We are still in the twelve days of Christmas and -hopefully – you can still experience Pierre Marcolini’s latest collection.
Catherine Feore gives a warm welcome to the great chocolatier’s frosty collection.
When Marcolini started his business in 1995 he was determined to do things differently. He wanted subtle infusions, deep spicy notes and chocolates that were no larger than 15-20g in size. He is a pioneer of the bean-to-bar movement, mastering the entire process of manufacturing chocolate from the bean onwards.
“There are as many differences between cocoa beans as there are between the grapes of different vineyards”
When sourcing his Grands Crus cocoa he goes directly to independent producers in Cuba, Indonesia, India, Sao Tome & Principe, Peru, Venezuela, Madagascar and even China. The cocoa’s natural flavours are allowed to bloom, there is little added and with his pralines they are beautifully balanced with other flavours. “There are as many differences between cocoa beans as there are between the grapes of different vineyards,” says Marcolini. “There are nuances that can only be discovered by going to the source: whether that is Ecuador, Cuba, or Peru.”
There is also a strong ethical dimension to the brand. Producers who work with Marcolini sign a charter forbidding the use of child labour, unfortunately this is widespread elsewhere. So you can enjoy the chocolate with a clear conscience. There is also a commitment not to use glyphosate in the growing process, instead making use of natural herbicides. Each batch of beans is tested by an independent organization. Growers also committed to biodiversity by not using the high producing CCN-51 cocoa tree, to make this attractive to the farmers Marcolini pays €4,000 per tonne of cocoa beans – more than double the market price.
Other ingredients, such as, pink berries from Morocco, pistachios from Iran, Sichuan pepper, vanilla from Madagascar, lemon from Sicily, cinnamon from Ceylon and Piedmont hazelnuts are also meticulously sourced making his chocolates stand out from the crowd.
“ ‘Noël Givré’ is a play on the word givré, meaning frosty, but also a little crazy”
With his Christmas collection, Marcolini has outdone himself yet again. The collection entitled “Noël Givré” is a play on the word givré, meaning frosty, and a little crazy. It’s partly nostalgic with traditional seasonal flavours of cinnamon, gingerbread, hazelnut, pistachio and candied orange, beautifully presented in boxes depicting mischievous little behatted elves. There is also a wonderful gourmet Advent Calendar to countdown the days to Christmas.
There’s also a more sophisticated collection of “Malline Rare Japanese Whiskies”. For those of you who know your Japanese whiskies, they are: Nikka Coffey Malt, Nikka Miyagikyo Single Malt, Togouchi Kiwami, The Chita, Suntory Toki and the Yamazaki Distiller’s Reserve. Each of these are paired immaculately with caramel or a praline and other subtle tones of ginger, smoked piemont praline, cardamon, to name a few. At Together we can’t think of anything more perfect than sitting down beside the fire on a cold winter’s evening, with a glass of whisky in one hand and a delicious chocolate in the other.