You’ve read The Secret Doctor, The Secret Lawyer, and The Secret Teacher – now it’s time for our new column to give secret behind-the-scenes insights and recommendations from Knoops: Oxford’s favourite hot chocolate store.
Ever been overwhelmed by the sheer number of options and possible combinations when you walk through those doors on Turl Street? Ever been too scared to go for a bold order for fear of it being all wrong? Ever wondered just how that chocolate tastes so damn good? In this column, I’m going to give you a peek behind the curtain and all the tips and tricks you need to make that ultimate indulgence even better.
There are roughly 20 chocolates always on offer in Knoops and it goes without saying that some are better than others. Although the price is often the first thing people look at, the key is often looking deeper. As you can imagine, all of the staff have all tried every last one so asking for pairing recommendations is always a good idea if you have a personal preference but for my first piece I’ll offer you a perfect drink for whatever mood your in; white, milk, dark or extra dark.
35% (Colombia) – Oat milk, lime and lemon
Out of the two white options, the 35% single origin is far superior, offering a distinctive taste as opposed to its oversweet counterpart. Paired with either an oat or almond milk to balance the sweetness, lime and/or lemon are the perfect combo for an indulgent and refined drink.
43% (Venezuela) – Hazlenut milk, cinnamon and sea salt
The 43% is the highest grade milk chocolate but still easily sweet enough. The hazelnut milk balances that sweetness and the cinnamon and sea salt bring out the butterscotch notes.
64% (Peru) – Hazlenut milk, cardamon and nutmeg
This is a staff favourite. Dark but not too dark, it is always what I recommend for people who say they fancy something dark but aren’t feeling bold enough to go too far up the scale. The cardamon is the dream pairing with the nutmeg.
80% (Uganda) – Coconut milk, sea salt, chilli
The 80% actually isn’t as overpowering as some of the lower percentage extra darks such as the 75% or 73% but has a truly distinctive flavour and nuttiness to it. Coconut milk balances the bitterness perfectly and sea salt and chilli help bring out the flavour of the chocolate itself
Feeling extra bold?
Go for a 100%. Just once, take the leap. Some love it some hate it so be prepared or maybe get it with a friend to share. It is sensational paired with soya milk for extra thickness and with some sea salt to enhance the truly magical flavour notes. For a truly perfect experience get a marshmallow on the side, peel of bits of it at a time, leave to melt in the drink and sip through the marshmallow itself – this way you get the beautiful flavour of the 100% balanced by the indulgent sugary sweetness of the sugary vanilla.
So, that’s it for week 1. Email [email protected] with any questions, personal favourites, or Knoops-related queries…
Image: CC2:0//Via Wikimedia commons.