Demarquette African Queen

Of any chocolatier that I regularly feature here that I actually think ‘sod the photography’ whenever I set up a review it has to be Demarquette. They just look so astonishingly gorgeous that the dullness of setting up the camera, thinking about lighting and all the rest of the nonsense that comes to with doing reviews is just an unwelcome distraction. What’s more, in my line of work you’re faced with a never-ending deluge of distraction – so much so that I’ve consumed five out of six of these little treasures as a pleasant distraction.

The Packaging

This is the entire point, however. Chocolate in its various forms are expressly created to take you away from life’s frustrations. And that’s no different with f these African Queen chocolate truffles where the aim is to allow you the time to enjoy a few minutes of your day in complete self-absorption – in an proverbial impervious chocolate cocoon.

The prize for shutting work out, setting up the camera and forgetting about all the less appealing chocolate I have to review is to enjoy the last one, remaining, solitary truffle. As I marvel at it like the a precious bottle of wine brought up from a sunken Elizabethan war ship, I think about how I will enjoy it in comparison the previous.

Inside the box

For the life of me I couldn’t define the core flavour against what I’ve tried before. I know I’ve come across this ‘fertile’ style of chocolate flavour. Perhaps it was reminiscent of Diego Badaró’s AMMA chocolate which has a rich, highly fermented, organic, farmyard character – which is as far as I would expect from cacao originating from the much-misunderstood Ivory Coast. And this is why it is important never to write-off an origin. This is a new approach to cacao in the country and must be respected as so.

Along with the cacao comes the honey which is very close to that floral cacao flavour, and, on reflection could have been the cause of the flavour profile above  – being able to separate the two is surely impossible, but I would love to try the base chocolate by itself and see how Marc has added to the experience by the other ingredients – which also includes hazelnut pralines and Breton wafers.

The best bit

Often I think that keeping it simple is best – use as few ingredients as possible and let nature be the focus. But here, even though there are contrasting flavours and textures they do work exceptionally well. Knowing the ingredients I try and do a mental fractional distillation and establish the individual flavours – but I enjoyed them far more just letting them be a passive rather than active process. Forget about how they’re made, even what’s in them; just let them be your momentary escape from the troublesome world we live in. They do a very good job of that.

It’s just here there’s a juxtaposition given the flavours you would expect a smooth texture, in contrast, you actually get a crunch from the wafers. And it’s the use of wafers that have always reminded me of commercial chocolate and even poor quality chocolate from ‘better quality’ chocolatiers. It is fantastic that Marc has managed to change my perception of this ingredient and appreciate what it can offer.

And this is the perfect music to accompany the experience:

Lee McCoy

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