I don’t normally need an excuse to think about chocolate at the best of times, but National Chocolate Week seemed like too good an opportunity to pass up on. Master chocolatiers across the country will be showing their wares and demonstrating their skills with rivers of molten brown deliciousness in Willy Wonka-style fashion – it seems you can have anything you like made from chocolate, from the most delicate of truffles, to the most extravagant of wedding cakes.
It seems that our love of this confection has outgrown simple corner-shop bars and buttons – we are demanding more and more from our chocolate in terms of both creativeness and provenance. Where does it come from? What cocoa percentage is it? How is it shaped? How is it flavoured? And how can most of us humble home-cooks actually achieve this in our own kitchens? Looking for cocoa perfection, I turned to pastry consultant Daniel Fletcher, a man who’s cooked with a few bars of chocolate in his time, for advice.