The ‘Bean to Bar’ Experience at The Chocolate Quarter

Those of you who follow the blog regularly will know of my penchant for independent businesses, chocolate and good company, so when I was invited to a ‘Bean to Bar’ Christmas chocolate event at The Chocolate Quarter in Birmingham, I couldn’t get there fast enough.

I’ve been lucky enough to attend several events at the family-run store, established less than a year ago in the Jewellery Quarter by Kempes, Maninder and Jay, and it is my favourite place to buy bespoke, handmade (and quite frankly, rather delicious) luxury chocolates. Indeed, I’ve made sure to purchase some whenever I’m in the area, something that The Bloke has certainly appreciated when I’ve returned home with new flavours to try. It’s the ultimate place for chocoholics and I absolutely love the warm welcome I receive whenever I go in. Continue reading

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An Evening at The Chocolate Quarter

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On Wednesday I attended a bloggers event at The Chocolate Quarter, a family-run independent chocolate shop, owned by Jay, Maninder and Kempes in the Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham.

I’ve been to the store before – a few months ago I visited and tested a whole range of products available, and I was excited to share the experience with everyone else. As chocolate is a topic that fits with every niche, there were beauty, lifestyle, food and personal bloggers, all armed with cameras and eager to try the different flavours of offer. I’ve attended a number of food, beauty and lifestyle events before and many follow a similar pattern, but this became, as was explained, an experience, and a fabulous one at that.

Jay spent some time explaining where their chocolate was sourced, asking us to try samples from different parts of the world and allowing the chocolate to melt slowly on the tongue. He then gave a demonstration on how to create our own truffles, which was far more complicated than I expected. We were given melted chocolate in bowls, tempered it to a temperature of 33 degrees, filled the chocolate moulds with a strong caramel, capped and covered them in chocolate, and then coated them with a choice of powdered sugar, coconut or cocoa powder. Yum. I must admit, it was a huge effort on my part not to just stick my whole face in the bowl… Continue reading

The Chocolate Quarter, Birmingham

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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. Continue reading

Quick and Easy Nutella Brownie Cake

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Those of you who follow me on Pinterest may have noticed the amount of things I regularly re-pin on my ‘Desserts’ board. In fact, I can quite easily spend hours salivating over beautiful recipes, making a promise to myself that one day, I would actually bother to try them.

Unfortunately, I’m no Nigella, and while I can cook the basics, baking has never been something I have been particularly successful with. The Bloke, however, thoroughly enjoys it and our cupboards are filled with various trays and things that I have no idea what they do…

That is, until I discovered a recipe for brownies that used only three ingredients – a jar of Nutella (which I can eat just with a spoon), eggs and flour. Bargain. However, as I was following the recipe I found that my own attempts looked nothing like the pictures, so I added my own additional ingredient.

Thirty minutes later, I discovered that my ‘brownies’ had in fact turned into the most beautiful sponge I had ever made. Light, fluffy, gorgeous… Even The Bloke was impressed when I proudly presented him with a large piece, smothered in more Nutella and topped with mini-marshmallows and chopped hazelnuts.

I’ve since tried it twice more, and each time I get the same result, so I thought I’d share it with you. Continue reading