Feast your eyes on these gourmet chocolates made by Suffolk chef
- Credit: Sian Edgeworth
It’s official. This is the year of the bon bon. Not those fusty, sherbetty sour, impossible-to-chew sweets of yesteryear. No, I mean crisp-shelled, lustre-swirled chocolates, filled to the brim with ganaches, jellies, pastes and creams.
The kind of delectables you’ll see pastry chefs flustering over on Great British Bake Off: The Professionals as eagle-eyed Cherish Finden lurks nearby.
During lockdown a new generation of chocolatiers has spawned from the nation’s restaurant kitchens. Chefs of all calibres have, in a soul-soothing attempt at recovering something from furlough, been showcasing their talents to a whole new audience. Amongst the cohort is Soham-born Louis Beckett, who has been wowing customers with his Xocolat bon bons in hues from lapis blue, to jaunty yellow and green (for his favourite footie team, Norwich).
Louis has worked all over the country, largely in pastry, including spells at The Latymer, The Westbury, Mark Poynton’s Alimentum in Cambridge, and Urban Caprice (from the folk behind The Ivy). “I went away for a year in Australia and when I came back Covid hit so I thought it was the perfect time to do what I wanted to with chocolate,” Louis says of his new career.
Working from a kitchen in Burwell, Louis masterfully makes all his chocolates to order for nationwide delivery, in boxes of 6, 12 or 24, changing the flavours in the collection seasonally – while keeping the mainstay salted caramel.
“I like to switch it up quite dramatically. The first collection had cookies and cream, chocolate Bailey’s cheesecake (because I love Bailey’s), and confit orange and dark chocolate. Currently I’ve got tonka bean cheesecake, lemon meringue and raspberry and lychee – that's bloody delicious!”
Louis draws on his expertise in pastry to inspire his fillings. “My time in the kitchen means I’ve learned what works and what doesn’t. Your eyes are more open when you’ve worked outside of being a chocolatier. You have a more broad spectrum of skills than if you’d done chocolate straight off the bat.”
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Fancy shapes are out in the chocolate world of 2021. “It’s all about the flavour combinations,” explains Louis. “Raspberry and lychee – that just works so well. And passionfruit and olive oil? Well it sounds a bit weird, but the acidity from the passion fruit works really well with the oil. They complement each other.”
Louis now creates upwards of 1,400 chocolates every week. They’re made fresh on Mondays and Tuesdays with a cut-off of Tuesday for ordering, and are shipped on a Wednesday with a shelf life of four weeks.
You might see them on your staycation if you happen to be away in the Highlands or Wiltshire, where they’ve been snapped up by some local businesses. Closer to home find them at The Pantry in Newmarket or order at xocolatbylouisbeckett.co.uk