How should I keep my chocolates?
All filled chocolates in our chocolate gift boxes are best kept at 12c. At this temperature they will last for more than 8 weeks. Do not keep your chocolates above 20c. If keeping them in the fridge make sure they are wrapped, or that the chocolate box is kept airtight with clingfilm and keep away from strongly odoured items. Bring them up to room temperature before eating for the best flavour.
Although we do recommend that filled chocolates are best eaten within 2 weeks as this is when their flavour is at it's best.
Do you ship internationally?
Yes we ship everything but our chocolate gift boxes containing bottles of alcohol to the following countries:
UK offshore (N.I, Isle of Wight etc), Ireland, France, Germany, Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland and Belgium.
Please see our delivery page for more information.
What is vintage chocolate?
Vintage chocolate is chocolate made with cocoa beans from a single year’s harvest, typically from a single plantation. Similar, in a way, to vintage port, only in the best years are cocoa beans selected for this chocolate. The cocoa pods are processed in the usually manner to extract the beans, which are then matured and made into chocolate when deemed at their optimum. This will be somewhere between 2-5yrs after harvest.
See details for each of our chocolate gift boxes that contain this luxury chocolate.
What should I expect from vintage chocolate?
All the vintage chocolate we use is from single plantations and from only the best harvests. This allows for the distinct character of the plantation and the cocoa beans to come through in the chocolate. The result is complex, distinct and fascinating flavours with exceptional length. Just like a great wine really.
Many of our chocolate gift boxes use vintage dark chocolate for the shells and fillings.
Is the percentage of cocoa solids an indicator of good chocolate?
In short, no. Whilst it does tell you the overall cocoa mass within a chocolate, it doesn’t tell you anything about the flavour. A single origin chocolate with 65% cocoa solids can have way more flavour, complexity and length than a mass produced one at 85%. Flavour is affected by the type of cocoa bean(s) used, the area they were grown in, what plants were grown alongside them, how they were fermented, how the bean was roasted and how long it was conched for, along with many other esoteric factors.
We use a variety of chocolates in our gift boxes, our milk chocolate is 40%, whilst our dark chocolates ranges from 65% to 85%.
What is ganache?
Ganache is the filling in chocolates that is traditionally made with a mixture of chocolate, cream and sometimes butter. But the problem with that method is that cream and butter mask flavours. Just think about how you dull down the spices in a curry if it’s too hot – by adding cream or yoghurt. The same things happens when you add it to chocolate, it dulls all those beautiful top and bottom notes that make up a great chococolate. So we’ve developed our very own method of making ganache that doesn’t mask any of the flavours and gives a multi-layered, very clean taste experience. How do we do it? Ah, that’s the secret bit, but it’s all 100% natural.
Do you really make all your own chocolates?
Yes, all of our chocolates are handcrafted in house. The moulds are invidually hand decorated before we shell, fill, then cap the moulds. So you can be confident when purchasing one of our chocolate gift boxes that all our chocolate are truly artisanal.
What is an artisan chocolatier?
Firstly a chocolatier is someone who makes filled chocolates, chocolate creations and other confectionery from chocolate, whereas a chocolate maker is someone who makes chocolate from cacao beans. An artisan chocolatier is generally considered to be a chocolatier whose chocolates are handmade using top quality ingredients, no preservatives and produces a high quality product in both terms of look and taste.
How do chocolatiers differ from standard chocolate retailers?
Chocolatiers generally produce chocolates in small batches with a high degree of human skill involved as oppossed the mechanised chocolate production used by most large scale chocolate retailers. In addition to this a chocolatier is more likely to be focused on the quality of the chocolate and it's origin. Working with small batches allows the chocolatier to bring inviduality and subtle nuances to the chocolate that would be unachievable in large scale mechanised production.
What is salted caramel chocolate?
The term salted caramel is applied to many forms of caramel where any type of salt has been added. Whilst salted caramel has become popular over the last 5 years or so in the UK, it is not a new fad. In fact for centuries in Brittany, salted caramel sweets were made with sea water, giving them a salty note. Some people wonder at the wisdom of adding salt to caramel, but once they have tried it they soon realise that salted caramel is one of the true pleasures in a gourmet's life. The salt acts as a nice counterbalance to the sweetness of the caramel.
Check out our range of salted caramel chocolates.
Which are our most popular chocolate gift boxes?
The Intesity Chocolate Collection, as the name suggests, delivers some of our most distinct flavoured chocolates, with our favourites be the Award Winning Muscovado Salted Caramel and the zingy Passionfruit & Basil.
The Salted Caramel Chocolate Collections feature all 3 of our Salted Caramels, the Muscovado with Maldon Sea Salt, the Traditional with Fleur de Sel de Camargue and the unique Palm Blossom & Himalayan Sea Salt.
Finally for something for that special loved one our chocolate gift boxes with Laurent Perrier Rosé champagne are a gift that oozes class and sophstication, not to mention great tastes.
How did our founder, Benjamin Axford, become an artisan chocolatier?
Ben left the world of headhunting in 2001 to embark on a career in food. He owned a highly acclaimed cheese & wine business and competed in BBC's Masterchef competition, where he reached the final. Following on from the show he started a fine dining business, and part of that involved making chocolates as petit fours for the end of the meal. Having grown up in Brussels, Ben already had an appreciation of fine chocolate, but no experience of making it. He is a completely self-taught artisan chocolatier and has devised a unique method of making ganache which delivers exceptional length and depth of flavour. His passion and skill were recognised just 4 months after launching the business when the company won a Silver Medal at the Academy of Chocolate Awards, a competition for UK and International artisan chocolatiers.
Where do you get the cacao from that you use to make your chocolates?
Our chocolate is sourced from a number of countries around the world. Most of our milk chocolate comes from Ghana and Java, whereas our dark chocolate comes from Madagascar, Cuba, Mexico & Peru. When selecting the chocolate we look for distinct character with the flavour profile as well as good body and lenght of flavour.
Is your chocolate organic?
All the dark chocolate we use for our outer shells is Organic, as well as most of the chocolate we use for our dark ganaches, including our Peruvian single estate chocolate.
What are the key inspirations for your chocolates?
Our head chocolatier and founder Ben Axford says "Inspiration is a strange thing and can come from anywhere. I might be eating a piece of fruit and get a note of something else within the flavour that sets me off thinking. It could be something visual that sets me off thinking, like the contrast of cherry blossom of a lawn that leads me to think about what "green" flavours might pair well with cherry. It could the the subtle nuanced flavours savoured within a glass of rum that lead me to a new chocolate recipe. And sometimes I am lucky enough to just wake up with a new idea in my head.....that's what happens when you are an obessed chocolatier"