Although the feast of St Valentine’s on the 14th of February has long been associated with the celebration of romance, and while chocolate itself has for centuries been considered an aphrodisiac, the giving of chocolates to one’s beloved on this particular day is a relatively recent tradition. In fact, it first started in England during the late nineteenth century when an enterprising chocolatier designed a heart-shaped box decorated with cupids for his finest chocolates, which he marketed specifically for Valentine’s Day.
At Birley Bakery the team, led by Executive Pastry Chef Vincent Zanardi, have come up with a more contemporary take on those Victorian Valentine’s Day love-tokens, adapting the boxes of Birley Chocolates with the addition of a long, delicious slab of the finest white chocolate, which has been cut-out to reveal a scattering of red hearts and the words ‘I Love You’. Beneath this snowy covering lies a selection of Birley Bakery’s best-selling chocolates in a variety of flavours. Additionally, and just in time for Valentine’s Day, Birley Bakery are launching a smaller sized box of chocolates, complete with a similar white chocolate covering.
For customers who want something really novel, the team have baked a pair of heart-shaped cakes that nestle closely together and which, like all the best couples, have differing but complementary ingredients. The first is pecan and raspberry, with a nutty, crunchy base, and a roasted pecan sponge with homemade raspberry jam, which is topped with chocolate mousse and finished with a raspberry glaze and a white chocolate heart. The second cake is vegan, but no less luxurious, with a crunchy chocolate base that has been layered with a vegan chocolate mousse and ganache, and is again, topped with a heart in pure white chocolate.
For the ultimate treat, an exclusive line of gift boxes will be available combining the chocolates and cake with a bottle of champagne.