The best chocolate for Valentine's Day
We sought out Valentine’s offerings from six small-scale chocolate makers based in Scotland
Balnakeil Craft Village, Durness, Sutherland, 01971 511233, www.cocoamountain.co.uk
‘Summit Collection’ with 20 chocolates £19.50
Plain but neat cardboard box and dividers with a wholesome recycled feel. Classic dusky textured truffle balls sprinkled with icing sugar like snow-topped Highland mountains. Mix of sweet white chocolate, milk chocolate, Turkish delight and dark chocolate truffles with alcoholic aftertaste.
Top tip heavy on chocolately crumbs, so not ideal for leaving on the pillow.
Glasgow, www.kshocolat.co.uk. Available on-line and in stores such as Harvey Nichols and John Lewis.
Box of ten Pink Champagne Truffles £4.99
Generally Kschocolat’s packaging is superb, though these look a bit dreary. Until you eat them. They look a little like corner-shop strawberry bonbons, but the firm yet delicate chocolate shell masks some luscious, fruity truffle inside.
Top tip don’t serve them to your loved one in the packaging.
255 St Johns Road, Edinburgh, 0131 334 8739, www.hotchocolates.biz
Bag with 400g Sao Thomé 70% dark chocolate drops £6.50
As a change from boring old chocolates why not make your loved one a silky smooth hot chocolate in the Spanish style, mixing a little cornflour into hot milk and then dropping in a handful of these wonderfully rich, deep flavoured choc drops. No sugar, no powders.
Top tip don’t nibble through the whole packet before you get round to making the drink.
Plaisir du Chocolat
48 Thistle Street, Edinburgh, 0131 225 9900, www.plaisirduchocolat.com.
Box of six white chocolate hearts £4.85
Not just hearts but bleeding hearts, which is only off-putting until you put them in your mouth. A crack of sweet white chocolate and you’re into the luscious interior of aromatic, velvety truffle. Welcome back, Edinburgh’s favourite chocolatier.
Top tip try not to buy the whole shop when you go.
Coco of Bruntsfield
174 Bruntsfield Place, Edinburgh, 0131 228 4526, www.cocochocolate.co.uk.
The Tattoo Love collection of six chocolates £8.50
The 1920s tattoo designs have a quirky, retro appeal, although on first glance you wouldn’t instantly assume that you were about to sample chocolates. Solid chocolate - no soft centres here - with a lingering, dusky aftertaste.
Top tip off-beat choice if soppy pink hearts and roses make you gag.
Charlotte Flower Chocolates
The Old Schoolhouse, Acharn, Aberfeldy, Perthshire, 01887 830307, www.charlotteflowerchocolates.co.uk
Box of nine chocolates £7
Stunning looking, shiny dark chocolate laid out like a tiled marble floor with inlaid patterns and gold leaf decoration. The use of seasonal, fresh ingredients rather than essential oils means the flavours such as Seville orange and rose and cardamom are restrained.
Top tip Lapsang Souchong flavour is one for ardent drinkers of the tea only
Samplers Ashley Davies, Donald Reid, Mark Robertson and Robert Scrimgeour. All companies offer online shopping.