Paris Lees

GT tries chocolates from Paul A Young…

We need to get you some chocolate. Immediately.

It’s cold, miserable and, though it’s just 4 days till Christmas, you haven’t bought a single present yet. Sod standing around Boots looking for 3-for-2 offers – get yourself down to Paul A Young’s chocolate heaven. ASAP.

GT popped down to the master chocolatier’s flagship Soho store to look for gift ideas – and left with a mouth full of yum and warming cup of hot choc in hand. Well, you’ve got to sample the goods, right?

Oh and what goods! Paul is a trained chef and his background in fine food is evident in his artisan approach to chocolate. The house collection includes a raspberry and black raspberry liqueur ganache, hazelnut pralines, water truffles, rum truffles, Champagne truffles, Kalamanis truffles, Tawny port and stilton truffles…

And we haven’t even got to Paul’s signature collection yet. Have a look:

• Fruit and nut mendient
• Ginger bread caramel – Salted caramel with stem ginger and gingerbread spices
• Mince pie marzipan – Home made port and brandy mince meat with real almond marzipan
• Crackling Embers – A warming wintery crackling truffle with tobacco, black cardamom and chilli
• Mulled wine truffle – Chateau civrac wine mulled with whole spices with 64% Madagascan chocolate
• Spiced coffee and cream – reworked Irish coffee in a smooth silky and full flavoured truffle
• Banoffee Pie truffle
• Butterscotch orange truffle – caramelized milk chocolate truffle with orange oil and orange zest
• Festive spiced cocoa pod – 70% Valrhona with nutmeg, green cardamom and cinnamon

Not everyone will like some of the more challenging flavours (though I love Marmite, I’m not sure it’s quite working for me in truffle form) – but how do you know you don’t adore cigar leaf caramel until you try it? Paul’s creations have that special ability to surprise: they provide a talking point as much as anything; they excite and delight. For this reason, they make ideal presents, and will stand out beside the usual boxes of chocolates that do the Christmas rounds (you know the ones). And they taste great. I defy your heart not to melt as his sea salt caramel melts in your mouth. It’s award-winning, and it’ll win over your taste-buds too.

To wash all that chocolate down you’ll of course need some more chocolate. Hot chocolate. Paul only serves the stuff in winter and there’s certainly something to be said for a cup of something sweet and steamy on a grey, chilly day. Hot mugs warm cold fingers, but with an optional, decadent splash of alcohol thrown in, Paul’s brew gets to work on an even deeper level.

If you’re buying and trying to impress a sweet-toothed husband or indeed momma this Christmas, this is how you do it.

Paul A Young has three London stores: in Soho, Angel and Bank.

Prices: 1 choc £2, 4 piece box £7.00, 9 piece £15.50, 15 piece £26.00, 25 piece £40.00 & 42 piece £65.00.

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