Looking for the next big thing to up your chocolate sales? Move over salted caramel, the future’s coming, says Anna Blewett
MICRO FOCUS ON SEASONAL
Chocolatier Paul A Young says that the avant garde of chocolate is focusing it attention on seasonlity. He explains, "So going into autumn we're looking at those flavours that really capture that feeling of the season. Cobnuts, walnuts, sloes, damsons... they're familiar, of course, but we try to approach them in a new way to really get to the heart of those tastes that sum up the British seasons."
Mast, the bean-to-bar maker with a workshop-cum-outlet in trendy Shoreditch is just one producer pushing the envelope with the dairy element of its products with its Goat Milk Chocolate and Sheep Milk Chocolate.
"You can have a healthy product with an amazing taste," says Tatiana Zhelezko, director of Petit Apres, which blends chia, matcha or other super with white chocolate and layers them between fine dark or milk chocolate into 'stuccos'. "You don't have to trade one off to have the other. I did market research before starting out and all the indications are the British market is becoming more interested in health."
A LITTLE HEAT
"Chilli chocolate has become passé," says Paul A Young. "The customers that come to us expect innovation, but spices are huge at the moment and are going to get bigger." A scheduled collaboration with Atul Kochhar looks set to bring some exciting products - less about searing heat, more complex warmth - to the market.
"William Curley, like a number of very fine chocolate manufacturers today, is using Japanese ingredients like black vinegar and yuzu," says Sara Jayne Staines, chair of Britain's Academy of Chocolate, "for their finely-balanced acidic flavours. Essential to chocolate is its fruit flavours, so you find a lot of these acids naturally present. If finely balanced, those ingredients can really light up the chocolate in your mouth."