We are very fortunate to be located just a few miles from the fabulous Godminster Estate.
The Godminster Estate is perhaps most famous for it's cheese, producing a number of award winning cheeses, from milk from the heard of cows that live on the farm.
Many people don't know that in addition to their great cheeses, they have an incredible garden, which produces some of the finest organic fruit, vegetables and herbs in the South West of England.
As good friends of Nicole Leathley, the head gardener we approached her about the possibility of creating a few chocolates this summer using their fabulous ingredients. Fortunately for us Nicole was really enthusiastic about the opportunity, so much so that we asked her to choose three ingredients for us to make into delicious chocolates.
By allowing her to choose the ingredients, it enabled her to choose only the fruit and herbs that were in season, and set us the challenge of create chocolates that best utilised these local ingredients.
When we collected the ingredients a couple of days later we were excited to see what she had chosen for us. To our delight, she had chosen blackcurrants, lavender and a slight wildcard - fennel pollen!
With such high quality ingredients in hand, our head chocolatier Al Garnsworthy was eager to start creating three new chocolates.
As the blackcurrants had an amazing tartness, Al thought that they would actually work very well in a milk chocolate ganache. Using Valrhona's famous Jivara Milk chocolate, Al created a smooth ganache, that perfectly complemented the blackcurrants, and maintained their sharp taste and incredible colour. The blackcurrant ganache was then piped into a dark chocolate shell and enrobed with a thin layer of dark chocolate and decorated with small dots of black cocoa butter.
The second chocolate Al made, was the lavender chocolate. With such a strong flavour, lemon was required to compliment the lavender, and a dark chocolate ganache was made with a 64% Dominican Dark chocolate, again from Valrhona. The truffles, were then finished by being rolled in confectionery sugar, which balanced the chocolates perfectly.
Fennel Pollen is an ingredient which is starting to become popular with chefs due to it's intensely sweet aniseed flavour. As the first two chocolates had been ganache based chocolates, Al was keen to try to make a caramel with the fennel pollen. After infusing the fennel pollen into the cream, Al made a dry caramel which he then deglazed with the flavoured cream. As soon as the caramel had started cooking, the smell in the factory was mouth watering. With a strong aniseed smell in the air, the excitement over this chocolate grew. Once cooled, the caramel was tasted and the result was fantastic. This delicious caramel is encased in a milk chocolate shell and decorated with small yellow dots.
It is the first time we have create fresh chocolate truffles and caramels using local organic fruit, and we are more than thrilled with the result. We will be selling limited edition boxes of the chocolate for the next two weeks, and hope that everyone will enjoy eating the chocolates just as much as we have enjoyed making them.