Chef Eric Cayton
, the chocolatier at Derry Church Artisan Chocolates
, contacted me and asked if I would like some samples of his handmade luxury chocolates. I found out that Chef Cayton sources local ingredients and sources cocoa from a company that uses fair trade practices so I told him to go ahead and send me some samples.
Wow. This is good chocolate. If you remember, I was on vacation at my friend Missy’s a couple of weeks ago, and we did a lot of cooking together. Each night, when all the dishes were done and most of the kids were in bed, we’d sit down and have a piece of the Derry Church Artisan Chocolates. It was quite a treat. Each piece was unique, and I certainly favored some over others, but there wasn’t an unappealing one in the bunch.
Derry Church Artisan Chocolates hand produces over 40 different varieties of French chocolate truffles using only rare, estate class chocolate and 100 percent certified organic creams and butters sourced from local Pennsylvania dairy farms. Whenever possible, additional ingredients are sourced as locally as possible. Finally, each piece has a bit of an international flavor, too. Each piece is named after a town or a city, and ingredients specific to each city’s country are included.
The chocolate comes from the Swiss Max Felchlin, a company that pays more than fair trade price for their cocoa beans and is active in ensuring sustainable cocoa plantations both for the environment and for the farmers.
My favorite of 15 or so pieces I was sent to sample was the Dublin. Bailey’s Irish Cream and coffee (a favorite flavor combination of mine) are added to milk chocolate ganache of this particular bon bon. I wasn’t surprised at all that I liked the Dublin, but I was surprised at some of the other flavor combinations that I found very pleasing in a piece of chocolate. The Oaxaca was one that I was pleasantly surprised with. Named after a city in Southern Mexico, this white chocolate is flavored with fresh, pureed chipotle chilies.
My 8-year-old absolutely loved the chocolate named Derry Church (he picked it because it was the biggest and looked the most like a chocolate bar). It was milk chocolate filled with caramel, and he said it was something like a Milk Dud but a whole lot better. I love how kids can get right to the heart of a description.
Handmade chocolates made with organic and fair trade ingredients are not as inexpensive as the chocolates you grab from the impulse rack in the check-out line at the grocery store, nor should they be. You don’t gobble these chocolates down like you would a common chocolate bar or even a few pieces out of a conventional box of chocolates. These chocolates lend themselves to taking small bites and savoring each bite. A little goes a long way.
Derry Church Artisan Chocolates start at $18 for a nine-piece box (boxes are 100 percent recycled). If you’re looking to reward yourself with a special treat, or you’re looking for a gift that will impress, these chocolates might just be what you’re looking for. Derry Church ships throughout the United States and internationally.
You can watch as Chef Cayton creates his chocolates by hand as well as see some of the local places he sources some of the ingredients from in this video.