A TALENTED Isle of Man-based chocolatier is celebrating the sweet taste of success.
Karl Berrie of Cocoa Red in Port St Mary fought off competition from around the globe to win a coveted Noval Trophy – an international competition run by the Academy of Chocolate to find the best chocolates to match Quinta do Noval’s acclaimed ports.
The competition was fierce, attracting entries from all round the UK, and even as far as Seattle and Budapest.
Fourteen finalists were selected to show off their creations, which included ingredients such as figs, prunes, walnuts, beetroot, oatmeal and blue cheese.
The chocolates were blind-tasted against Noval’s ports.
In the end, the accolades went unanimously to Karl Berrie at Cocoa Red for his subtly spiced Port and poached fig praline, layered on a feuilletine base and enrobed in 68 per cent Wild Bolivian Grand Cru chocolate which was made to match Noval’s golden 10 Year Old Tawny port.
Karl said: ‘This is the biggest competition I have won with my chocolates.
‘We are a bit out on a limb in the Isle of Man, with no access to the latest trends. So I just try to be different in my creations.
‘It’s great to know we can take on the big boys and hold our own.’
Part of a small team introducing Manx islanders to fine chocolate over the past three years, Karl, 40, was formerly an aircraft engineer – studying the art of chocolate in his spare time.
Sara Jayne Stanes OBE, the Academy’s chairman and one of the Noval Trophy judges, said: ‘Originality and standards of execution were extremely high this year which made it even harder for our panel of chocolatiers and Masters of Wine to decide on the winners’.
Jonathan Scott of Auberge du Chocolat, Gerrards Cross, received the other Noval Trophy for his Amedei Chuao ganache with dried cranberries in port, encased in Amedei Chuao and finished with port ‘dust’ to match the red fruit Late Bottled Vintage 2005.
Both Karl and Jonathan win a trip for two to Portugal and Quinta do Noval’s estate in the Douro, where they will be presented with a very special bottle of Vintage Port.
In August, Cocoa Red and Berries at Aaron House in Port St Mary scooped a prestigious three star gold award at this year’s Guild of Fine Food’s Great Taste Awards for their Vintage Christmas Puddings – an accolade that has led them to being invited to supply the iconic top London department store Fortnum & Mason.
The Christmas puddings are made to a hand-written recipe passed down to Karl’s mother Kath from her great aunt. Kath has run the Victorian-styled guesthouse Aaron House in Port St Mary since 1999.
A Christmas shop is opening at Aaron House during the last two weeks of November, up until Christmas where you will be able to buy all the award winning items – and more.
Opening hours will be every Saturday and Sunday from 11am to 4.30pm (or anytime by appointment).