All About Fine Chocolate by Cat Black

  • 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.


    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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  • Chocolate Christmas Shopping – Part 2

    December 3, 2013

    There is so much Christmas chocolate goodness out there that I couldn't fit it into just one post.


    In some respects chocolate is a bit like fashion, it has to reinvent itself to present new offerings around a succession of seasons. It is retail after all, and those punters need sparkles to draw them in. Hence the proliferation of foil, and the re-boxing of the usual with santa themed excess packaging. However the world of chocolate that I know contains a wealth of passion and talent that never ceases to amaze me. These...

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  • Chocolate Christmas Shopping – part 1

    November 19, 2013

    My pick of what is out there to sweeten up your loved ones.

    angel and pudding chococo

    In my book chocolate is a year round thing. But I do know that it ramps up at this time of year, and quite right too, it makes the most perfect present. Almost everybody loves chocolate, and there is none of that choosing something that someone is obliged to wear/use/display (delete as appropriate) each time you visit. And while everyone always has too much to eat anyway, it is also when waistbands are undone and...

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  • My Salon du Chocolat week in Paris

    November 5, 2013

    It's that time of year again in the city of love. Chocolate love.

    Hot Chocolate at Jacques Genin

    Last week saw me in Paris, another week of full chocolate immersion, but this time with a French accent. This year the Salon du Chocolat had expanded, not only housing the professional show, which is only once every two years, but also giving over an entire new hall to patisserie. It was also the host to the finals of The World Chocolate Masters, a jaw dropping display of international technical mastery. I managed to squeeze...

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  • Chocolate Week 2013

    October 22, 2013

    A whole week devoted to chocolate, what's not to like!

    prune brownie

    Last week was my favourite week of the year. It was Chocolate Week! This year it was extra special, because the first Salon du Chocolat London took place over the Friday, Saturday and Sunday. For me it was extra busy as it was the world finals of The International Chocolate Awards 2013. As a member of the Grand Jury I spent the week judging all the regional award winners and finalists, before the final announcements...

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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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