UPDATE: Co Couture has now re-opened after being closed for a few months. Hooray!
Belfast chocolate lovers rejoice!
I thought I knew about all of the best spots in Belfast to grab a quality bite to eat/a treat but I only recently discovered the amazing, gourmet, Co Couture chocolate shop that resides beside City hall (left at city hall, past Cafe Nero, down some steps). When you first enter the shop, you’re immediately greeted with the smell of warm, melted chocolate, oh what a greeting it is! I was not the only customer to notice or appreciate this and it’s due to the chocolates being made on site with no door separating the seating area and kitchen, allowing the smells to float through.
The second thing that grabs your attention is the selection of chocolates and cute mini brownies on display. During my visit there were two brownie flavours: classic and salted cashew butter (gluten free). As for the chocolates, there was quite a range (and still more to come), some of which included: orange, hazelnut creme, Japanese cherry sencha (this was my choice) and even Irish whiskey truffle!
You get one of these chocolates with your order of coffee/hot chocolate and the rest are 80p each, which is an absolute bargain when you understand the high quality of these treats, evidence of which could be seen from the many awards that sat upon the shelves.
Impressive chocolate flavour
Immediately upon tasting the chocolate you’ll realise that these are very different from your average box of chocs that claim to be “dark” yet are only 40% cocoa solids. These differ not only in terms of darkness (most are 72%) but the flavours as well, which is also extended to their hot chocolate drink.
As the makers have slowly replaced raw unrefined cane sugar with the smallest amounts of honey, this allows the flavours to come through so much more, plus, you aren’t hit with a sugar rush which is why I feel most people would be satisfied and satiated with a small selection as opposed to having that uncontrollable sugar craving that is commonly associated with standard chocolate.
As I’ve just briefly mentioned, one of the key factors behind the rich flavour is that nearly all of them are now refined sugar free with only small amounts of honey being used and a bonus for those who are lactose intolerant/avoiding dairy is that the dark chocolate is dairy free. Furthermore, the base couverture chocolate that is used is organically sourced and originates from Madagascar, which provides a more developed, fruity flavour.
Another major plus which I loved is that because they use couverture chocolate in bar form rather than sourcing and grinding the beans themselves, this provides x4 times the profit for the cocoa farmers meaning that they get a better wage, now if that wasn’t a good enough reason to get you in there then maybe this next point is. The ganache that is made here to create the truffle centre is water based rather than cream, meaning it’s lower in calories but due to the overall rich cocoa content of the chocolate it does not affect the flavour.
Before you think it, kale is not on the list, I purposely left it out as I wanted to highlight other foods that I felt people wouldn’t normally think of or expect. These are all easily available in all shops and at very cheap prices.
There are also many, many more that I could add to this list but I decided to keep it short so that I didn’t bore anyone with too many long explanations, so remember that there are others out there and that eating a varied diet is a great idea.
This post is also very similar to another one I did called Everyday superfoods so I suppose you could see this as a part 2 in a way, I hope you find the info in both helpful.
So if you’ve even glanced at my blog before then you’ll know I’m a cacao maniac! I love the stuff, I honestly feel it’s one (if not thee!) best thing I’ve discovered. Therefore, when I found out there was a book about chocolate, it’s origins & the bean-to-bar process, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it.
FYI: Cacao refers to the less processed product & chocolate refers to the more processed typical form.
With a Masters in Food security, I do like to learn all I can about the food we eat and where it comes from, I’ve learnt so much from this book and feel that it should be shared with as many people as possible, so please share this post if you find it helpful.
The book I read and have used info-graphics from was “Chocolate- indulge your inner chocoholic” by Dom Ramsey.
With such an array of oils to choose from these days it can be a little daunting as to which one you should cook with. You may not think it’s overly important which one you use but there are some good reasons behind why you should cook with certain ones and use others only for cold dressings.
This is a topic I’ve wanted to share with people for a while, however I found it quite hard to explain certain concepts in a simple way so kept putting it on the back burner but was recently approached by Two kitchen junkies who have written about this exact topic is an excellent way, covering all the main points I feel people should know, particularly smoke point & fat content.
I hope you guys find it useful and come away from it with a better understanding of how to choose your oils. xx
I’m always looking for good, natural brands for both food products and skin care products. I usually have to try out a fair few before finding one that I like, so I’ve summarised some of the products that I’ve found in 2016 that I really enjoy using and give some pros & cons so that others can make informed decisions.
1- Bloom tea matcha (Mindpower flavour)
If you’re not aware of what matcha is, I’ve written a post about it before, see here.
I chose this flavour as I like ginger and was curious about the taste and I have to say this one is damn good! If you are a matcha drinker then you’ll know it’s not the best tasting drink out there so getting one with a little zingy flavour in it is a bonus. Plus they are organic and sourced from Japan.
You can purchase this tea on amazon, online or via Holland & Barrett.
Every year is the same, we all buy/make too much food then end up with tons leftover and no idea what to do with it. But this year, fear not, here is a great infographic which shows different recipes for typical leftovers including meat and mince pies. Enjoy and have a happy Christmas everyone! xXx (more…)