“Come with me, and you’ll be in a world of pure imagination” with Charbonnel et Walker
I’m not a religious person. But I could tell, when I entered The Room, that I would willingly worship at this alter.
Sometimes there is chocolate so good, it makes your mind go blank and creates fireworks in your brain. Chocolate so delicious, you actually don’t want to touch it because touching it seems to be breaking some sacred vow to the chocolate makers. Reverence from afar is the only answer. The only practical solution to such perfection.
What has caused such idolatry you may ask? I can tell you. Charbonnel et Walker.
It started a few weeks ago at a Bloggers event for the newly opened Charbonnel et Walker on Old Bond Street. In what turned out to be quite frankly a beautiful night, full of chocolates, cake, cocktails and fantastic company.
We were given the rich history of Charbonnel et Walker, which was founded by the two ladies Charbonnel and Walker (naturally) at the behest of Edward VII the Prince of Wales at the time. He loved chocolate, specifically continental, because the home made stuff at the time was really not cutting it. So Charbonnel was shipped over to ol’ Blighty to make truly delicious chocolate (there is also a saucy rumor that the naughty Prince of Wales had his way with her – go Charbonnel).
And to this day, the chocolates (or drops of heaven as I call them) are hand finished in Tunbridge Wells. It is a very small factory and almost family orientated in a way. We got the brilliant story of how one woman had been making a certain type of chocolate truffle for 62 years, and when it came to her retiring and leaving everyone else in the factory suddenly realised – no one else knew how to make that truffle! They had to find the woman (probably mid post office queue trying to get her pension) and get her back in to the factory to show them how to make it. Which is a mixture of loveliness and hilariousness, which you just don’t get enough of today.
Now don’t get me wrong. These chocolates are not exactly the price of a box of Cadburys Roses. But let me tell you. They are worth it. Once you have tasted a Charbonnel et Walkers chocolate you “scrimp and you save and you rob and you sell elderly members of your family for just one more of those mouthfuls that fell in love with your tongue and turned your soul into whipped cream”.
These are the chocolates for those special occasions. They say buy a woman (or man, men love the chocolates too) flowers and chocolates if you want to impress her. These are those chocolates. A box of Milk Tray isn’t going to impress me much. Buy me a box of Violet and Rose Creams, and lets just say that you Sir, are in for a good night.
I hope you enjoy all the pictures of the wonderful chocolates (and they are) but in case the pictures do not do them justice, I will now paint you a picture of just how truly delectable these chocolates are. First off (and once more I shall borrow Mr. Pratchett’s wonderful words) Charbonnel et Walker don’t just make chocolate – “they create them. There’s an important difference”, and I now truly understand that. These are not simply your standard coco beans and butter and sugar mixed together. Not at all. These are Art. Art for the taste buds. When you bite into, for example a dusted Strawberry truffle “even the mind stops. There is nothing but the taste. I imagine it would be a wonderful way to die”
The event itself was an absolute joy and delight. There was a champagne reception with champagne truffles. There were home made cakes by Kate from Kate Makes Cakes and Beckie from Bees Teas. Not only were both cakes so delicious I did a happy dance, they were both beautiful to look at. I almost didn’t want anyone to cut the cakes. Almost. Not enough not to.
So conclusions. Yes these are fancy wonderful delightful chocolates. But I’m telling you now – you will never have better chocolate than this. This was the Rolls Royce of chocolate. The Savoy of chocolatiers. The mother flipping Queen of chocolate land.
They weren’t bad.
Ladies, gentlemen and miscellaneous others. Buy someone you love a box from Charbonnel et Walker. Then buy yourself one. They will love you. And you will love you.