I love independent stores, and I love chocolate (to be fair, who doesn’t?), so when I heard an independent chocolate store had opened in the Jewellery Quarter I knew I had to pay it a visit as quickly as possible.
The Chocolate Quarter only opened it’s doors in February, and is a family business, owned and managed by Kempes, Maninder and Jay. It specialises in luxury handmade chocolates with unique flavour combinations.
I was greeted at the door by Jay, who was offering samples to members of the public who had taken an interest in their beautiful window display. Awesome. The store is beautiful, with clean lines, a nice layout and a haven for anyone who adores all things chocolate. There were individual chocolates behind the counter display, along with some of the most beautiful Easter eggs I’ve ever seen, all of them hand decorated in chocolate. There were chocolate bars, hot chocolate sticks, hampers, boxes of different shapes and sizes… I truly was a kid in a candy store.
What I quickly discovered was that Jay didn’t just make and develop chocolates, but he knew everything about the process, and was passionate in explaining where they obtained their ingredients from. He showed me two different samples of chocolate drops – a 75% from south of the equator, and a 76% from on the equator, and I was genuinely surprised at how different it was, with the 76% sample being much more smooth, without the bitter aftertaste that would normally be expected from such dark chocolate.
I got to sample several types of chocolate (as well as being treated to a hot chocolate to go with them) – some of them being in the development process, and some only available with the purchase of an Easter egg. There was a white chocolate with lemon and lime ganache, a caramel with passion fruit purée, and a salted caramel. Each one was delicious, and I was surprised at the different levels of flavour that developed from such a small mouthful. The chocolates are all handmade at the store, and the family are always keen to experiment with new textures and flavours, from purées, to flavour extractions and fusions. They are also developing a range of occasion and seasonal chocolates, in particular focusing on Diwali, which is an inspiring idea. I loved it – I loved their passion, their enthusiasm and their plans for the store, and their low sugar, high quality ingredients has created a beautiful product!
As well as being treated to the lovely samples, I took a box of different flavours home with me (I don’t think The Bloke – AKA Mr Chocolate Monster – would have forgiven me if I didn’t). I’m a sucker for professional packaging, and the box that they were presented in looked lovely. These were just some of the ones I tried:
Amaretto and marzipan
Aztec Gold Chilli and Lime
Cherry Bakewell (my favourite dessert)
Lemon and Thyme
Sea Salt Caramel
They were all special – I had certainly never tried some of these flavours before – and each was gorgeous. Not too sweet, nicely balanced, and would be perfect as a beautiful gift for someone special too.
Need more information?
You can order from them directly online at their website here (and you need to get your Easter egg orders in fast!)
You can follow them on their Twitter page @ChocQtr
Disclaimer: I didn’t pay for any of the samples I tried and I received a discount on extra chocolates that I purchased. However, I was under no obligation to provide a positive review…