It is well-known that people associate British folk with tea. The fact I don’t drink tea leaves many foreigners confused…. “But you’re British”. Yes I am, and the shocking truth is, I don’t like tea.
I also have a weird relationship with chocolate. Of course, I love chocolate, but I don’t really eat it if it’s not Cadbury’s. By attending Whittard of Chelsea’s luxury tea and chocolate pairing, I thought it would be a great opportunity to try something different, and most importantly, find out why British people love tea so much!
I took along my friend Josie, and together, we arrived at Whittard of Chelsea’s Tea Room in Covent Garden to a room full of bloggers, and Pierre Marcolini; the Belgian chocolatier. Pierre started by explaining the history of chocolate making, taking us on a journey from start to present. He provided us with three types of plain chocolate and told us to guess the percentage of cocoa in each one, based on the taste alone. As predicted, we all decided that the sweetest tasting chocolate probably had the lowest quantity of cocoa in it. Turns out we were wrong – the sweetest piece was made up of a whopping 85% cocoa!
This task was to prove that it isn’t just the manufacturing process of chocolate that changes the taste, but also where and how the cocoa beans are grown. He passed around another three types of cocoa beans, each from a different country (Ethiopia, Cameroon, and Venezuela) and explained why they all looked, smelt, and tasted unique. It all comes down to the climate, soil type, and location of the beans, although surprisingly, the differences between the cocoa beans can be noticed not only regionally, but between towns!
After our history lesson, we were provided with four different chocolates, each accompanied with their own complimentary tea. Each pairing came with a small information card so we knew the ingredients and the reasons for the pairing.
Here are the chocolate and tea pairings we sampled:
Ganache Violette + Chelsea Garden
Violet bonbon; a soft violet ganache with bursts of Violette, was created in 1998. This was paired perfectly with a Whittard Chelsea Garden blend; a beautiful blend of fresh spring white tea, English garden rose buds, and a hint of wild berries. The white tea cleanses the pallet, while the rose buds and berries make the Violette pop and the mouth water.
Praliné Calin fondant + Chill Mango
This is where patisserie and cuisine blend together. A shocking combination of delicate and crunchy flavours, with a chocolate shell that blends in perfectly with the other ingredients. This is one of Pierre Marcolini’s first pralines and it has become a trademark of the chocolatier. It is a classic ‘Marcolini’, paired with a modern Whittard taste. The chilli mango blend consists of black tea as a base, adding zesty mango, amaranth, and a garnish of cactus blossoms, finishing it off with a sprinkling of chilli to add bite. The result? A unique blend that’s beautifully refreshing, with a little kick.
Cœur Seduction + Rhubarb Punch
This bitter ganache with raspberry purée was created in 1997 and has become one of Pierre Marcolini’s must-haves. The white chocolate provides a sugary touch, with the hint of raspberry lingering in the mouth, enhancing the flavour further. Whittard Rhubarb punch balances the sweetness of the white chocolate rhubarb, with elderberries, whole apple pieces, and bright hibiscus, adding mellow strawberry and blackberry leaves for a summer vibe.
Palet Or + Garden Party Blend
This signature box is a veritable guided tour of the Maison’s very finest products. It is a true journey of the senses that involves plain, infused, or fruity ganache, smooth caramels, crunchy pralines, and their iconic heart-shaped chocolate “Cœurs”.
Whittard Garden Party Blend is floral, fruity and celebration of everything that is loved about oolong tea’s distinctive taste. The vibrant flavours of passionfruit highlight the roasted, nutty notes of the leaf, while pieces of papaya, strawberry and pineapple create layered shades of sweetness. It is finished with a shower of orange marigold petals for a beautiful infusion. This is a tea to sip on balmy summer evenings, complemented by the dark chocolate and vanilla of the Palet Or.
This was an enjoyable and informative couple of hours, and I can definitely see why British people love tea and chocolate! We received a goodie bag containing Whittard’s Easter Tea, Lemon Meringue Hot Chocolate mix, and Pierre Marcolini’s signature chocolate box, so a huge thank you to Whittard Chelsea for inviting me.
I was invited to this event in exchange for a review. Views are my own.