Truffle twist on coffee shop culture in Reigate
PUBLISHED: 18:30 20 May 2014 | UPDATED: 18:33 20 May 2014
Certainly making a refreshing change from yet another coffee lounge, a truffle bar has opened in Reigate, creating an exotic new addition to the town.
Located on the High Street, ‘Monty Bojangles’ hopes to make this indulgent chocolate delicacy, once eaten by royals and the extremely wealthy folks of France, accessible to all.
Welcome to a world of truffle pancakes for breakfast, truffle crumpets for lunch and spiced truffle courgette cake for dinner.
Such is the passion of Andrew Newlands for this round mass of chocolate naughtiness that he believes truffles should have a special place at every consuming occasion. His future is one of truffles becoming an everyday part of every person’s life. In his words he simply says: “Why not?”
On meeting Andrew, owner of Honeycomb who produce the truffles taking pride of place in his new genre of coffee shop, it feels like his whole life has been about confectionary and he conjures up images in my mind of a modern day Willy Wonka.
But instead of hiding his creations away he wants the world to see how informal and versatile these chocolates can be.
Truffles get their name from the not so appetising truffle fungus because of the similarities in shape and size. The origins are not quite so clear.
As my culinary efforts usually end up looking like a mistake, I like the version of events that say they were created in the 1920s when an apprentice, working with the culinary legend Auguste Escoffier, made a mistake preparing pastry cream. He supposedly poured hot cream over pieces of chocolate rather than the eggs and sugar that he was supposed to and the mixture formed a paste. This had a consistency that could be rolled into small balls. Hiding his error and topping off the balls with a little cocoa powder the famed chocolate truffle was therein born.
Another thought is that the chocolate truffle originated in France much earlier in December 1895. But whether they were developed under Napoleon or mistakenly created in the roaring twenties, chocolatiers have been inventing alternate versions of the traditional confectionary ever since.
Feeling a pressure to make his product as special as possible, Andrew, 32, works with a flavour team of bright young minds and confectionary stalwarts who together have around 100 years of chocolate experience.
“These products are for that precious time and are made with emotions in mind,” he says. “So you have to work hard to get it right.”
Coming from a background in design and social media truffles are now what make Andrew’s world come alive. With flavours ranging from mint, sea salt infused butterscotch and raspberry and champagne to ‘Flirtatious and Fruity Orange’ and ‘Scrumptious and Sassy Toffee’, these Napoleonic delicacies are getting a true 21st century twist.
And the brand name of these truffle infusions is as quirky as the flavours on offer, Monty Bojangles. Why this? Well Monty Bojangles is in fact the name of Andrew’s cat who he says: “Was in turn named Monty Bojangles shortly after meeting him as a kitten; he demonstrated the absurd aloof pomp of an English gent one moment, then the free spirited ‘Joie de vivre’ of the American Jazz / big band legacy (and a music I adore) the next. Hence the fusion of Monty and Bojangles.”
Partnering truffles with hot drinks is an obvious choice. As your mouth warms from drinking a hot beverage of choice, pop in a truffle and just leave it to melt. But this is not the only way truffles can be enjoyed. Melting a sea salt infused butterscotch ball on to a toasted crumpet struck my nine-year-old daughter almost speechless. The only literary acknowledgement she could muster was the word ‘epic’.
Look at any town today and you will find a multitude of coffee houses rising up as replacement front rooms; social hubs for mums, students and business people alike. These establishments are nothing new but they are now an ever present part of our culture. However, adding something new can re-invent an old concept.
This is only a tiny insight in to how many different ways truffles will be used, consumed and admired in the new truffle lounge but this is all Andrew is willing to give away. However, there is a mention of layer cakes, truffle infused products (both to eat and drink) and a theatre of chocolate for every season.
All this is to be relished in luxurious surroundings to match the unique flavours of the truffles, with the intention that you leave taking your truffles with you to consume guilt free whenever they may take your fancy.
Spruce up some pineapple with this simple recipe:
• 300g Monty Bojangles Heavenly & Hot Chilli Cocoa dusted truffles
• Knob of butter
• 700g fresh pineapple chunks
• Melt the Monty Bojangles Truffles in a glass bowl over a pan of simmering water. Pour into a serving bowl and stir in a knob of butter.
• Arrange the pineapple pieces with some cocktail sticks on a board around the chocolate and dip in!
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