I was dropped at the edge of an industrial estate, just on the outskirts of town, in search of what appears to be Leeds’ only artisan chocolate maker – lauden Chocolate. I think that’s how niche crime thrillers start. But I find Lauden’s unit and no blood is spilled. I meet Stephen Trigg, who, with his wife, Sun, ran a very successful chocolate factory, supplying great Michelin-starred restaurants and British Airways first-class passengers.
Stephen is the UK Chocolate Master and later this year will represent the UK and Ireland in the Chocolate Master final. He looks perfectly happy, but it’s deeply selfish, I say, not to have a downtown store in the Victoria Quarter or the Corn Exchange.
I taste a lot of his chocolate. The filled chocolates, from £7, are, unsurprisingly, masterful and beautiful. There are plenty of fruit flavored centers that even I, the opposite of fruit centers, find divine (orange was my favorite). Then I go for a Bonbon Rhum et Vanille Diplomatico from the Accord Rhum et Whiskey range, from £7.
There’s a jar of Caramelized Blonde Hazelnuts in the collection, £11.90, which will be a must for any nut lover (182 Days). The chocolate spread, at £7.95, is grown-up, dark and nutty-rich with a final touch of salt.
Lauden also has a healthy whey protein snack bar (a vegan version also available), £4, packed with Medjool dates and nuts. The balance is perfect and it is absolutely the best ever.
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