A Melbourne, London & Hong Kong dessert blog
The dreamiest chocolates ever…
MoMo & Coco realise that this is not a Melbourne irresistible adventure, but we simply had to share with you. On each of our frequent trips to London, in addition to the various lovelies gathered in our raids of Harrods’ and Selfridges’ Food Halls, one thing that we simply love to bring back is a small box of truly the most magnifcent chocolates that one will ever encounter. Paul A Young is a chocolate-master with an illustrious working pedigree (read his biography and accolades here). His first shop opened in 2006, and at the date of writing, he now has three boutiques, each decked out in opulent tones of dark grape purple. It was the newest store in Soho opened in June 2011 into which MoMo & Coco ventured in October 2011. Simply furnished, due prominence is given to the range of heavenly chocolate bars, paves, brownies, chocolate powders and his famous miniature chocolates. All chocolate products are made on site, in a vast subterranean kitchen. And unlike many so-called “artisanal” chocolatiers, the staff at Paul A Young’s boutiques will duly warn you to consume your goodies within 3-4 days, and no more than 5-7 days. As we were not contemplating extending our blog posts to outside Australia, we did not photograph the store (for the curious though, great photos may be found at this London-based blogger’s page, here).
The artisan chocolates do not come cheap, available individually at £2.00 a piece, or in sturdy earthy brown boxes of four (£6.90), nine (£15.00), fifteen (£23.50), twenty-four (£36.00) or thirty-five (£49.50). Each chocolate product is proudly ribboned off by a signature Paul A Young sash. This is MoMo & Coco’s little stash, filled with little bites that the staff at Paul A Young recommended as “quintessentially British.” We happily carried this small box through with the blessings of Australia’s super-evil customs and quarantine officers, who by the way, confiscated our lemon curd jar because it had “egg” and “looked too yellow” (!?!?!).
In MoMo & Coco’s opinion (supported by various accolades too), the best of the best of the best of Paul A Young’s chocolate miracles is the Sea Salted Caramel, made of 64% Madagascan dark chocolate enclosing a heart of the most beautifully lush salted caramel. This is not the wimpishly light or brown salt syrup of a salted caramel found too commonly in Melbourne. It is a true caramel, with a strong dash of salt. If you can only afford one Paul A Young beauty, this is the one to select.
With a liquid centre, the Appleton Estate Rum and Golden Raisin will convert the rum-haters of chocolate lovers (MoMo & Coco included). For connoisseurs, Appleton Estate Rum is an exceedingly old-gold standard of Jamaican rum.
Likewise the Kernel Brewery Stout and Dark Muscovado is so very English, a stunning alcoholic drop with the malty essence lingering in your mouth as though you are drinking the beer rather than eating a chocolate.
And a rather peculiar one is the Soreen Malt Loaf Truffle, taking its inspiration from a common English teatime snack. It is almost unbelievably created from four loaves of malted bread, and mixed with 66% dark chocolate and double cream. It hardly sounds appealing, but once again, is simply extraordinary to eat.
Another favourite of ours is the Lavender and Honey, a whimisically marbled dome containing a centre of an exquisite perfumed filling. Unlike some lavender-based chocolates/food, the lavender is not overpowering and the the honey weaves itself as an equal through this chocolate. Doesn’t it look almost like Saturn?
The Kalamansi showcases the finesse in which Paul A Young is able to capture the essence of summer and spring in his chocolates. Inspired by England’s colonial past, it uses a Malaysian citrus fruit to produce a veritable explosion of the seasons (and sensations).
MoMo & Coco are in no way chocolate snobs — we love the Cadbury blocks that retail for $2-$3 in the supermarket, just as much as we love the chocolates priced at $2-$3 a piece, and the ones seemingly found in their best state at international airports (think, Baci, Godiva). On our overseas sojourns, we have had the fortune to fall in love with chocolates from France (eg. M. Chadun, P. Roger, J-P. Hevin, Maison du Chocolat, Fauchon), Italy (eg. Venchi, Pernigotti, Amedei), the countless names we have forgotten in the US and Switzerland. We have possibly covered most major chocolate territory, except Belgium. And yes, we have done our sampling our miniature chocolate bites from Melbourne’s long-standing chocolate boutique stalwarts of Haigh’s Chocolate, KoKo Black, Ganache Chocolate, Cacao, and Lindt Chocolate. With the exception of Monsieur Truffe (for unadulterated bean-to-bar chocolate), Mamor (for intensely-flavoured fillings), and the varying capabilities of Xocolatl and Chocolate Secret, what Melbourne lacks is a chocolate boutique that can do both exceptional chocolate and exceptional fillings. In London, Paul A Young fills that gap. Once you have sampled even one, you are guaranteed never to feel the same again. Ensure that you visit the next time you are in London. And to Mr Paul A Young, if you ever come across this review on this dessert-blog, consider international expansion, please.
- Dessert adventure checklist
- Dessert destination: Paul A Young Fine Chocolates, 143 Wardour Street, Soho, London , W1F 8WA, UK.
- Budget: $$-$$$.
- Sweet irresistibles: Chocolate.
- Must-eat: Every chocolate bite that you can fit in, but especially the salted caramel.
- The short and sweet story: The dreamiest chocolates ever…