Last night I had the pleasure of attending the launch of Baruzzo Chocolate’s Summer Collection, held at Machiavelli’s Italian kitchen & dining room, Covent Garden.  I asked Lynsay, my mother-in-law to tag along to taste – she gladly accepted the invitation!

Upon arrival we were greeted by Raffaella Baruzzo, the founder, talent, creator and “artist” behind Baruzzo fine Italian Chocolates.  Within seconds of meeting Raffaella, I was captivated by her passion for life, chocolate and all things decadent…




Raffaella Baruzzo (left) talks chocolate...


 

With a refreshing glass of Prosecco in my hand, I made my way to the tasting table where charming Vanessa was waiting to talk us through their new collection.  Right before my eyes lay an elegant display of exquisite, handmade chocolates - I immediately began to salivate!


 

 Eye candy... 

 
Vanessa  mentioned that when we open up a box of dazzling chocolates, we find ourselves faced with the challenge of deciding which one to eat first!  (I didn’t tell her that I usually end up eating them all anyway…)  She went on to say that to prevent this confusion (or rather “choc-fusion”) from happening, one should glance down briefly and see which chocolate attracts your eye first? As I gazed down at the eye candy, the pretty pink strawberry pattern winked at me and we immediately had a connection!  The anticipation was killing me…  I slowly raised the little “Strawberry and Balsamic” square to my trembling lips, bit it in half and braced myself, as the onslaught of flavour burst into my mouth. It slowly melted on my tongue, a velvety smooth and sweet combination, with a hint of rose and vanilla – I quickly scoffed the other half. (Elegantly of course.) 


 


Pretty in pink



My next victim was given a nickname, the “Paul Smith” of chocolates, by Lynsay.  (If you are not familiar with this UK designer, best you get Googling so you can stay in fashion!)  This little Italian Mojito morsel is filled with a mint and lemon Ganache, which is zesty and stimulating.  The flavour is very subtle and reminds me of Lemoncello.

 

Stripes just never go out of fashion...


    

I took a little break at this point, giving my palate time to settle whilst enjoying a few more sips of Prosecco, an excellent palate cleaner!  By this stage the room had filled up with food writers, Chocolatiers and fellow chocoholics. Raffaella introduced us to the Yael Rose, organiser of “The Chocolate Festival” (held each year in April at Southbank Centre, London).  We also had the pleasure of meeting her four handsome boys, who tagged along with Mum for the occasion (possibly enticed by the guarantee of free chocolate?) Yael and I chatted about all sorts of things, including blogging and of course, eating chocolate! 

 


 

 


As I was making my way back to the tasting table, Georgia (Restaurant manager of Machiavelli’s) kindly topped up glass and we got chatting about her restaurant, which only opened its doors 4 months ago.  The deli upstairs stocks a selection of Italian cheeses, olives and antipasta, as well as breads and other ingredients (the company is a renowned importer of Italian speciality foods).  The café / restaurant serves a variety of Italian dishes for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and they have an extensive wine list.





 

Back to the chocolates, I chose to sample the one with attractive circular patterns next.  I have to admit that the combination of Basil and chocolate doesn’t sound all that appealing, but I am always up for trying new things and this amalgamation really surprised me. The white chocolate Ganache is light and the flavour is rather dainty, with just a subtle “hint” of fragrant Basil. Truly delightful!



"Fresh Basil Ganache... brings to the palate
the feeling of a scented garden"


 
And last but not least, the Pink Peppercorn - a little dark square that reminds me of Aero… (Blush!)  I struggled to taste the pepper at first, but once the chocolate melted and hit the taste buds at the back of my tongue, I got the full effect of the pepper flavour.  Baruzzo’s describe it as “a very aromatic chocolate, with masculine notes that evoke the scents of woods, tobacco and old style Italian gentleman”.  I just love that description – it makes me think of Mussolini, sitting next to his mistress at his Lake Como villa, surrounded by trees and water, smoking a cigar while and gazing out at the beautiful scenery...
 
 

 
Definitely not an Aero!
 

 

Baruzzo Chocolate's new Summer Collection is delightful and totally indulgent.  (I haven’t yet decided which of the four is my favourite – I bought a box of 12 to take home with me, so there is no rush to decide just yet.)
 

 
24 piece assortment - hardly lethal to the waistline...


Thank you Baruzzo Chocolates for inviting me to your fabulous launch. 
 


Visit Baruzzo's website for more information on where to get your hands on a box of these fine Italian chocolates...