Chocolates by James Close and Maria Guseva

Two Michelin star chef James Close has launched his own range of innovative chocolates and has unveiled them to the public as part of the Fenwick Newcastle month-long Meet the Artisans event.

A joint venture between the man behind the acclaimed The Raby Hunt Restaurant in County Durham and fellow chef Maria Guseva, the limited edition collection contains six slick, smart and edgy bite-sized confections and two bars.

The pair’s beautifully fashioned, playful, yet adult chocolates offer up a roller coaster of unconventional flavours that push the boundaries of tradition. Each piece is individually made by Maria and has been created to appeal to chocolate lovers looking for something new and unique.

The range comprises:

- Skull: honey, rosemary ganache and yuzu (a Japanese citrus fruit) gel
- Buddha: white chocolate, pine nut, Gianduja, crispy Dacquoise and smoked Maldon salt
- Almond praline and caramelised cocoa nibs
- Raspberry gel and Sichuan pepper ganache
- Black truffle caramel, with hazelnut and crispy Feuilletine
- Milk chocolate Earl Grey ganache with bergamot gel
- Black truffle caramel chocolate bar
- White chocolate, mango and passion fruit bar

The gutsy, alternative and avant-garde assortment of ‘Chocolate with Attitude’ is made using the finest single origin chocolate and freshest global ingredients. The collection has been inspired by the exquisite Gothic skull and Buddha pieces served as part of The Raby Hunt’s creative tasting menu.

For James and Maria the launch of the chocolate collection is another twist in what has been an incredible gastronomic journey for the pair. Both are self-taught chefs who have reached the top of their game.

James is a former professional golfer who didn’t begin cooking until he was nearly 30. Yet in the eight years since opening The Raby Hunt he has taken the former Drovers’ Inn to the heights of culinary success, culminating in the restaurant last October becoming the first in the North East to ever be awarded a second prestigious Michelin star. James is also the Good Food Guide 2017’s current Chef of the Year.

Maria, who originally hails from Moscow and has worked with James at The Raby Hunt for the past four years, fell in love with cooking after moving to Newcastle seven years ago and being inspired by the wealth of new, exotic and readily available ingredients on her doorstep. She joined James’ team after completing a short basic cordon bleu cookery course and began making the restaurant’s chocolates 18 months ago.

Chocolates by James Close and Maria Guseva are available to buy exclusively from the Fenwick Newcastle Food Hall until May 21st – or while stocks last, just 1000 pieces have been made!

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