Rococo’s ‘Prof de Choc’ Laurent Couchaux was the unanimous winner of the Noval LBV Trophy 2010, with his elegant oblong of mixed red berry pate de fruit above a raspberry dark chocolate ganache, coated in dark chocolate decorated with a rainbow of stripes. In the words of one judge
the supple red fruit highlighted the port’s intensity, with the chocolate providing a soothing richness – just like the Noval LBV.
Quinta do Noval, the well known port Producers and supporters of the Academy of Chocolate, has been running a competition amongst Britain’s best chocolatiers, to find the best matches for two of their iconic wines –Quinta do Noval Late Bottled Vintage and 10 Year Old Tawny.
Entries came from far and wide, from the Highlands of Scotland to the Channel Isles in the south, and as distant as Oregon on the USA’s west coast. Seven finalists were chosen to submit their chocolate creations for the tasting – not only by the official panel of judges, but also the 80 delegates of the first-ever Academy of Chocolate Conference held at the RAC Pall Mall last Friday.
Both Laurent and Claire Gallagher, the winner of the Noval Tawny Trophy win an all-expenses paid trip for two to Quinta do Noval’s scenic estate perched high above the River Douro in northern Portugal. And a ‘trophy prize’ of a rare bottle of Noval Vintage Port to treasure.
Laurent Couchaux said.
I am very happy to be working in chocolate and at Rococo there are plenty of opportunities to be creative. London is a very challenging city, where chocolate making has become highly competitive in the last three years. So winning a Trophy like this is not only a great surprise, but also gives me great satisfaction to be able to prove myself.
Laurent, like Claire, is well travelled. After training as a pastry chef in his native Paris, he moved to the Savoy in London, then on to jobs in South America, Singapore, Oman and Muscat, before settling in England eight years ago. Now he will get the chance to visit the Douro – ‘I’ve never seen Portugal, so I am really looking forward to the trip next spring’, he concludes.
Sara Jayne Stanes OBE, Chairman of the Academy of Chocolate, organisers of last week’s global Conference, comments:
The fine art of chocolate making is now well established on the world stage. It is good to see that both the Noval Trophy winners have international experience – which they obviously put to good use when creating their outstanding entries.