Its wonderful when an old friend introduces you to a new friend. Its even more wonderful when that new friend happens to be a generous choclatier. Fiona Sciolti’s chocolate making skills are all self taught and the recipes for her signature range are all her own; devised, produced, tried and tested by herself in her own chocolate studio. They’re all hand dipped and made from local ingredients. When I listened to Rod Whiting interviewing her for the BBC breakfast show in her home county of Lincolnshire yesterday morning I was more than a bit jealous when I heard the ecstatic sounds coming from the radio each time Rod and his co presenter dipped into the bag of samples Fiona had bought with her. I needn’t have worried, though, because guess what arrived in that afternoon’s post? The full signature range for me to try!
Naturally, I had to sample at least half of all six chocolates in the range. Anything else would have been totally unprofessional and we wouldn’t want that would we? Let me start by describing the range’s general theme; good local ingredients combined with a great deal of imagination, an awful lot of skill and an emphasis on the English countryside. Take, for example, the Blackberry and English Apple brandy white chocolate with its creamy, light centre. Like all the chocolates in Fiona’s range, it manages to straddle the line between lightness and complete indulgence. They are dangerous because they don’t have that cloying richness that some chocolates of this type have – which means you can eat far more than one or two (or is that just me?). The Scorched Caramel (main photo) is further evidence of Fiona’s understanding of lavishness. The crisp chocolate casing snaps easily and yields a creamy, deep centre which gives you no option but to make the noise I heard on the radio that morning each time the interviewer bit into another choice from the goodie bag. The qualities evident throughout the whole range are the clear definition of each flavour, interesting combinations (the Lemon Verbona & Lime is especially fascinating) and skilled balancing of the elements in each chocolate. My particular favourite is the Green Tea and Cherry, which is why it is absent from the photos. I ate the whole thing in one go, I couldn’t stop myself. In terms of what I think of Sciolti Chocolates, I think that says it all.