Friday, May 31, 2013
Chocolate Choices in Canterbury
I never used to have a sweet tooth, but in the past couple of years I have started to crave chocolate more and more often. Popping into the supermarket for a bar of Whittakers chocolate is always easy, but I decided to broaden my horizon and see what my city had to offer.
Theobroma Chocolate Lounge is a place I have admired from afar but never visited. This franchise has places all over NZ, Australia and Malaysia with plans to open in Saudi Arabia, the UK, Singapore and America. The Lounge sells both gourmet chocolates and chocolate beverages, as well as doing a full menu.
I opted to try the Mint Hot Chocolate, as well as sampling a Whittakers Chocolate Macaron and a Mochachino Macaron. Lucas decided to have his standard fluffy and try the lolly cake as well, which was labelled as the Staff Pick.
The Mint Hot Chocolate came in a mug with a warmer, which was a novel idea- the mug sat on top of an extra ceramic dish with a candle inside to keep my hot chocolate hot. Not the best idea for kiddies but certainly appreciated by me! The mint wasn't too overpowering and the creaminess was amazing.
The Mocachino macaron was a lot harder than the chocolate one, which had a beautiful soft texture and melted in your mouth. However, I preferred the flavour of the Mocachino Macaron as I love coffee. At $5 for two, it was a yummy treat to have with my Hot Chocolate and a lot more indulgent than a muffin for the same price.
Lucas was kept busy eating with his Fluffy and Lolly Cake, although he only had half as it was a very generous slice. The fluffy came with two marshmallows and a drizzle of chocolate, enough to keep a three year old happy!
I also took home a selection of their most popular chocolates to sample. Lucas chose a Raspberry Chocolate Frog, and I chose (L-R clockwise from back) Raspberry Passion White Chocolate, Peppermint Dark Chocolate, Caramel Cream Milk Chocolate and Manuka Honey Milk Chocolate.
My husband and I both liked the texture of the Caramel chocolate, but ultimately the Manuka Honey won our taste test with it's smooth filling and yummy honey aftertaste. Lucas declared his chocolate frog to be "good" and you could really smell the raspberry in the chocolate, although I didn't get to taste it.
I really want to go back to the Lounge to try the Chocolate Fruit Fondue and a Chilli Chocolate Shot, as well as have another Hot Chocolate. Definitely an indulgent place to go if you need a chocolate fix!
Next up on my list is She Chocolat. This is such a beautiful destination out in Governors Bay, and a fantastic place to sample the hot chocolate menu available. They also do chocolates to take away, and I was tempted by their Autumn collection- plus the mandatory chocolate frog!
The Autumn collection consists of Marzipan, Coffee & Walnut, Liquorice & Blackcurrant, Marzipan & Rosewater and Rhubarb & Custard. The Rosewater & Marzipan was a bit too almondy for our tastes, but the Rhubarb and Custard chocolate got the thumbs up from both of us, with the Marzipan, Coffee and Walnut coming in as our second favourite.
It was a long wait for a hot chocolate on the day we arrived, so booking are recommended if you do not want to miss out. I ended up buying some of the Original Hot Chocolate Swirlers so that I could have the hot chocolate experience at home. The swirlers were a novelty, and I can see them being a great gift idea for those hard to buy for people. Simply stick the chocolate in your mug of boiling milk and swirl it around for a decadent hot chocolate.
I snuck my hot chocolate in while the boys were in the bath- oh my goodness I was in chocolate bliss. The chocolate is so smooth and creamy, and not watery like the hot chocolates I usually get. I followed the packet directions and enjoyed my indulgent moment of peace, with the leftover melted chocolate being slurped up at the end. It is a more expensive way to enjoy hot chocolate, but seriously worth a try for any chocolate lover as it is 100% more phenomenal than your run of the mill hot chocolate.
Finally- for those who want an experience further out of town, I recommend Bullrush Chocolates. Their chocolates are available in Christchurch as well as Ashburton, Geraldine, Gore, Taupo, Wanganui and Wellington. I was lucky enough to explore the Somerset Grocer in Ashburton, where you can purchase these chocolates, and it is a treasure trove of yummy local treats. I picked up a six pack of Bullrush Chocolates as well as three of the Caramel Chocolate Marshmallows, which were calling my name at the counter.
Look at how cute these are! I was impressed even before I tasted them.
Their Rhubarb and Kumara chocolate was surprisingly smooth and sweet, and the Chilli Chocolate jandals had just the right amount of kick for this chilli loving girl. The Raspberry and White chocolate was my favourite though, with the Salted Caramel coming in second place. The marshmallows were so decadent with silky caramel, the yummy soft centre and the outside chocolate crunch. For such a huge chocolate, they were a very reasonable price and a yummy treat with a hot chocolate on a gloomy day.
Overall, Canterbury has some amazing chocolates on offer, and I do hope you give one of them a try next time you need a gift idea or a chocolate treat for yourself.
Please note: These shops did not know I was featuring them on my blog. I paid for the chocolates and the opinions written here are 100% my own.