I love chocolate, especially hand-made and particularly dark chocolate. It is my ultimate, pleasurable indulgence, although I might just add a blob of clotted cream for extra indulgence on a spoon.
Early Years with Dark Chocolate
My love of dark chocolate started when I was a little girl. My nan always had a bar of Cadburys Bournville Dark Chocolate in her pocket and she would use that to incentivize me to go for a walk, drip feeding me one square at a time to keep my little legs moving.
I wouldn’t honestly buy Bournville now, since Cadburys sold out to Kraft and they changed all the recipes to a bland, nondescript, tasteless, mass consumer product.
Nan always had dark cooking chocolate in the larder and I used to love a square or two of that. Cooking chocolate has a stronger taste to it, I think, than ordinary chocolate as it is obviously designed to be cooked in some way, whether that is baked in cakes or melted to make an icing.
She used to make the most amazing dark chocolate sponge cake, with a chocolate filling and a chocolate glace top. Yumminess on a plate, especially with a large blob of clotted cream. One slice was never enough!
I have found over the years that very few brands make a decent dark chocolate.
Ilfracombe Chocolate Emporium
I was in Ilfracombe today and decided to indulge myself with some gorgeous, proper hand-made dark chocolate, so I headed for the Ilfracombe Chocolate Emporium on the High Street.
It is years since I have been in there. I can remember taking the children when they were quite small. There is a shop and a little museum of chocolate.
There used to be a cafe upstairs years ago but that is now a space where Jeannette and her team offer indulgent chocolate making workshops. I shall be investigating those in due course.
All the chocolate is hand-made on the premises and you can tell! Jeanette, the owner, was telling me that they have a separate machine to temper the chocolate, so they can make chocolate that is truly vegan and dairy free, as there is only soya milk goes through this machine.
I bought a bar of both vegan and non-vegan and honestly I could not tell the difference. As Jeannette explained good chocolate is really about the cocoa solids and not so much about any milk.
She is incredibly knowledgeable and passionate about everything chocolate.
The kitchen is on the same floor and you can see all chocolate being made.
My Chocolate Purchases
I bought a bar of the Smallest Chocolate In Ilfracombe, a very indulgent chocolate lolly which is solid chocolate and looks like a chest of money, a Deluxe 70% Dark Chocolate Bar with dark chocolate drops on the top, (the vegan one) and the Deluxe Dark Chocolate Clotted Cream Fudge Bar.
Chocolate and clotted cream fudge – definitely two of my favourite indulges to really tickle and tantalise the taste buds.
And the Chest of Money dark chocolate lolly.
My Taste Experience
I have often found with commercial supermarket-bought dark chocolate bars that I can eat the whole bar, not really notice that I have eaten them. There is not much actual taste to them and I often end up feeling a bit sick, whilst also feeling rather unsatisfied. It is probably the sugar content, as sugar is a very addictive substance, which does not satisfy, but just leaves me craving more sugar.
The taste experience with the chocolate from the Ilfracombe Chocolate Emporium is completely different. The chocolate actually has a taste and a flavour to it.
I found that I could eat it quite slowly and savour every bite. It did not leave any sort of aftertaste, which commercial chocolate often does.
And surprisingly I ate the Smallest Square of Chocolate in Ilfracombe and the Lolly and that was enough for me. I left the rest of the chocolate for another day, feeling totally satisfied. That is quite unheard of for me!
The museum is quite a fascinating place with quite a collection of all things chocolate, including some of the early tins from big brands like Quality Street and a huge Easter Egg.
For me the highlight is definitely the 6 foot man made out of chocolate, holding onto the tale of a chocolate dog. He is suitably attired for Christmas and obviously I had to have my photo taken with him. That has got to be every woman’s ultimate pleasure. Sadly this specimen is not actually edible as he is varnished to stop him from melting.
Ilfracombe Chocolate Emporium is definitely worth a visit. The chocolate is amazing and I shall be making the effort to come down into town more frequently to satisfy my dark chocolate delightful indulgences and bypassing the consumer brands on the supermarket shelves.
Proper hand-made dark chocolate is worth the effort – because I am Worth It!