At Home Chocolate Tasting with the Highland Chocolatier
One of the fun things I have done during lockdown is participate in a chocolate tasting experience at home. I make no secret of the fact that I love chocolate, so when I spotted an ‘at home chocolate tasting experience for 2‘ on a discount voucher site called ItIsOn, my interest was immediately piqued. I had to buy it and give it a go.
This sort of experience is perfect for lockdown entertainment as they simply send you a box of 10 chocolates, 5 each, and a link to an audio download that talks you through the tasting process. You don’t have to leave your living room and the chocolates get delivered to your door. The company is called the Highland Chocolatier and is run by master chocolatier Iain Burnett. He makes all his chocolates by hand and has won several awards, including world‘s best truffle. They are described as gourmet chocolates and he works with many Michelin starred restaurants, designing chocolates for them. They are not cheap by any means, but you pay for what you get. They are luxurious, excellent and worth every penny.
I bought the voucher and placed my order the same day and 2 days later my box had arrived. Well actually, both boxes as he does 2 types, one dark velvet and fruits and the other milk velvet and caramel. I couldn’t decide which to choose, so I went for both. I was really impressed with the service and also the website itself. Its very easy to navigate and use, especially with my screen reader, something not all online shops are.
Both Neil and I were very excited to get stuck in with the tasting, but we thought that as it was something a little more special we would make more of an effort. We decided to do date night in lockdown and order a take away first, open a bottle of wine and then do the chocolate tasting after. On the website it recommends you start with the dark velvet and fruits set first, so this is what we did. Each tasting box for 2 comes with 2 cards, which you place the chocolates on in the right order. This was actually the trickiest part as it was very visual, matching the picture to the correct chocolate. Its not something I could have done but fortunately Neil has enough sight and the chocolates were so well decorated that they are easy to pick out.
So there we were, sat at our dining table with our glass of red wine and our 5 chocolates laid out in a circle in front of us ready to start the tasting. The link to the audio is easy to find on the website and we were good to go. I won’t go in to too much detail about the chocolates as I highly recommend you do the experience yourself and if I give too much information away it will ruin it. What I will say is that the dark chocolate is not like your average dark chocolate. The reason most people don’t like dark chocolate is the bitter after taste it leaves. This dark chocolate does not do that. It is lovely and rich, but smooth and creamy at the same time. After completing it I bought the experience for my Mum and Dad. Mum does not usually like dark chocolate but she thoroughly enjoyed it.
When doing the tasting it is best to employ self control. You want to savour the chocolate as it is rather special. Although they are small, try to make them last so that you can appreciate them. The audio explains how to taste them properly and gives lots of interesting information around each chocolate, including recommending other chocolates in the range that you might enjoy if you like the one you are currently tasting. The dark chocolate truffle, which is the second chocolate you taste, is the one that has won world’s best truffle and I can see why. It was delicious, but my favourite was the fourth chocolate in the range. The fruity flavour was so intense, but I won’t tell you the flavour, you will have to try yourself. I was impressed with both mine and Neil’s levels of self control during the tasting. We made the 5 chocolates last almost 30 minutes. We also sat and discussed them in great detail after the audio had finished; rating each chocolate and ranking them in order of favourite. In number order, mine was from least favourite to favourite: 1, 5, 3, 2, 4. We held off doing the second box of tastings for another night’s entertainment.
For the milk velvet and caramel tasting we didn’t make as much of an effort beforehand. There was no wine or take away first, but the tasting experience was just as great. These 5 were definitely a lot more creamy, but in some ways more interesting too. The overall tasting followed a very similar pattern, with some of the audio being exactly the same as for the dark box. This meant it got a little repetitive, but didn’t detract from our enjoyment. The third chocolate in the flight was very interesting. It contains a rather unique flavour that neither Neil or I could identify until Iain told us what it was and then we both put our heads in our hands, as it seemed so obvious. The fifth chocolate was also quite different as it had very thin layers and texture. Again we managed to savour the chocolates and make them last a while, so that we could discuss our favourites and our ranking. I found it a lot harder to come to a final decision with this one, although my favourite was obvious, the fourth. It is a flavour I absolutely adore and it was Neil’s as well.
It is so impressive the skill that goes in to making these beautiful and delicious chocolates. It is obvious that Iain Burnett has a real talent. They are not the kind of chocolates you would tuck in to regularly, but a real extravagant treat. I enjoyed the experience so much that, as I have already mentioned, I bought it for mine and Neil’s parents. My Mum and Dad did the experience together and thoroughly enjoyed it also. It gave us something different to talk about during lockdown that was a shared experience. I’ve also recommended it to anyone I have spoken to since and am aware of at least one other taking me up on my advice. If you are bored during lockdown and want something different and interesting to do, then definitely give it a go. The chocolates might appear expensive, but its definitely worth it. I promise you, you won’t regret it.
I hope you are all staying safe, well and sane during lockdown. Thank you for taking the time to read and check back next week for a new post. If you have taken part in any experiences suitable for lockdown that you would like to recommend, then please leave a comment in the box below.