The inspiration for many of our filled chocolate flavours comes from our travel and holidays abroad, and this is why we name each of our chocolate after a city. This year one of our new chocolates is "Rio de Janeiro".
Last Christmas we spent a few days in the beautiful city of Rio de Janeiro, to relax after a very hectic 2016. It's one of those cities we have always wanted to visit but never got the chance. Last year, after watching the Rio2016 Olympic Games on television, we knew we had to go there.
One thing that we really loved in the city was the number of juice bars in the streets. With the intense heat in mid-summer, the temperature reached over 30 degrees Celsius even before noon, and it's a welcoming relief to buy some fresh juice / smoothie from a juice bar to cool ourselves down. We would choose something different at each visit through the day. By the end of the holiday, we learnt so many Portuguese words, all related to fruit!
We also had a lot of delicious food in Rio. The Brazilian cuisine is pretty diverse, and we really enjoy the freshness of the food with the wonderful explosion of flavours in their cooking.
When we arrived back in London end of January, we started thinking whether we would be able to put Rio on our filled chocolate map this year - the answer was a very quick and solid "YES"! We knew that the filling would be a fruit-based one, but there were so many choices. We have always wanted to do a banana chocolate since we started in 2013, and as we had several banana-based smoothies and a few amazing banana desserts, that seemed like the natural choice straightaway.
Very early on we decided against a Banana Foster flavour even though it's an easy choice to use cinnamon and rum - all ingredients would pair well with chocolate. In the end we opted for cardamom to pair with the banana, as this is a less obvious flavour pairing. We have also decided to go for a caramel-based chocolate to give that gooey texture in a roasted banana dessert. The result is our Banana & Cardamom Caramel chocolate!
The "look" of the chocolate has also gone through several iterations and we have now settled on a square shape with yellow and green colours - reflecting the base colours of the Brazilian flag.
It surprised us that it did not take long to develop this chocolate - on average it would take about 3-6 months, but this one was developed in much shorter timeframe, and we were receiving some very good feedback from friends and customers. By April we were already so happy with the chocolate that we decided to enter it into the International Chocolate Awards British National Competition. This chocolate followed the footstep of our "New York" (Apple & Calvados Caramel) to win the Gold award in the milk chocolate enrobed caramel category, and it's the 2nd year in a row that this is the only caramel-based chocolate that has won a Gold award in the British round of the International Chocolate Awards.
Currently this chocolate is available in our Personal Selection boxes. Later on in the year, it will also be available in some of our other chocolate boxes.