The Story of Chocolate
The History of Chocolates
Our handmade chocolates have come a long way from the health giving bitter drink of the ancient Central and South American tribes, discovered by Spanish explorers in the 16th century.
Their history combines developments made by chocolatiers across Europe. The English invented a process for making solid chocolate bars in 1847, the French and Swiss created their exclusive truffles from the melted chocolate and cream and then in 1912 the Belgian's introduced the use of solid chocolate as cases (or couvertures) for their delicate nut pastes. And let's not forget the Italians who wrapped chocolate in silver paper to send as love tokens. Each has contributed to the individual handmade chocolates we love to eat and give as gifts and tokens of affection today.
English chocolates have their own unique history and it is these quintessentially English developments that have inspired the Heritage range of handmade chocolates.
Chocolate was somewhat overlooked by the English explorers, being brought to England by a French man who opened the first chocolate shop in London in 1657. But it was the Englishman Joseph Fry who invented that key process for creating solid chocolate in 1847. Unique to England is the development of strong flavours, combining bitter dark chocolate with for example, ginger, mint and the oils of rose and violet. Excellence in English chocolate making was recognised by Queen Victoria by giving the best English companies a royal appointment and we still enjoy those quintessentially English flavours today.
Exclusive handmade chocolates use all natural use all natural ingredients. The chocolate contains only 100% cocoa butter and uses a natural bourbon vanilla. The fillings use local ingredients whereever possible with cream from a local dairy, flower oils from Yorkshire and butter from over the border in Lancashire. We use the finest Belgian chocolate but follow the traditional English taste for a bitter dark chocolate and a milk chocolate that is light and creamy with a lisght caramel taste. The dark chocolate has a high cocoa content with a minimum of 70% cocoa solids, the milk chocolate has 30% minimum cocoa solids and white chocolate 28%. The centres combine the best of Continental and English flavours and textures. From smooth fondant sugar creams, to luzurius Swiss style truffles, delicious smooth hazelnut and chocolate giandujas and textured hazelnut pralines.
Before making any handmade chocolate couverture, the chocolate has to be tempered which is essential to maximise the taste portential of fine chocolate.
Like melting, tempering heats the chocolate to take it from its solid state to a liquid that is stable enough to work with. The skill of tempering is to control and change the temperature of the chocolate to rearrange the structure of the cocoa butter crystals. ensuring that when it sets again it displays a subtle surface sheen and a clear snap when broken or bitten.
All the fillings for Exclusive chocolates are prepared by hand. The couverture is either prepared in a mould or the chocolates are hand dipped in the tempered chocolate.
The history of chocolate, the Continental chocolatiers, our unique English relationship with chocolate and the quality of ingredients and chocolate making all play thier role in making Exclusive chocolates taste so good. To help you get the most from your chocolates we thought it would be useful to give you a brief guide to chocolate tasting. We have attached this as a pdf for you to print out and read through before you start your next box of Exclusive handmade chocolates.