Of course I’ve been reviewing Christmas chocolates for a while now, and during that time I’ve become a touch numb to it all – you can only consume so many uninspiring boxes of chocolates or advent calendars before it becomes a bit repetitive. Thankfully Marc Demarquette held a little soirée introducing a few chocolate people to his festive creations. Dotted around his shop were a few samplers. Along with his hazelnut pebbles (which are fantastic), there were these fruity caramels which certainly had an autumnal feel to them.
It may not be apparent to some, but cranberries are harvested in late summer and all the way through into November, and although not a British crop are still grown in northern states of America and parts of Canada – all of who have a seasonal climate similar to ours. But, I must be honest, I don’t go out of my way to consume cranberries but I do love them in a more adventurous bag of mixed fruit and nuts, but I will certainly seek other combinations of cranberry and chocolate in the future after trying this intense caramel. The flavour is simple, but direct. The chocolate, although sweet, does manage to play a secondary role to that of the caramel. If you do enjoy a fairly sharp, clean bon bon then I think you’ll very much enjoy this one.
The Mixed Citrus is a more enveloping experience. The orange, mandarin and tangerine all offer different layers of sweet and slightly acidic tones. None seems to jump out at you or dominate proceedings. Instead they seem to deliver the rich flavours in a complimentary fashion – just as you’ll find reds, oranges and yellows in a sunset, this too also covers a similar part of the flavour spectrum. Whereas I feel the cranberry would definitely work better with a dark chocolate dome (Marc agrees), I feel this actually works very well with the milk chocolate.
Lastly was the spiced apple. I just adore apple strudel, apple crumble or anything with reduced apples. But combining them with the cinnamon just gives it that extra edge which manages to occupy the underside of the taste profile. The sweetness from the apples is certainly present but has been superbly tempered. Marc mentioned that these apples aren’t from a commercial source which has harvests the fruit on an industrial scale, in fact the varieties of the apples aren’t known, and this is what adds to the experience for me. I just love the thought of these apples originating from a natural source and not blasted with all sorts of chemicals.
And this is the great thing about Marc’s chocolates. The finest ingredients are used, every detail thought of, great amounts of time and effort exhausted and all in the name of creating chocolates that you can’t find elsewhere. My question is now; do I share these with others, or stash them for an early afternoon treat?