If you asked someone to draw you chocolate, the chances are they’d draw it in its most recognisable form, the humble chocolate block. Your typical giant Wonka bar with yummy chunks to break off. With a touch of imagination though, anything is possible. And just like at Willy Wonka's factory where everything's edible and the flavours go beyond expectation, so to is the world of Little Black Cat Gourmet, where one woman is melting, mixing and moulding chocolate and taking it to new heights.
Amber is an artisan chocolatier who fuses traditional Asian flavours with high quality single origin chocolate. She draws upon her Pakistani and British heritage to create her own unique blends. She enthuses: 'I’ve always loved chocolate. My parents owned a sweetshop so from a very young age chocolate has been influential in my life.'
But as much as she was an appreciator of the brown stuff, she also saw its limitations. She explains: 'If you buy premium chocolates in the shops inevitably there will be something in there that you can’t eat like they may have alcohol in them. So I wanted to create luxury, very good tasting chocolate suitable for people with a Halal and vegetarian diet. I also wanted to open people up to Asian flavours that they may not necessarily associate with chocolate but that work really, really well. And her creations don't disappoint.
Cardamom, saffron and Himalayan pink salt are just a few of the Asian inspired flavours Anber incorporates into her chocolate fusions. Her chocolatey take on mango kulfi is particularly satisfying, as you crunch through a snappy layer of white chocolate into a gooey perfectly spiced real mango centre; it really is a flavour and texture sensation.
'I want people to feel absolute bliss. Chocolate for me is something that takes you away from the day to day mundane into a new world, creating an explosion of taste in your mouth,' said Anber. The chocolate she uses for Little Black Cat Gourmet is single origin meaning the beans used are sourced from a single country and can often be traced to a single plantation. One of the main chocolates used, the 'Chocolat Madagascar', is part of the Raise Trade Sustainable Development Project. This means that the cocoa is grown and processed in Madagascar, supporting local farmers and workers.
Alongside her scrumptious range of boxed confections, Little Black Cat Gourmet recently launched a Mughal inspired chocolate jewellery collection complete with gem and pearl details and the best part is, it’s completely edible. Although wearing it for too long could become a sticky situation!
Little Black Cat Gourmet offers custom chocolates for weddings. After consulting with the bride and the groom, Anber creates chocolates that reflect their tastes, personality and even packaging that fits with the colour scheme. For Game of Thrones fans there’s a Chocolate Dragon’s egg with a baby chocolate dragon inside made out of raspberry flavoured milk chocolate with popping candy that even Khaleesi would eat. There’s also a 'Dark Side' collection of chocolate with dark chocolate centred Darth Vader and Stormtrooper helmets. If you’re a Star Wars fan, these are the chocolates you are looking for.
Whether you’re gifting Mughal inspired chocolate necklaces to bridesmaids at your wedding, cracking open a dragon's egg whilst someone gets decapitated on Game of Thrones or simply enjoying a box all by yourself, in bed, on your day off, next time you're after a treat that's a little bit different, a little bit special and hits all the right spots, check out the choices at Little Black Cat Gourmet.