A taste of Scotland in chocolate
We are so fortunate to be able to live in a beautiful place and to be able to enjoy fabulous Scottish food very regularly. This is the foundation of our product range - a taste of Scotland in chocolate - so thought it only right we give due respect to the wonderful produce we use and where you can buy it!
In no particular order, here they are...
Bread! What would life be without a great local bakery?!! Well we live in a tiny village, so are truly blessed that the Wild Hearth Bakery deliver their award-winning sourdough to us every week. We eat it for breakfast, lunch, when we're peckish... you get the idea. We also use it on top of our toast and marmalade truffle, as we often eat it for breakfast, toasted with almond butter and marmalade on top. Yum. Yum. Yum. This truffle is a chocolate ode to one of life's simple but mighty pleasures!
Coffee! There are LOTS of coffee roasters here in Scotland, and we love lots of them, but none quite as much as Thomson's Coffee Roasters, who have been roasting coffee since 1841 - so they know what they are doing! - and offer a dazzling array of roasts. Can't beat it in the dark strong truffle and smooth milk bar that we make with their beautiful St Vincent Roast.
Gin! We love lots of gin from Scotland - let's face it, Scotland is pretty good at gin!! - We were keen to use great ones that contrasted well with each other. In the end we decided that our current gins would be Isle of Harris Gin, Hills and Harbour Gin, and - more recently - the more local Caorunn Raspberry Gin from the Speyside Balmenachoth Distillery. Both Harris and Hills and Harbour take their inspiration from the sea, with Hills and Harbour also using pine as one of their botanicals. We are so excited to have been able to add Caorunn Raspberry Gin to this collection. It is a beautiful refreshing gin, which works so well with Ruby chocolate in our new Speyside Gin bar.
Cheese! Yes! Cheese! In an adaptation of a fairly well-known combination of Port, Stilton and dark chocolate, we have gone for Port and Blue Murder. Made by the superb Highland Fine Cheeses in Tain, this amazing creamy blue cheese is a stunning partner for both the port and smooth dark chocolate in this popular truffle.
Rum! There are a growing number of lovely Scottish rums, and this one is very good indeed. Caithness Raider's Rum is made by the artisan Ice and Fire Distillery, way way up north. We love it's light taste (and colour) which still packs in a lot of flavour, including the beautiful coconut aroma from gorse flowers collected from around the distillery. Who knew that gorse aroma could be captured in such an exotic flavour, and how amazing! We love this rum and its heritage so are delighted to use it in a slightly Scottish take on the classic rum and raisin, pairing it with beautiful Lexia raisins and a single-origin Caribe milk chocolates, which adds a distinctly caramel flavour.
Vinegar! The Orkney Craft Vinegar company make beautiful vinegar using a base that they brew themselves. We think that this dedication to every detail shows and lots of top chefs think so too. We use the Rhubarb vinegar in our strawberry truffle - a Scottish take on strawberries and balsamic vinegar - which adds a complementary tang to this popular praline.
Whisky! Well it would be inconceivable to not use whisky!!! We love whisky, from right across Scotland, and it's been a struggle to get down to the four that we currently use in our range.
We use a small touch of Royal Lochnagar in our new cranachan truffle. As our closest distillery, we just had to feature this lovely whisky. With its gently fruity, sweet and slightly woody flavour - we think - pairs well with the mix of honey, oat and fruit in this chocolate.
Bowmore is Dave's favourite Islay distillery and so we have paired it with a beautiful Mexique 66% in our Islay Bar. We love the mix of the honeyed peat smoke of the Bowmore 12 with the beautiful woody cocoa flavour of the single origin chocolate. This is definitely a snuggly-evening-by-the-fire bar!
We make two more truffles using two very different whiskies - one with Talisker and the other with an organic Benromach whisky. These two couldn't be more different! The Talisker has a formidable peat smoke flavour with a peppery finish - pairing well with a smooth dark in this simple truffle. By complete contrast we pair Benromach organic single malt with a strong milk chocolate to give a beautifully smooth and subtle truflle, which brings out the sweet, malty notes with even a hint of banana, and coffee.
Sea Salt! Shetland Salt is a tiny artisan business which uses the freshest sea water off the coast of Shetland, famously free of pollutants and rich in nutrients. We use both their sea salt and smoked sea salt in our various salted caramels - some of our biggest sellers.
Honey! There are many great honey producers in Scotland, so we have tried to stay close to home with our current choices - two very different honeys.
We are very excited to be able to use our very own Braemar Honey in our new Braemar. We caramelise milk chocolate and add a touch of this light tasting honey - totally moreish! - and only available from Menzies Butchers two doors down from our shop.
Heather Hills Farm is just down the road from us at the Bridge of Cally and produces incredible honeys, jams and preserves. They are all incredible quality - we are very very partial to their jams too - but we have chosen one amazing honey to use in two products that have become some of our biggest sellers. Their award winning heather honey has a deep taste, holding its own to pair beautifully with the passion fruit in our milk chocolate praline. We've also recently started to use this honey in our new honeycomb recipe, giving it a lovely deep taste which shines through its luxurious double coating of chocolate.
Oil! May be not what you would think about Scotland and its produce, but - actually rapeseed oil is a thing up here. We love Cullisse - the most northerly cold-pressed rapeseed oil
This highland rapeseed oil benefits from the unique micro-climate and fertile soils of Easter Ross in the Scottish Highlands where the properties of the rapeseed are nurturedduring the extra long days of light that distinguish a Highland Summer.
Cullisse oil has a silky butteriness and summer grassiness, with a subtle nuttiness that works amazing well with dark chocolate. This makes it a key ingredients of our plant-based chocolates.
Shortbread! Who doesn't like a lovely buttery shortbread with a cuppa??!! We are partial to this quintessentially Scottish treat and are currently using Dean's all butter shortbread as it won our (completely unscientific) taste test, conducted in the comfort of our own home through lockdown (we ate A LOT of shortbread!!).