Now most of us love chocolate, although weirdly there were three girls in my year at school who really didn't, but how many of us love it enough to invest in this beauty?
Renowned chocolatier Nicolas Cloiseau, Master Chef of La Maison du Chocolat, presents the Tree of Wonder, a feast for the senses, a tree that reaches for the sky, gently swaying in an imaginary breeze; a tree to defy the limits of chocolate.
Within its 25 rings of chocolate, decorations and ornaments twinkle, and nut-filled chocolate drops hang form imaginary branches by thread, illuminated by twinkling garlands. Almost transparent, the ethereal structure epitomises the spirit of Christmas, a mix of art and indulgence, complete with a forest of Christmas symbols, laden with pinecones and glowing ornaments.
The Tree of Wonder contains 25 finely crafted dark chocolate disks of different diameters, 130 dark chocolate pinecones in 3 sizes, 10 drop-shaped ornamanets in dark or blond chocolate with mendicant nuts (almonds from Valencia, enrobed almonds, Piedmont hazelnuts, pecans, Sicilian pistachios and pine nuts, dark chocolate beads, gold leaf and gold threads.
This amazing structure, which stands 67cm tall and weighs 4kg, is priced at £700.
However, if your budget won't stretch that far, Cloiseau's graceful and beautiful Christmas collection also includes beautiful 120g Christmas Ornaments (height 14.5cm), priced £26.
We also highly recommend the delicious Gourmandises (£29), a selection of praline twigs with different additions to the chocolate. The box includes:
- Dark chocolate praline crêpe dentelle: pure whipped hazelnut praline with silvers of crispy crêpes enrobed in dark chocolate. The flavour of the dark chocolate is very pronounced with notes of biscuits, salt (Maldon fleur de sel) and praline;
- Dark chocolate praline caramelised biscuit (5 pieces) : whipped praline with almonds and hazelnuts with slivers of caramelised biscuits, enrobed in dark chocolate. The flavour of cooked caramelised biscuits is joined by milk dark chocolate notes and creamy notes;
- Milk chocolate praline roasted coconut (6 pieces) : whipped almond praline with roasted, caramelised grated coconut, enrobed in milk chocolate. You notice the flavour of roasted coconut associated with the notes of milk chocolate, biscuit and almond praline.
And the beautiful seasonal flavours Nicolas Cloiseau has used to create the Wonders of Christmas chocolate collection, with the citrus of Christmases past, flavours of candied fruits, the warmth of almond paste, and the addition of spicy, delicate notes; a new look at the cherished flavours of Christmas. The chocolates are available in 17, 38 or 74 selections, priced from £22. The box includes:
- Spicy Cacao - A dark chocolate, from an exclusive Venezuelan cacao vintage, imparts nuances of its pure origin featuring delicate and spicy Christmas flavours. From beginning to end, the roasted intense cocoa notes reveal an increasing bitterness prolonged by a lovely finish on the palate.
- Praline Masquerade - In the tradition of Yuletide fruits, Nicola Cloiseau revisits a chocolate classic. Almonds are the mainstay of this traditional praline, scattered with pieces of dates. The frank taste of almond bolsters the sweetness and texture of moist, silky dates.
- Lemon Bergamot - From a selection of delicate wintertime citrus, Nicolas Cloiseau marries hazelnuts with the refined tones of Sicilian Bergamot, enhanced with lemon juice. Crisp light acidulous notes give some panache to this robust praline featuring hazelnuts from Piedmont.
- Silky Almond - Continuing the spirit of Christmas confections, almond paste is presented in a chocolate guise. Imagine sweet Sicilian almonds crushed in chocolate fondue... The wonderful chococlate almond paste flavour blends at the finish with notes of evergreen honey.
- Clementine Square - Candied fruits have always been a must-have on Christmas tables. A pureee of finely crushed candied Clementine rinds, accented with candied orange, puts a new twist on this classic. Bite into a very delicious chocolate with silky texture and revel in delightful Corsican citrus flavour.
La Maison du Chocolat products can be purchased online, at their Piccadilly boutique or in Harrods and Selfridges.