21 Days of Christmas | Celebrate with… Iain Burnett, the Highland Chocolatier

What is Christmas without chocolate? From the treat behind the door of the advent calendar to the gold-and-silver foiled coins found in every stocking, chocolate is one of the most enduring – and delicious – festive traditions there is. In celebration of the season’s sweetest of treats, the Highland Chocolatier, whose artisanal delicacies adorned the tables at the British Luxury Awards, reveals his latest creations, gifts and how he will be enjoying the 25th December this year.

How will you be celebrating Christmas this year?
It’s the only week of the year I close my chocolate kitchen so I’ll be spending it with my family and in the great outdoors!

What gift are you hoping to receive in your stocking?
So many wishes… the valuable health of family and friends? A good reception to my new Sea Salted Caramelized Velvet Truffle? (see more info below) But certainly I will be working on my daughter’s stocking!

What is your favourite/family Christmas tradition?
Time together. Serving and enjoying fresh food. But then there is a blossoming tradition a watching the entire Lords of the Rings trilogy…

Favourite festive film and song?
It’s a Wonderful Life. And then singing 12 Days of Christmas rather loudly.

Best place to enjoy the Christmas atmosphere?
I have to say, a snowy mountain top up here in the Scottish Highlands is hard to beat. With a nice warm hat. And a fire to come home to.

Top tip for surviving the festive season in style?
I notice that I feel happier the more time I spend looking after other people, but with regards to the food – like good dark plantation chocolate – enjoy a little, regularly.

Iain’s chocolate gift guide

Limited Edition Festive Selection – round box of 20 award-winning artisan chocolates £32.95
Master Chocolatier Iain Burnett, the “Highland Chocolatier”, offers a selection of 20 beautiful gourmet chocolates including Velvet Truffles and Velvet Pralines with one Special Edition Festive Spice Truffle – a warming infusion of cinnamon, nutmeg, orange and allspice at its heart. These make an ideal Christmas chocolate treat. Perfect for sharing in the evening, add this to your list of chocolate gift ideas. With this gourmet selection, there is something for everyone. Based on The Award Winning Selection, but you may make special requests by indicating your preference at checkout at www.HighlandChocolatier.com

Guided Chocolate Tastings – gift boxes with tastings mats and audio guide for 2-20 people. From £21.95.
Much more than a selection of chocolates, foodies will delight in this unforgettable gastronomic experience.  Sitting down to a “flight” of Master Chocolatier Iain Burnett’s exquisite and international award-winning chocolates laid out on a tasting mat, the listener is given an informative view of the Master Chocolatier’s experience as an acclaimed truffle specialist and then staged insights into each of five very different artisan chocolates.  Skilfully presented, Iain leaves room for us to come to our own conclusions based on our individual tastes.

Both highly informative and luxurious on the palate, we are given a chance to savour and unravel the incredible, complex flavours and textures of Iain Burnett’s signature Velvet Truffles and Velvet Pralines.  These astonishing chocolates have received over 40 awards including World Gold at the International Chocolate Awards – twice.

Iain Burnett is somewhat of a specialist in his field.  He has spent over a decade creating hundreds of chocolate pairing flights for Master Distillers and Champagne Houses and seen how much people enjoy learning from a carefully arranged sequence.  “It’s a natural evolution that gourmet couverture chocolate, itself like fine wine, should have its own pure chocolate flight,” he explains.

“I love to see people’s reactions when they first experience the Velvet Truffles and share with them why and how they are made.  Obviously I can’t meet everybody, but these new Tasting Flights will let people taste a selection I have chosen especially and hear in my own words why – delicious, educational and hopefully fun!” www.HighlandChocolatier.com

Iain’s latest chocolate creations

Master Chocolatier Iain Burnett, the Highland Chocolatier, is releasing a very different type of caramel to his award-winning, artisan chocolate range, just in time for Christmas.

Inspired by the incredible response from chefs and customers after his Caramel & Liquorice Velvet Truffle won World Gold, Iain Burnett has been working for the last 2 years to create, not just a common sugary caramel, but a pure caramelized truffle.

His efforts have finally been successful and he is launching two new Caramel Velvet Truffles: a Pure Caramelized Ganache Velvet Truffle and a Sea Salted Caramelized Velvet Truffle.  Iain gives the classic fusion of caramel and chocolate his signature artisan spin, resulting in two completely unique creations.

The Pure Caramelized Velvet Truffle with its uncommonly smooth texture is Iain’s ganache tribute to classic caramel – with creamy notes, evocative of perfectly browned butterscotch.

The Sea Salted Caramel Velvet Truffle introduces an added dimension to the caramelized ganache as it finishes distinctively with small lingering bursts of sea salt.

About his latest work, Iain says, “I really wanted to discover how to caramelize the ganache itself – not just another sugary caramel. I spent so long investigating the science of caramelization and so many old methods.  The breakthrough came by using a fresh cream and unique milk chocolate which both contain natural notes of caramel, then discovering how to caramelize the ganache itself.  From the excited responses I’ve had from testing it on some of the UK’s top chefs, I have a feeling that the salted caramel version is going to be very popular. I’ve found a way to add tiny sea salt crystals to make it ‘pop’ out beautifully.”

Iain is making both Velvet Truffles available in mixed boxes – as unenrobed “naked” edition Velvet Truffles and as enrobed Velvet Truffles.  To try the new Caramel Velvet Truffles, visit Iain Burnett Highland Chocolatier in Perthshire or order online from anywhere in the world at www.HighlandChocolatier.com.

Master Chocolatier Iain Burnett, the “Highland Chocolatier”, creates his uniquely hand-crafted Velvet Truffles for Michelin Star chefs, VIP gifts, and clients worldwide. His specially designed chocolate kitchen is in Grandtully, between Aberfeldy and Pitlochry, in Highland Perthshire next to his Chocolate Lounge offering guided Chocolate Tastings.  Scotland’s most awarded Chocolatier, his creations are made with an exceptional fresh cream and rare island cocoa.  They have received over 40 national and international awards including twice the Best Truffle in the World.