Edinburgh Chocolate Festival returns

Jo Fraser, left, and Sharon McNeil prepare some goodies for this weekend's Chocolate Festival. Picture: Greg Macvean

Jo Fraser, left, and Sharon McNeil prepare some goodies for this weekend's Chocolate Festival. Picture: Greg Macvean

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SWEET-TOOTHED citizens will think Christmas has come early when the second Edinburgh Chocolate Festival kicks off this weekend.

Organisers Jo Fraser and Sharon McNeil got the idea three years ago after realising the Capital is home to a veritable selection box of makers of quality treats.

After the success of the first event last year, the pair have again returned to celebrate the Capital’s chocolate artisans.

Jo, who lives in Slateford, said: “The Chocolate Festival was just something we dreamed up after we realised how many exceptional chocolate makers there are in Edinburgh and Scotland.

“It’s odd, as chocolate isn’t really something you associate with this country.”

One quintessentially Scottish twist is proving particularly popular, with many local chocolatiers planning to tempt the tastebuds with haggis-
flavoured chocolates.

Calum Haggerty, 31, who has recently taken over Coco Chocolate, based in Bruntsfield Place and Broughton Street, said he was excited to be making his festival debut.

He said: “I’m still deciding what to bring along. One definite is a ‘Best of British’ selection we made for the Olympics and the Jubilee.

“That includes chocolates flavoured with gin and tonic, marmalade, and our best-selling bar – haggis ­flavour.”

Ali Gower, owner of The Chocolate Tree, which also has premises in Bruntsfield Place, is also bringing haggis-spiced chocolate, among his various other creations, which the company makes straight from the bean itself.

Nadia Ellingham, 46, owner of Thinking Chocolate on London Road, will be bringing what are believed to be the only haggis truffles currently in ­production.

She said: “We like to work with unusual, seasonal flavours that you wouldn’t expect to work well with chocolate. As well as our haggis truffles, we’ve also made bacon and tomato soup brownies, and our special umami truffles, which are flavoured with anchovies, sun-dried tomatoes and porcini mushrooms.”

The Capital’s first dedicated celebration of all things chocolate was held last year in The Scotsman Hotel and even the organisers were taken aback by the response.

“We actually had to stop letting people in. Hopefully we’ll have the same level of interest this year,” said Jo.

• The Edinburgh Chocolate Festival will be held in the Surgeons’ Hall this Saturday and Sunday.

Join the cocoa-fuelled search for inner peace

AMONG the delights at the festival will be mouth-watering organic handmade white chocolate bars from Coco Chocolate with strawberry and green pepper, made with 100 per cent cocoa butter.

The Chocolate Tree can aid your search for inner peace with its crystallised ginger and dark chocolate Buddhas, or help you unleash your wilder side with its Absinthe Masks, made from high quality French absinthe, fresh cream and dark chocolate.

Chocolate lovers will also be able to try Thinking Chocolate’s Ganache Torte, which comes in cardamom, chilli and orange, or chestnut flavour.