Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Great British Spiced Chocolate Challenge 2015

I attended the launch of The Great British Spiced Chocolate Challenge earlier this year when the gauntlet went down inviting participants to create a chocolate using over 300 spices supplied by the artisan spice company 'Seasoned Pioneers' and a fantastic prize offered by sponsors British Airways and Pure Grenada.

On 03 September 2015 the judges met for the preliminary of The Great British Spiced Chocolate challenge at Poggenpohl Waterloo at their luxury kitchen and bathroom showrooms.

The judges were split into four main groups each tasting a different selection trying to find the one or two chocolates that stood out above the rest on their tables.

There were ummmm's and aaahhh's and a few noooo's but mostly there were smiles and happy sounds emanating from the tables.
A group of judges looking so serious, all chocolate lovers!
Taste was a big part of the criteria but being innovative and different and looking original and good also played a part.
Each entry was only known by a number with a description of what the flavour aim was.
So much tasting and scoring to be done.
The list of entries never seemed to end!
So many entries to try, so little time .......!!
Happy face of judge Hazel Lee who is obviously trying a really nice specimen.
Andrew Mellon, the organiser called everyone together to let a judge from each group talk us through their choice(s) of the entry that stood out for them.
Each Head Judge came onto the stage and explained and justified their top entries.
Then with the serious work of the evening over it was time for cheese and wine!! We enjoyed an informed tutorial of cheese and wine matching of some really great specimens of both!
The Cheese and Wine Tasting was in the Poggenphol 4th Wall Kitchen behind the showroom.  We were treated to the most amazing collection of cheeses from The Fine Cheese Company of Bath, England and wines to match perfectly from OW Loeb & Co Ltd, shippers of fine wines since 1874.
Utensils for the perfect cutting and serving of the cheeses.
I think this was my favourite cheese of the evening, a British 'Camambert' like cheese that was so creamy and had a full taste.  We drank a Mercurey rouge 2010 from Domaine Dureuil-Janthial, France
A 'forest' of creamy blue cheese pieces for the tasting, Fourme D'Ambert Affineur Xavier Morin.
The suggested wine a smooth Riversaltes Tuile rouge 2006 from Domaine de Chenes, cotes de Roussillon Villages (old vine Grenache noir).
Another strong and mature cheese, Affineur Walo Starnachas which went so well with this rose wine, Rivesaltes Ambre 2005 from Domaine de Chenes, Cotes de Roussilon Villages.
I found this Spanish Manchego truly exquisite.  The taste was perfectly smooth but not overwhelming and the suggested wine was thick and sweet, a Cuva Vella Raim Moscatel 1980 from Valencia.
All in all it was a really fun evening with guests declaring their preferences for the chocolates as well as the cheese and wine. 

The chocolates picked on the evening will then be judged again and the winner will have his/her chocolate fast-tracked into a top London food hall in time or Christmas.  The winner will also receive a prize from event sponsors British Airways and Pure Grenada of a 7-day trip to the island of Grenada for the 2016 Grendada Chocolate Festival.

Well renowned chocolatier Paul A Young has created an official GBSCC 'sugar & spice' bar of chocolate with a donation of £2 from the sale of each bar will go directly to The Trussell Trust, the charity of the challenge and the supporters and operators of the largest network of food banks in the UK.  The bar of chocolate will retail at £4.50.

Keep an eye out on this blog for details of the winning chocolate coming soon.

I was a guest of The Great British Spiced Chocolate Challenge.  All photos and opinions are my own.


  1. fabulous looking cheeses and chocolates. I'm not sure which I'd want to eat more of!

    1. The cheese was particularly outstanding!

  2. I would not have left the chocolate bit. They would have had to drag me out of there.

    1. I would have stayed in the cheese bit forever!!

  3. Oh Heidi, I am too jealous for words. You've down more chocolate things this year than I've done over the whole history of my chocolate blog.