Vegetarian food blog featuring nourishing home cooked recipes, creative baking and luscious chocolate.

Miss Witt Will Woo and other Valentine Treats

 
 

I first came across Chocolate by Miss Witt when visiting CT’s mother in Lymington on the edge of the New Forest. You can read all about it on my Unexpected Find in the Forest post. Suffice it to say, that I’m not likely to miss an opportunity to pay a visit to her pop-up-shop at Lymington’s weekly market if the occasion arises. And arise it did last Saturday.

Miss Witt is a true artisan chocolateier and makes an intriguing range of handmade chocolates. Unusually, she eschews cream and butter for the virtues of spring water, yes, her chocolates are all made with water ganache.

It was a bitterly cold day and Miss Witt was well wrapped. CT managed to polish of a fair few of the tasters as we chatted. My attention, however, was focused on hearing of the latest developments in the world of New Forest chocolates. A number of stores in Lymington are now stocking her products.  I came away clutching a collection of chocolate goodies to try in the warmth of my own home.

Earl Grey

Earl Grey Chocolates

A valentine’s special consisting of six elegant chocolates in grey and white. The centres are a dark or white chocolate ganache made with spring water and Earl Grey tea which are enrobed in dark or white chocolate accordingly. The dark chocolate is dusted with silver flecks and the white is topped by a cornflower. Containing no cream or butter, the silver chocolates are completely dairy free, much to the delight of the local vegans. The ganache is soft and smooth in texture and has a distinctive but not overpowering floral / citrus bouquet. CT and his fertile imagination thought this very refined – equivalent to drinking Earl Grey in a bone china cup. He is not one to lavish praise unnecessarily, but he really liked these. I don’t need fifty shades of Earl Grey, a single one from Miss Witt will do. The white chocolates are much sweeter  and the subtle notes of bergamot struggle to be heard above the white noise of vanilla.

White Hot Chocolate Sticks (33%)

White Hot Chocolate

After hanging out the washing on a very cold winter’s day here, my hands were so cold I almost couldn’t feel them any more. It was time to try one of Miss Witt’s hot chocolate sticks. It was a case of just following the instructions: place in a mug, heat 200 ml of milk, pour over and stir. It worked a treat and melted quite beautifully. I topped it with a little bee pollen for effect, but when I tasted the chocolate I realised I must have tuned into the flavour of the white chocolate even before I’d tried it; it not only had a creamy texture but it tasted of honey too. Being white chocolate, I thought this might have been too sweet for me, but it was totally delicious and I downed my mug rather too quickly. It did the trick too; by the time I finished it, my hands were back to normal.

Limited Edition
Miss Witt is always coming up with new flavour combinations, so you never quite know what you might find when you visit her pop-up-shop on Saturdays. I found it hard to make a decision on what to try as everything looked good and sounded interesting, but the Cinnamon Brulée just had to go into my box.

Cinnamon Brulée  – white chocolate ganache flavoured with cinnamon and horlicks and enrobed in rich dark chocolate. Can you see why I couldn’t miss it?

Rosemary & Sea Salt – I’ve made rosemary truffles before, but never thought to add sea salt to the mix – I missed a trick. This was a fantastic combination, made even better by an almost liquid centre; it tasted more like caramel than milk chocolate ganache. Wrapped in 70% Saint Domingue dark chocolate, this was one of the best chocolates I’ve tried in a while. I hope it becomes a more permanent member of the collection.

Lavender & Sea Salt – there is always a bit of a worry that lavender might be overdone in food and end up tasting like soap. The lavender used here was a little overplayed, but it was tempered by the sea salt and made for quite a delicious mouthful. The salt also helped reduce the sweetness of the white chocolate.

Berries & Tea – a rich and robust winter chocolate, flavoured not with soft fruit, but with juniper berries and Earl Grey tea. Now where did I put that G&T?

A Shooting Star – a winner of the Great Taste Awards, this is a permanent weapon in Miss Witt’s armoury. It deserves to be. A dark chocolate ganache containing blackcurrent purée and flavoured with tarragon and star anise, it is enrobed with 70% Saint Domingue chcocoate. The flavours are subtle and are not vying for individual attention, but marry well together to create a true taste of summer – very welcome on a cold winter’s day. A hint of blackcurrent lingered long on the palate leaving me feeling rather wistful and wishing I had another one or two.

Sea Salt Caramel – I do love a good sea salt caramel and although I found this one a little on the salty side, the patriot in me was proud to note the presence of Cornish Sea Salt. The salty sweet caramel milk chocolate was tempered by the 70% Saint Domingue dark chocolate in which it was encased. Very similar in appearance to the rosemary & sea salt, this geodesic dome was flecked with white rather than blue.

Madécasse

Madacasse Chocolate Bars

I’ve heard a lot about Madécasse in recent months and all of it has been good. It’s a company that ticks all but one of my chocolate boxes. As the name suggests the chocolate comes from Madagascar, a country rich in habitat, but poor in economic terms. Unusually it is not just the beans that are grown there, the chocolate is made there too. 70% of the world’s cocoa beans are grown in Africa, but less than 1% of chocolate is actually made on the continent. This is a shocking state of affairs as the real money to be made from chocolate is manufacturing it, not growing it. Madécasse are certified Fair for Life. This means that fairtrade principles are adopted through the whole chocolate making chain, from cocoa farming right through to packaging – bean to bar at its best. The missing box, in case you were wondering, is that the chocolate is not organic. However, the cocoa trees grown in the shade of taller hardwood specimens does help to protect the precious habitat, home to 15% of the world’s plant and animal species.

But ethics alone are not enough to sell chocolate, it needs to be tasty and good value for money too. These 75g bars, currently available in Waitrose, Booths, Selfridges and Whole Foods, hit both of these targets. The cocoa content is high for milk chocolate and at 44% you can really taste it. The cocoa beans used are a rare heirloom variety that are particularly flavoursome – I thought so anyway. Suffice it to say, I am now hooked. At £2.99 they’re not cheap, but they are both affordable and very good value for delicious ethical bean to bar chocolate. They are also, in a small way, helping the people that really need it, the people of Madagascar.

Madecasse Milk Chocolate

Milk Chocolate 44%
Buttery is a key characteristic of this delicious chocolate. It smells of butterscotch, but it was the tang of buttermilk that first hit my tastebuds. Both seem to be present. There are fruity notes too that could be sour cherry. It’s creamy but also quite rich with a very slight granular texture. It has a real wow factor for me and CT was rather keen too. This is chocolate to savour.

Madecasse Espresso Chocolate

Espresso Bean 44%
CT, who is a coffee chocolate aficionado got rather excited as the strong aroma of coffee assailed his nostrils. I’m not really a fan of coffee flavoured chocolate, but I could quite happily have eaten this bar all by myself. There’s an awful lot of coffee in Brazil and there’s also plenty of coffee in this chocolate or do I mean on? The mocha topping, made of crushed cocoa beans and cocoa nibs, makes for a distinctive feature which gives added interest to the smooth textured chocolate. As he munched, CT could see himself in a late night cafe, peering through the thick blue smoke and sipping on a strong black coffee.

Godiva

Established in 1926, Godiva is now well known for its luxurious Belgium chocolates and has shops in the most fashionable parts of Europe’s capitals. For those in the UK unable to get to London, they do, of course, have an online shop. I have used Godiva white and dark chocolate pearls to create these Amaretto Pots au Chocolat, but I’d never tried their chocolates until this most gorgeous heart shaped box arrived at my door.

You Have My Heart

A pretty heart shaped box containing eleven chocolates with nine different flavours. The box is one of those sturdy ones that you want to hang on to; it can be kept for storing nicknacks or reused as a gift box. Rather annoyingly, there was no menu card included, so it wasn’t always easy to tell what the chocolate fillings were. However, I can say they were all delicious and the fillings were interesting and by no means run of the mill. Pralines featured of course as did rich dark truffles, but there were also fruity fillings and buttery ones too. There was a good mixture of dark and milk chocolates, some sweeter than others. Many of the chocolates had layers with different textures and flavours which made for a diverting experience. The shapes were fun and one chocolate featured Lady Godiva, whose good deeds inspired the company’s name, riding on her horse. If this box doesn’t grab your fancy there are plenty of other Valentine delights on offer – just hop over to the Godiva site and have a browse. Order by 12th February for delivery for the big day.

I’m not going to describe all of the chocolates in the box, but here are my three favourites.

  • A hazelnut praline which had three distinct layers as well as a whole roasted and salted hazelnut – all covered in thick milk chocolate. I would have been happy with a whole box of these alone. 
  • A fruity raspberry caramel confection enrobed in dark chocolate which was possibly my favourite. It was both chewy and zingy and not too sweet. 
  • Then again a milk chocolate filled with a sandy textured almond mousse was very moreish indeed – sadly, or perhaps luckily, there was only one.
With thanks to Miss Witt, Madécasse and Godiva for the chocolates. I was not required to write positive reviews and as always, all opinions are my own.

Comments

  1. Leave a Reply

    Laura Huggins
    6th February 2015

    Some very unusual chocolates here! They do sound really yummy. I think my favourite would be the hot chocolate stick! YUM!
    Laura x x x

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette Blogger
      6th February 2015

      The hot chocolate sticks are a marvel Laura and I could do with one right now to warm me up again.

  2. Leave a Reply

    ellie
    6th February 2015

    Wow what a great selection of flavour combinations! I would love the sea salt caramel and cinnamon Brulee flavours.
    Oh and the white hot chocolate stick! YUM x

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette Blogger
      6th February 2015

      I think there is something for everyone in this lot Ellie, although if you’re anything like me you’d want the lot 😉

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette Blogger
      8th February 2015

      Good choice Sue. The Earl Grey chocolates are delicious and her tasters on the day were proving very popular indeed.

  3. Leave a Reply

    lisa prince
    6th February 2015

    im not usually a fan of chocs but wow this looks devine and soo delightfully inviting

  4. Leave a Reply

    GG
    7th February 2015

    I’ve played around with ganache made with water rather than cream, well alcohol actually! But not been too successful. I bet the Earl Grey chocolates are delicious, they look so beautiful. Mr Glam would love the chocolate stick. GG

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette Blogger
      8th February 2015

      I’ve tried water ganache a few times and I’ve really liked it GG – it’s a lot lighter than cream ganaches and doesn’t feel as naughty! Adding alcohol will surely improve things!!!

  5. Leave a Reply

    bangers-and-mash.com
    7th February 2015

    Oh you so have me drooling reading this! Love the sound of the rosemary and sea salt choccies in particular. I must organise a trip to Lymington to visit Miss Witt and soon…

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette Blogger
      8th February 2015

      Lymington and the New Forest are so worth a trip Vanesther, but do make sure you go on a Saturday so you can sample a chocolate or two 🙂

  6. Leave a Reply

    Sylvia F.
    8th February 2015

    Those chocs looks superb! I wouldn’t mind having it as my Valentine gift 🙂

  7. Leave a Reply

    belleau kitchen
    8th February 2015

    love your chocolate review and this is a great alternative valentine review… I think my faves must be the Earl Grey chocs..

  8. Leave a Reply

    Charlene F
    8th February 2015

    Love this review, all these choccies sound delicious especially the sea salt cameral 🙂 x

  9. Leave a Reply

    Kate Glutenfreealchemist
    9th February 2015

    The Miss Witt chocolates are probably the most intriguing and tempting I have seen in a long time… Fascinating and unusual flavour combinations and really interested in their being made with water ganache! I am desperately trying to think of an excuse to head for the New Forest….. or maybe I’ll just look online….

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette Blogger
      10th February 2015

      No excuse needed to head to the New Forest Kate – it’s a wonderful place to visit – just make sure you are there for a Saturday.

  10. Leave a Reply

    Blair Urquhart
    22nd February 2016

    Earl gray sounds Amazing chocolate hope to try that myself soon.

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