I always listen to drive time on Radio 2 while cooking tea.
A few months ago Simon Pattinson retold the story of he and his wife leaving their jobs as lawyers to become self-taught chocolatiers. They set up Montezuma’s in 2000, a chocolate brand I’d not come across before, and I was intrigued enough to find out a little more about them.
‘we started out with only a kitchen sink sized machine, huge enthusiasm, spades of naivety and most importantly, a broad ideal to bring chocolate innovation to a boring and staid British chocolate market. With the exception of that first machine, little has changed and the childish enthusiasm we shared exploring South America in 1999 largely wakes up with us every morning; although we now have three little girls who rise before dawn every day!’‘
I hopped on the opportunity to contact Simon and Helen to ask if I could review one of their best selling products ‘great balls of fire’ – described as an intoxicating and heady collection of spiced chocolate caramel balls. G opted to taste them blind whereas I like to know what flavours are going to be tickling my tastebuds (yes, I like to read the back of DVDs before watching films too!).
Halleys white chocolate – the tongue tingling chilli kick was an instant reminder of my childhood love of cinnamon fire balls. The flavour? – exotic sweet mango at first making way for a gentle lime twist. When you hit the buttery caramel centre the chilli flavour intensifies but is buffered nicely by the subtlety of the white chocolate wrapping it. I’ve never experienced such flavours in chocolate so it was no wonder G didn’t have a clue when trying to place them; ‘is it something perfumey or flower like? It’s good though, I don’t normally rate white chocolate’
Swift milk chocolate – encasing a strawberry and peppercorn caramel centre. ‘nice‘ G grinned immediately reaching for another. The fiery kick nestles discreetly in the folds of sparkling strawberry and the milk chocolate is rich enough to leave an enduring after taste that mellows out the spice of the peppercorns.
Shoemaker dark chocolate – these are the biggies when it comes to great balls of fire. A really nice rich chocolatey texture with a tongue tingley yet subtle flavour. Initially the salty caramel flavour comes through then gradually the pepper and finally the chilli fire. It probably sounds a peculiar mix for chocolate but they were amazing! ”Designed to be subtly satisfying while challenging flavour convention’‘ they certainly live up to their name.
Disclosure: I was sent these chocolates by Montezumas. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions are my own.