Sunday 17 July 2011

The Melange - SE15

Chocolate is a big part of our lives. Always has been and I suspect it always will be! We all start with our favourite childhood chocolate and then slowly move on to more refined versions, as our palettes slowly learn to deal with the rich and bitter flavour of dark chocolate. For me the best mass produced, milk chocolate from my childhood was ION with almonds. I can still eat whole bars of it - it is seriously creamy, a rich milk chocolate with whole almonds.

By the age of 16 I started enjoying the flavour of dark chocolate more and more and by the time I was at University, I used to consume a whole bar of dark chocolate every night with my housemate. We found the Sainsbury's own 70% was pretty good and to our budgetary needs as students! Then there was that trip to Brussels with my husband a good 6 years ago. We decided to go to every chocolate shop we could find and get 4-5 chocolates from each. We then tasted them each evening and decided which shop was the best, so that we could return and get 500g worth of the stuff to bring back to the UK (excluding the kilo of Leonidas gianduja pralines...). Pierre Marcolini was the winner all three times we went to Brussels in the last few years. That was my first exposure to Earl Grey chocolate, amongst other great flavours, and it was fantastic!

In the UK my favourite chocolate shop is Artisan du Chocolat. They offer great products (salted caramels, pearls etc) and the quality is always great and consistent and the price is not ridiculous! Melt and William Curley are also great at times, but only as a very special treat - they can be a little on the pricey side.

Then there is The Melange. This chocolate shop does not offer the same variety as many of the other top chocolateries in London, but it does offer great quality chocolate with some very interesting flavour combinations. The service is very friendly and knowledgeable and the environment is vintage and very relaxed.

We tried most of the chocolate bars they have on offer in the shop. Every time I tried one I decided that that one was my favourite. The cocoa flavour is deep and the added ingredients come through discretely. This time we bought some truffles for home, as well as a slice of their chocolate cake.

The cake was as rich as any good chocolate cake should be. There was very little sweetness, but it was soft and light in texture, the richness only coming from the depth of chocolate flavour. The truffles were also good, though not as 'truffly' as expected. We tried a coffee truffle and a whisky truffle. Both had good flavour of both the chocolate and the flavouring, but the texture was a little too hard on the outside. Still, very enjoyable and for £6.50 for 12, not a bad price.

The Melange on Bellenden Road in Peckham is a very good option for those looking for something a little bit different and special for reasonable prices.

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