Product Reviews, Restaurant Reviews and Recipes: All GLUTEN FREE!
A whole Hall of “Speciality & Fine Food Fair” products was exciting but also included was the Chocolate Fair which I could not miss. Running now since 2000, the collection of food producers from around the globe is exciting with “quality, provenance, health, innovation, value and indulgence” the themes for the Food Fair. With my love of Chocolate, it made a change from the regular Chocolate Bars I love, and the fairly regular Chocolate Ice Cream Bars that I enjoy but some of the brands are looking for new outlets (as it is a trade show) and so availability is not as widespread as I would like (although most have a website and list out where their products can be purchased).
At the Show they were tasting: their beautiful dark (Ecuador 70%) Drinking Chocolate (made with milk!) by Hans Sloane. It was rich, tasty and very chocolaty.
It was strange to see the two chaps talking about their imported Chocolate Drink (from Colombia) as I thought I recognised them but it was only when I did a search online (for Hasslachers) did I realise that they had appeared on the current season of Dragons Den (and had foolishly over-valued their firm based upon impressive growth but the contract for the exclusive imports was reviewed and not seen as secure enough). Anyhow, how did the Hot Drinking Chocolate taste? It was pretty good. Quite rich and strong with a good aroma. It was available in a bar, in pouches and in discs.
SCIOLTI BOTANICAL CHOCOLATES:
A really friendly Chocolatier who was keen to stress that good Chocolate bars shouldn’t need to add any GLUTEN to their products and revealed that she does produce a Rhubarb Crumble Bar (for Valentines) which would be contain Gluten, but the rest of the range was GLUTEN FREE. Despite the “italian” sounding name, the chocolates by Sciolti are made in North Lincolnshire.
A French Chocolate company Kaoka looking to bring their delicious flavours into the UK market by showing at the Food Fair. This was the world’s first organic cocoa network when they launched in 1989.
HIFAS DA TERRA:
The first biotechnology organic company Hifas Da Terra from Spain who were tasting chocolate mixed with the beneficial properties of mushrooms. Yes, they had added shiitake, chantarelle, oyster and King Trumpet mushrooms to chocolate in an effort to boost the human immune system. I have to confess I had mixed feelings about this “healthy” chocolate but you couldnt taste the mushrooms which might be a good thing. They were rich and velvety chocolates.
In a separate room at Olympia, they had several Belgium suppliers offering a selection of their speciality chocolates. This one caught my eye and after a little conversation with Belfine they are GLUTEN FREE. These are “playful” chocolates on a small plastic ring, which enables the child not to spill or get messy when eating the small chocolate. He then advised that through a link on their website, you could get “puppets” and a “theatre” for play for the kids, (available in a coloured version or a for-colouring version) which seemed a nice novelty but I was not convinced that chocolate is that messy!?
This small producer was set up by Danesh Amin in 2007 when we was just 10 years old and in full time education but it took 7 years to perfect the wide selection of bars. The stand is staffed by “young people” at the Fair and they were well informed about GLUTEN FREE choices going through the ingredients of each product and confirming whether they were Gluten Free. They also were keen to stress the strong charitable side of Danesh’s business. They advised me that they are available via Amazon! (I thought they just did books!)
Another Hot Chocolate Melt product: These seem to be very much in fashion at the moment and available from Marimba in three flavours: Milk (with Venezuela beans 43%), White (with Dominican Republic beans 31%) and Dark (Dark Ecuador Beans at 71%). They had tasting of all three chocolates bars and I was fortunate to try the Milk Chocolate Melt Drink which was heavenly. They also gave me a sample of the Dark Melt to try at home so a detailed review of this will be added to the blog soon.
DOISY & DAM
A pastel shaded “new” Chocolate company with interesting and bold flavours: “Goji and Orange”; really sweet and citrus rich, “Maca, Vanilla and cacoa nibs”, “Mulberries, Chia seeds and Spirulina” and “Ginger, Chilli Flakes and Hemp Seed”. I have to confess they didnt sound inspiring enough to try, except the Goji and Orange. by Doisy & Dam.
So lots of Chocolate to try at the Chocolate Fair but also lots of other Gluten Free Snacks, Crisps, Popcorn, which shall also be reviewed on my Blog. Hope you enjoyed the Chocolates.