This story was first published on our Facebook page in 2018 as part of our ‘The 12 Days of Chocolate’ flavour story series. So, why did we decide to do ‘The 12 Days of Chocolate’ that year? For a few reasons really. Richard designed the Christmas Boxes many moons ago with 12 different flavours to tie in with the 12 Days of Christmas. Having worked with Richard for the second Christmas running, I (Laura) knew first hand he had many fascinating facts and anecdotes surrounding his chocolate and I thought they should be shared! As a very humble man and not one for the ‘limelight’, it took some convincing, but we hope you enjoy finding out a bit more about the chocolates and feel free to share and like these posts.
This flavour is fairly new to the Lefevre Chocolate Christmas Boxes, making its debut in 2017. Each year Richard tries to change at least one flavour in the box. It was my first year working with Richard on the Christmas Boxes and during a brainstorming session I put forward some Christmassy flavour ideas, including Gingerbread (I also mentioned Brussel Sprouts, Goose Fat, Stuffing and numerous others but they were thrown out – for now!)
Richard had never even tasted a Gingerbread chocolate before, nor tried to make it so this was going to need some serious research and development. But he loves a challenge! He started thinking about what spices and ingredients are used in actual Gingerbread, deconstructing the flavour profile. The first time he made it, he added the spices straight into the chocolate ganache. Chocolate ganache is a combination of chocolate and double cream and is the basis for chocolate truffles of all flavours. It also makes the very best cake frosting, filling or icing imaginable.
However, the first try at making these truffles was a fail. The spices ended up stuck in his teeth and coating his mouth. Not a pleasant experience. So, he worked on creating a Gingerbread syrup. Steeping the spices in hot sugar, using it as a flavouring oil slowly added to the ganache mix. Again, trial and error here to get the right balance of chocolate to Gingerbread flavouring. The ratio of which is obviously a much-kept secret. He found milk chocolate to be the best for creaminess which countered the heat of the ginger notes but dipped it in dark chocolate to bring out the bitter notes of the Gingerbread flavour profile.
We then came across the Gingerbread transfer design sheets. Which are made by printing coloured buttercream onto plastic. When these sheets are laid onto melted chocolate, the buttercream melts into the chocolate and then you leave it to set, peel off the plastic and there you have the design in your set chocolate! It is quite magical to peel the plastic off the set choc and see the finished look. The transfer sheets are called ‘Gingy’ – which is what I used to call my maternal grandmother, so that always makes us smile when we are making them. She didn’t have ginger hair, I said Gingy – as in rhymes with dingy. I think she’d have loved them too.
We chose the square shape for these chocolates as you then get to see a lot of the transfer design on the top of the chocolate. We’ve kept this flavour for the second year – the 2018 boxes – as it was so popular last year. The 3 or 4 attempts to make this one really paid off and we think it will be a main stay for years to come. It was also one of two new flavours I helped create in Lefevre Chocolates’ first year under new branding and name. Richard has been in the chocolate game for 21 years but under different names and in different areas of the UK.