Normally when I review Paul’s wonderful selections it’d be after they’d turn up on my doormat with the purpose of a review. These, however, were purchased by myself because I’ve been working so darn hard lately. The only problem is that I’m just too keen to try them that I can’t wait the half hour I’d normally devote to taking the photos. Instead I’ll just untie the ribbon, open the box and tuck in.
What I love about going into Paul’s store is that there’s always something new there. Of course he’ll keep the sea salt truffles that everyone, especially my wife loves, but there’s new(ish) ones such as Yorkshire Tea and Biscuits; Goat’s Cheese, Rosemary and Lemon and the Soreen Malt Loaf.
Of course I’ll start with my the Yorkshire Tea ganache. The aroma here was so reminiscent of a nice, strong cuppa. It was strange; the evening before I bought these I was craving some Rich Tea biscuits with a cuppa. There are very few things I enjoy more than relaxing with a brew and I loved this one as it was remarkably mild but with an amazing resemblance to the sweetness you get from the Rich Tea. Although I don’t have sugar with my tea, there was a decent hit of sugar that you’d expect from a curio ganache.
The Martini and Grapefruit (I believe I read the handwriting correctly) juxtaposed the previous remarkably. Here you have sharp, cleansing, intense flavours which could wipe away the stresses from any anxious day. The casing provides some grounding to the experience and some much needed earthiness. Without it you would see it in monochrome, instead there’s more depth and variety which certainly makes this one much more enjoyable as it would otherwise be.
The Goat’s cheese, Lemon and Rosemary has to be one of my favourites – because tt’s not aggressive. The flavours are pleasant, mild, dignified and consequential. The aim is perhaps to sooth with an ice cream-like approach. The creaminess is scintillating, whilst the rosemary and lemon lift the flavours in a pincer movement that traps your taste buds in a Spanish Inquisition torture with some soft cushions.
I found the Smoked Sea Salt one as less appealing than the others. Now this is purely because I’m not a huge fan of anything smoked. But if you are then the flavour delivered here is so clearly true and honest than you’ll fall over yourself with it. There’s also a boozy edge that did lift it and slap the inside of your mouth – that part I hugely appreciated.
Being brought up largely on Malt Loaf I just had to try Paul’s truffle of the same name. It actually turned much milder than I had anticipated. The beautiful thing here is not in the initial hit of flavour, as that is limited, but the lingering delivery of malt notes that slowly mute for minutes after the melt. It’s a flavour that I doubt you would have witnessed in tandem with chocolate, but one I’d certainly seek in the future.
The initial hit of the Bison Grass, Vodka and Fennel was just fantastic, and it improved with the melt. The variety of flavours combined majestically. There’s a balance of sweet, bitter and boozy that is a triumph. The sweetness may make me less inclined to overindulge. But if you’re looking for the one treat to satisfy all of your cravings in a solitary experience then this just has to be it.
The Lemon, Basil and Almond is a combination that is just obtuse. At first you might be led into the false conclusion that the flavours don’t work. Just like a football manager you just have to give this one time. If you do, you’ll be rewarded with the most curious play of flavours. Unlike some which complement each other to form an orb of culinary sensations, instead the tree ingredients are layered upon each other in a way that doesn’t holistically support each other in the classic sense, but operate at different levels and at sequential stages of the melt. It is most enjoyable and definitely one you should try.
True artistry doesn’t confirm to traditional expectations. It allows you to explore your senses and force you to approach them from a different direction. Your perceptions will be proven wrong which in turn will lead you to an enlightened place. That’s exactly what you get here. Tea and biscuits, malt loaf, goat’s cheese might not be something you would expect to see combined with chocolate, and that’s exactly why you should try them.