I am a chocoholic, no doubt about it. In moderation of course but I definitely enjoy both milk and dark chocolate. I thought I knew chocolate, at least eating it! Then I took a trip into a remote region of the Burren, County Clare where a small, inviting chocolate factory can be found. It is set in amongst the beautiful scenery of the Burren region, little more than a cottage from an exterior view. But inside, delicious smells and sights await you. Hazel Mountain Chocolate is a boutique chocolate factory, one of the smallest factories in the world and one of the most remote. This makes it a unique place to visit – one that impressed me and tantalised my taste buds.
The pure chocolate produced from Hazel Mountain is the best chocolate I have ever tasted. They use rare Trinitario cacao beans and raw cane sugar for the dark chocolate and Irish milk from grass-fed cows in the milk chocolate. It is a bean to bar factory, something that is clearly identified on the tour.
The tour is not only delicious but informative. I had no idea of what went into the chocolate making process or the difference I would so clearly taste. All of the stages of chocolate making are explained and the tasting session was a highlight for the taste buds. After indulging in the sweet, smooth taste of the chocolate – the milk chocolate with almond became my favourite.
This isn’t Cadbury or Lindt, the taste is different. Not that there’s anything wrong with Cadbury or Lindt (don’t sue me!), it’s simply a way to identify that the chocolate at Hazel Mountain is not the same. For me, it is better. It is richer and tastier. Well, in my humble opinion! The difference is that at Hazel Mountain, it is not compound chocolate that is used nor are cocoa beans mixed. Only one type of bean goes into one bar of chocolate. The beans at Hazel Mountain come from Cuba, Madagascar and Venezuela. The chocolate produced from each bean has a unique flavour and texture.
I also indulged in the best hot chocolate I had ever tasted – I wish I had more! I naturally had to bring some chocolate home with me and brought a packet of dark chocolate bars home. They disappeared rather quickly! I couldn’t even feel guilty for indulging, it’s just too good.
P.S. Hazel Mountain Chocolate is not paying me for an endorsement, they don’t even know I’m writing it. I’m just a chocoholic wanting to share an amazing experience I had in Ireland. However, if they come across this blog and feel like sending me a supply of chocolate, I won’t say no! 😉