Fine chocolates from Cornwall. A review of beautiful and delicious filled fresh Cornish chocolates from two artisan chocolatiers. I Should Coco is based in St Ives, Cornwall and Nicky Grant operates from her home near Helston.
Cornish Chocolates: I Should Coco
Andrea Parsons is the mastermind behind this particular chocolate business which began life as a stall in the local farmer’s market. It then morphed into a shop a couple of years ago. Ethically driven, she is interested in producing real chocolate and exploring new flavour combinations. All chocolate sold in the shop is hand made in the workshop at the back.
Like Matcha Chocolat, these are fresh chocolates that are made to be eaten not stored, which is fine by me. This means Andrea doesn’t use any preservatives or unnecessary additives. This makes for a more natural product bursting with flavour.
As many ingredients as possible are sourced locally from small independent producers. Unfortunately cocoa trees are not yet abundant in Cornwall. The cream is supplied by a local dairy, Cornish sea salt is used and much of the fruit is also local.
I Should Coco: The Chocolates
If ever you are lucky enough to be visiting St Ives or are in the vicinity, I strongly urge you to go and check out this wonderful little Cornish chocolate shop.
An intense strawberry flavour courtesy of good old Cornish strawberries. It’s great to have seasonal flavours in season. Encased in sweet white chocolate which endures after the delicious ganache has disappeared – double the enjoyment. The red & white checked top is redolent of a tablecloth all set for a summery strawberry cream tea.
At last, I’ve been wanting to try a salted caramel for some time now as they ‘ve been all the rage for a while. It’s true what they say, that slight edge of salt really offsets the caramel flavour. One is definitely not enough. The milk chocolate casing worked particularly well with this filling.
I can’t resist rose, it’s one of my favourite flavours, so I was particularly looking forward to trying this one. Encased in dark chocolate with a piece of crystallised rose on top, this rose fondant did not disappoint.
Beautiful pink ganache which blended particularly well with the white chocolate that encased it. The taste of raspberries was distinct and made for a delicious mouthful.
Honey & Thyme
I was particularly intrigued by the appearance of this one. Made using local honey, this beautiful golden nugget was full of smooth milk chocolate ganache with the subtle notes of honey and thyme hinting at warm cliff tops with buzzing bees as an accompaniment.
A lovely stripy topped square of sweet white chocolate encases this most delicious smooth ganache tasting of … you guessed it, passionfruit. Like her other fruit chocolates the aromatic signature of passionfruit was retained in all its glory. Yum.
Chilli Chocolate Truffle
Another smooth ganache curtesy of Cornish cream, no doubt, this is dark, rich and not at all sweet. The chilli had a smoky hint to it and the fiery quality began imperceptibly and grew in intensity leaving a wonderful warm feeling in the mouth, throat and stomach.
Probably an ideal pick me up for a cold winter’s night, it nonetheless tasted great in the summer too. I’m sure the Aztecs would have recognised and enjoyed these. I certainly did.
Cornish Chocolates: Nicky Grant
An elegantly presented little package arrived through the post the day before Mother’s Day. I was very tempted to save it to give to my mother, but I had promised to review the chocolates, so the job just had to be done by me. It’s a hard life!
There’s a wealth of amazing chocolatiers and chocolates in and around London, but in my far flung part of the country they are few and far between. I was, therefore, particularly excited to discover handmade Cornish chocolates by Nicky Grant at the Cornwall Food & Drink Festival a couple of years ago.
Like all of the best filled chocolates, these use fresh ingredients with no added preservatives, colours etc etc. The downside of this is of course, they don’t last very long. But to be honest I defy anyone to make them last as long as the specified two weeks anyway.
The quality of ingredients are key to really good chocolates and Nicky uses single origin and plantation chocolate. She also uses local produce, such as cream butter and honey, wherever possible; this makes them doubly appealing to me. Last year Nicky won Gold at the Academy of Chocolate Awards for her fennel and ginger truffle.
On opening the box, that wonderful chocolatey aroma which only comes from good quality chocolate drifted up and into my nostrils. Several deep breaths later, I was ready to take photographs. Oh the patience needed!
There was no form of identification for the chocolates, so I just had to guess – some better than others I suspect. CTs taste buds are a little more refined than mine and he would probably have done a better job. But he wasn’t around to taste these and to be honest, with only six, I wasn’t willing to share.
As well as filled Cornish chocolates Nicky also makes bars, cakes and amazing chocolate sculptures. You don’t have to be down in Cornwall to taste these chocolates however; they’re available to buy online.
She also runs chocolate making courses. They’re great fun and really informative. I know because I’ve been on one. You can read about it in this temper temper post.
Nicky Grant’s Cornish Chocolates
This box of Cornish chocolates was a lovely mix of flavours, textures & shapes and was deeply satisfying. All six chocolates disappeared rather too quickly, but the taste of ginger, caramel and chocolate lingered on for quite some time making for a doubly great taste experience.
Fennel and Ginger
Ginger hit me straight away with this one. Lovely smooth and creamy ginger ganache with toffee notes. Covered in rich dark chocolate, this was rich, spicy warming and delicious. I wondered if it contained a touch of chilli, as it left a lovely warm feeling in my mouth and back of my throat long after I’d finished. I could have quite happily consumed a box full of these.
I’m now wondering if this may in fact be the award winning fennel & ginger and I just missed the fennel?
Fresh Fruit Truffle
As I was hoping, this was a fruit puree with a rich deep pink colour. I thought at first it was raspberry, probably because of the colour. I then started doubting myself and thought it tasted more like blackberry. Either way it was delicious and I would have been happy to have had several more.
This domed milk chocolate shell with white and dark marbled across contained what tasted like cardamom & hazelnut praline. The flavour of cardamom was delicate but very much present and combined well with the sweet milk chocolate. I’m beginning to sound like a broken record here, but this too was really delicious.
Dark Chocolate Truffle
Covered in dark chocolate and coated with cocoa, this was a dark chocolate ganache through and through. It was good; it had bitter notes and wasn’t too sweet, but somehow it just wasn’t quite as rich as I would have expected. I wouldn’t, however, say no to a box of these either.
This shiny chocolate dome looked to have a piece of crystallised ginger on top. Could this be another ginger I wondered? It was. Less rich and sweeter than the first it was still very gingery. It didn’t have the distinctive warmth of the first, which sort of confirms my suspicion of chilli.
I liked the fact there were two different type of ginger chocolates in the box, for I am a fan. One for the more sweet toothed and one for the, err, more discerning palate.
Cornish Seasalt Caramel
A dark chocolate shell dusted in cocoa and containing Cornish seasalt caramel. It was utter bliss. Beautiful smooth caramel which flooded my mouth with salty sweetness.
This is another gold award winner and no wonder; the balance of salt to sweet is just right and the dark chocolate offsets the sweet caramel wonderfully. Much as I loved the first three chocolates I tried, for me this was the best of the box.
Keep in Touch
Thanks for visiting Tin and Thyme. If you ever try Cornish chocolates from either I Should Coco or Nicky Grant, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below. Have you any recommendations? Do share photos on social media too and use the hashtag #tinandthyme, so I can spot them.
If you’d like to see more chocolate reviews, follow the link and you’ll find I have quite a lot of them.
I was given these products for review purposes. The chocolatiers did not expect me to write a positive review and all opinions are, as always, my own. Thanks for your support of the brands and organisations that help to keep Tin and Thyme blithe and blogging.