“All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.”
― Charles M. Schulz
One of life’s simple pleasures is to allow a small square of top quality chocolate to melt in your mouth...
… And one of the signs of adulting is the ability to savour that pleasure slowly, without gobbling it down in ten seconds flat.
So what better way to spend a morning than sitting in a cosy farmhouse, tucked away in the beautiful Sussex countryside, breathing in the heady aroma of warm cocoa, sampling and discussing all things chocolate with an expert like Kim Bang-Sorensen.
If someone asks you ‘where does the best chocolate come from?’ you’d probably say Belgium, France, Switzerland or perhaps Italy. It’s unlikely you would put Denmark in the top ten. But it is Kim’s native country that inspired him to bring chocolate excellence to markets and shops in the south of England with his PURE Chocolate Truffles.
In Denmark there’s a Christmas tradition of giving home-made marzipan-filled chocolates, something Kim loved to do for his friends and family.
‘When I introduced my English friends to these delicacies, even those who didn’t like marzipan were amazed at how good they were. So when I began looking to set up my own business here in the UK, I decided to bring my native country’s chocolate treats to a wider audience.’
‘Good quality chocolate is easier to find in the UK now, thanks to companies like Hotel Chocolat. But it’s not the same story with truffles and other filled chocolates.’
He tried several brands and decided he could do better.
‘I want to prove that chocolate truffles can be made without any colouring, additives or preservatives. It’s taken a lot of time, trial and error and I have worked hard to find the right suppliers.’
‘I first started with my own hand-dipped marzipan treats which tasted great but I quickly learned that I needed to use moulds to get that really appetising shine on the surface. I learned how to temper the chocolate to make sure it keeps a smooth, glossy appearance and has a good ‘snap’ so the outer shell is crisp and contrasts with the smoothness inside.’
‘It took a long time to get the consistency just right; it needs to be soft and stay moist so I usually use a liqueur, although I do produce alcohol-free ones as well.’
It’s that attention to detail that puts PURE Chocolate Truffles in a league of their own. Delicately balanced flavours abound, like the caramel, cherry, cinnamon and Cointreau truffle or the dark chocolate, blueberry and cognac truffle covered in white chocolate with a filigree leaf pattern.
‘I’m always experimenting, always innovating. For example, the pattern on the top of the white chocolate comes from my latest acquisition – magnetic moulds which have templates of tiny designs in cocoa butter on the base. When the truffles are set you can pop them out and the design emerges.’
Another new line is ruby chocolate, made with specially selected cocoa beans which have a naturally occurring pink colour. The result is a smooth, dusky-rose milk chocolate with a deliciously distinctive fruity taste.
‘I listen to my customers. I adore dark chocolate and at first I only made chocolates that suited my taste but so many people asked for white or milk chocolate I learned to make what people wanted.’
‘The packaging is important too – if you’re selling a high quality product you need to make sure it looks great.’
With my allergy to cow’s milk it was a pleasure to learn he has vegan options too. As Kim says, ‘Why shouldn’t people on special diets be able to enjoy good chocolate? I also make sure I have a selection of dairy-free alternatives and sugar-free chocolate.’
Of course these are individually hand-crafted chocolates and Kim knows that most of his customers are buying them as gifts for special occasions.
‘Chocolates are a treat but if you buy the best they’re so rich you only need one or two.’
‘Chocolate can really lift the spirits. I like to think I am in the business of making people happy.’
Pork Belly can only agree – he left PURE Chocolate Truffles in a very good mood indeed.
More about PURE Chocolate Truffles
You can find PURE Chocolate Truffles in shops and cafes across Sussex, Hampshire and Surrey or you can order online
Kim can also be found at farmers markets in the south east where he loves to chat to people about their ideas about what makes a good chocolate treat – you never know, your favourite flavour might be his next creation.