Damian Allsop Chocolates Review
While most chocolates which are ‘made for the middle’ utilise low quality chocolate in order, as they say, to allow the filling to shine through, I always feel that using a less than best chocolate spoils the overall effect. So it was with some interest that I tried Damian Allsop chocolates at the extremely busy Taste of Christmas show.
After being a pastry chef for 25 years at Michelin starred restaurants, including a stint in Spain for 5 years, Damian was an expert at working in chocolate. Spain forced him to rethink how people made chocolate, and combined with his realisation that British palettes were changing he decided to run his own chocolate based business. He realised that cream changed the flavour of chocolate and rather than seeking a dairy-free alternative to existing chocolates, he created new flavours, new experiences and a new way of enjoying chocolate. He knows that chocolate changes flavour as ingredients are added and that is why he doesn’t use milk or cream.
I remain fairly conservative in my chocolate outlook but Damian had me as a somewhat captive audience and as such, he went through the full range of mouth experiences with me. He believes that our tastes in the UK are changing. His chocolates are at the forefront of that change and he’s working hard to create delicious tastes for everyone.
We started with a ‘pistachio with acidic yogurt’ morsel. It was an immediate hit of sour then went through to sweet then you got the pistachio nut flavour at the very end. Surprising and extremely more-ish. I can see people having to eat many of these at a party.
Salted Crunchy Peanut was the next surprise. Completely overwhelming the scent or flavour of the chocolate, the salted peanut flavour was the first hit through the nose, then the saltiness hits as you bite and it is finished off with that massive peanut flavour which almost nothing can beat.
The Cloud was next and talk about heavenly. Blueberry and violet it was a crunchy yet chewy middle light as a cloud. The flavours are subtle but pleasant and without the harsh artificial flavour sometimes encountered.
At this point, Damian reminds me that with his chocolates, the actual chocolate is not the ‘ego’. Rather, the filling is the most important part and the chocolate adds that extra rounding dimension. He uses Amano chocolate and assures me that his use of high quality chocolate enhances all of them – including the flavours which overwhelm.
Jasmine Tea was a delight and I may have to simply buy myself and everyone I know a box of these. The jasmine tea is not synthetic, as it so often it. Synthetic, or even essential oil jasmine, has a distinctive flavour that is immediately obvious. Not so this chocolate, made from a tea which is left for 5 nights next to the blooming jasmine flowers, infusing it with the flavour of the pollen of the jasmine flower, not the essential oil. The tea is cold infused and this is what gives it the unique flavour. That and the fact no cream is used and so the delicate jasmine flavour can blossom on your mouth
The penultimate chocolate was a delicious fresh mint. A chocolate made with fresh mint has an added dimension of the chlorophyll clearly flavouring the chocolate. It is easy to destroy the flavour and bruise the mint and so to get that flavour in to a chocolate is quite a feat. This mind chocolate was subtle but delightful. An added dimension to mind for mint chocolate lovers.
Passion fruit and Coffee rounded off the tasting trial. Having bravely withstood the crowd, I was rewarded with a unique blend of strong coffee and sweet passion fruit. Coffee flavour outside, strong and sweet passion fruit inside, then another hit of coffee as you chew the grinds. Strong but pleasant.