All About Fine Chocolate by Cat Black

  • Michelin Starred Chocolate – Graham Garrett at The West House.

    March 25, 2014

    One of my occasional series on the stellar chocolate emerging from Michelin-starred kitchens.

    Chocolate Dessert, Graham Garrett

    The glory of chocolate, apart from the obvious seductive and infinite variation of tastes, is how much can be done with it. I can and will play the ultimate chocolate nerd, in rapturous analysis over the true-to-bean purity of the unadorned dark bar. But equally I love all that chocolatiers are doing, marrying this richly complex ingredient with other flavours and textures. Take this one step further, bring in the patissier, and the potential number...

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  • Masters of French Chocolate – Jean Paul Hévin

    March 11, 2014

    Just in case you were thinking I had wholly lost my heart to Italy I will prove my chocolate promiscuity here with a report on one of the best in Paris.

    Jean Paul Hevin book

    In the smart environs of the boulevards of the first arrondissement, nestled alongside the smartest of Parisian boutiques, is the chicer than chic Rue St Honoré boutique of Jean Paul Hévin. It is a shrine to fine French chocolate, and there is a constant stream of the elegant and the in-the-know popping in for their cacao fix. [caption id="attachment_1937" align="alignnone" width="506"] The boutique front on the Rue St Honore.[/caption] There are bonbons, ganaches and pralines to satisfy...

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  • The Best of Italy – Slitti

    February 25, 2014

    In Tuscany I visited a chocolate maker whose mastery of beans began with coffee.

    Slitti Chocolate bars.

    On the Tuscan valley leg of my Italian tour with the wonderful Monica Meschini I was lucky enough to meet one of the great men of Italian sweet indulgence. We had an audience with Andrea Slitti, of Slitti Chocolate. Of course I had heard of Slitti, and been lucky enough to taste a fair few of their things thanks to their success in the International Chocolate Awards. In the 2012 world finals they scooped the...

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  • Valentines Chocolates

    February 11, 2014

    Here is my pick of delicious things worthy of your loved one.

    Rococo LIttle Hearts and Lips

    ‘If music be the food of love……’ Yes, I know how it goes, but much as I love music, from Albinoni to Zimmerman, surely the food of love is chocolate! So, at this romantic time of year, whether you are loved up or feeling unloved, there is chocolate aplenty to give him indoors, her not yet won over, or just cut out the middle man and give yourself some love. Here is a little round up of...

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  • The Best of Italy – Guido Castagna

    January 28, 2014

    In the second in my series on Italian masters I meet the peerless Guido Castagna.

    Guido Castagna Gianduiotti.

    During my time in Turin I was invited into the inner sanctum of Guido Castagna, one of the finest chocolatiers and chocolate makers in Italy. He is one of a rare breed, making chocolates and fine patisserie, but also making all the chocolate he uses himself, from the bean. This chocolate is superb, and is one reason why his things are so delicious. That is also down to his rigour and passion, which infuses every...

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  • The Best of Italy – Pariani

    January 14, 2014

    This is the first in my series of reports back from an Italian sweet food odyssey.

    Pariani

    In the first of my reports on my Italian tour I am going to start at the beginning, with my first visit, but also at the core of Italian chocolates. The piece isn’t about chocolate, or at least not directly, but I promise you that Pariani is as important to my story of the best in Italy as any of the chocolate makers I have visited there. Pariani is an exceptional producer of all things nutty,...

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  • My Chocolate Top Ten of 2013

    December 31, 2013

    Happy New Year everyone! Here is my look back at a fantastic chocolate year.

    Grenada Chocolate with bar.

    2013 has been quite a year for chocolate. It has seen Salon du Chocolat come to London for the first time. The International Chocolate Awards has had a stunning second year, with new regional heats, a wider international entry, amazing success for the UK, and fantastic discoveries worldwide. I have been lucky enough to serve as Grand Jury so can assure you that the world of fine chocolate is in very exciting shape. The tragic death...

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  • Rabot 1745 – Cocoa Cuisine hits London.

    December 18, 2013

    If you are looking for somewhere delicious and new to go out to eat in London, I have a recommendation for you.

    rabot exterior

    I am a full-blown chocolate nerd. My interest is bottomless, my appetite matches it. But chocolate in every course, hors d’oeuvre, main course as well as pudding? I can’t say I am sure about that. In a radio interview for Overseas Radio in late 2012, while being grilled on all things chocolate in Paris, my interviewer asked me what my take was on chocolate in savoury food. The extreme elegance of the foie gras at...

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Cat Black

Cat BlackI am a food writer, with special interest in, and huge enthusiasm for, chocolate! This blog is where I get to tell you about all the wonderful tastes, events, and people I come across in the world of chocolate.

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