL OF THEM… GIVE ME ALL OF THEM!!”.
I managed to whittle it down to coffee & buttery caramel, viennese truffle, sea salt praline, amaretto & marzipan and violet cream before tearing myself away and running to the car to avoid spending a small fortune in there!
The Chocolate Quarter is definitely worth a visit for anyone wanting an experience, not just a box of chocolates! This wonderful warm and friendly family are only too happy to take the time to talk you through the chocolate and try samples, and the personality that shines through makes other chain based chocolate shops look cold, clinical and run by amateurs!
Will I be going back? You bet!
They can be found at http://www.thechocolatequarter.com/