Luxury Chocolate in Highland Perthshire and The Signet Library Edinburgh
2 visits, 2 months apart, 1 Chocolatier, 1 Whisky Belle, 1 Mixologist,  4 Whiskies, and 4 Chocolates, Bliss…..
2 months ago whilst touring Highland Perthshire we took a detour to call into the Highland Chocolatier – Iain Burnett’s shop and factory in Grandtully, near Aberfeldy.
We had sampled his wonderful chocolates a number of times before for Birthdays and special occasions, and they are wonderful so decided to pop into his shop and café for a wee look and taste.
Windows look onto the chocolate factory and you can see all the chocolatiers at work creating their famous chocolates and truffles.
Here’s how it all started from Iain’s website:
 ” Iain’s passion began in northern Japan after discovering another Mâitre Chocolatier who had created a unique truffle. It took 3 years and over 120 fine adjustments for Iain to be satisfied with his own exquisite truffle recipe which uses only natural and fresh ingredients – the now famous Velvet TruffleTM.  In the process he honed the skills needed to become a genuine artisan chocolatier, developing techniques that require a great deal of time, skill and experience.  In 2006 our specially designed chocolate kitchen opened in Highland Perthshire. Iain and his team began to provide top chefs with gourmet truffles of an artisan quality unavailable elsewhere. The small dedicated team of chocolatiers are trained in-house to meticulously hand-craft chocolates. Recipe development in our kitchen is on a different level to others, combining the natural creativity of the team with a constant micro-level search for excellence – tiny alterations to temperatures to accentuate the crystallisation texture and utilisation of ballistics engineering expertise to reduce the thickness of the chocolate shell by a few microns for a more delicate experience.  Unlike moulded chocolates, our ganaches can be elegantly enrobed in chocolate, or experienced in its purest form without a chocolate shell at all!  We hope that you enjoy the chocolates as much as we enjoy creating them.”
Chocolates and Truffles made on the premises are sold in the shop.  They are not cheap, but of high quality.  We preferred to spend our money on the individual chocolates rather than the chocolate bars.  At £5+  the bars seem very expensive and I just couldn’t pay that for a bar of chocolate!  Perhaps if the shop had offered samples to taste I might have been convinced!
I fully appreciate that the ingredients sourced are to the highest standard and that they are all handmade but I just can’t get my head around the cost of the bars!
The boxes of chocolates are around £25 for 20 handmade chocolates .  For a special occasion, I think that’s acceptable!  They are of amazing quality and taste delightful!
The shop is split into 3 retail zones.  (1) Chocolate Shop – (2) Gift Shop and (3) Café
Considering we were in Highland Perthshire, in the heart of Scotland, the stock choices in the gift shop seemed quite bizarre.  There were very few local or high quality Scottish products.  Work to be done with stock selection I think!
Last on our places to visit was the Coffee Shop!  It was almost lunch time, but not too long after our breakfast so we decided to opt for Hot Chocolate and Toffee Apple Cake and Coffee and one of the Chocolatiers Highland Rocky Road Biscuits!

 

Hot Chocolate was £3.25 for a mug and the Toffee and Apple Cake was £2.95
  Highland Rocky Road was £2.25
At the higher end of the price scale these cakes and drinks had to be good…..and they were!
The Highland Rocky Road was Luxury on a plate……delicious.
The Toffee and Apple cake was sticky, moist and delightful.
Very enjoyable morning coffee break – but we wouldn’t have liked to have paid for a family of 4!

 

 

Hot Chocolate was £3.25 for a mug and the Toffee and Apple Cake was £2.95
  Highland Rocky Road was £2.25

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Roll forward 2 months and we are in the Signet Library at the Pommery Champagne Bar with the Whisky Belle.   As part of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival the Pommery Champagne Bar has set up camp in the Signet Library, just off the Royal Mile in Edinburgh.

 

 

On the 3rd, 10th, 17th and 24th August Annabel Meikle, The Whisky Belle will be running Chocolate, Whiskies and Cocktails each afternoon at 2pm – ticket price £25.00
We went along last weekend and Annabel who has worked in the Whisky industry for the last 12 years takes the Golf Club out of Whisky.
Annabel cuts through lots of the snobbery associated with whisky and runs an excellent session introducing 2 Whisky Cocktails, 1 Blended Whisky and 1 Malt Whisky paired with Iain Burnett’s wonderful handmade chocolates.

I absolutely love whisky cocktails so was delighted that the first drink we got to taste was a take on the Old Fashioned.  A mixture of Famous Grouse Whisky, Maraschino Cherry Liqueur and Lemon with ice.  This was paired with a chocolate dipped Cherry from the Highland Chocolatier.  A wonderful pairing and a fabulous luxurious start to the afternoon.
Next we nosed and sampled Glen Turret which was a very stylish smooth single malt.  Our sense of smell had been awoken on arrival when we were given smelling exercises to do!   Each table was given little paper sticks with scents on!  Vanilla….Grass…..Smelly Cheese! Your sense of smell is amazing and paints many more pictures than your eyes alone.
 Paired with this whisky Annabel had a Lime and Chilli Truffle – delightful!
Our second cocktail was a Bramble – Violet
Craig Bonner was the Mixologist and the cocktails were out of this world.
Violet was the name of the game with this cocktail – but good violet!
The chocolate pairing here was a Madagascan Vanilla Truffle with Honey and Raspberry.  It was Heaven.
Who said you can’t enjoy whisky and chocolate together!
If you have a spare afternoon over the next couple of weeks – be sure to book up this wonderful event.  It’s a truly relaxing, interesting, delicious and indulgent way to spend the afternoon!

 

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