Sunday, 15 December 2019

Chocolatier and gin producer in sweet deal

Chocolatier and gin producer in sweet deal

A NEW gin confection has been created thanks to a partnership between two independent Henley businesses.

Chocolatier Gorvett & Stone, of Duke Street, has made a fresh cream milk chocolate truffle with Mr Hobbs Gin topped with orange peel.

The 45 per cent premium gin was launched by river boat hire operator Hobbs of Henley in May last year and is inspired by the firm’s founder Harry Hobbs.

Harry’s great, great, great grandson Jonathan, who is now managing director, and his wife Suzy, who is business development manager, approached Gorvett & Stone with the idea of creating a new chocolate.

Founder Matt Stone said: “We loved the idea straight away and that it was a local company. We love using local ingredients so using Mr Hobbs Gin seemed a great thing to do.

“We then went to see them to discuss recipe ideas and talked about milk or dark chocolate and they gave us some guidelines.

“They were quite keen to use orange because that’s one of the things that goes well with their gin. We spent a week doing lots of experiments and it was very much a collaboration.”

Gorvett & Stone sent the Mr and Mrs Hobbs half a dozen samples with different amounts of gin, orange and coatings and the couple chose their favourite.

The gin itself is flavoured with angelica, orris root and juniper as well as lime leaf oil, lemon peel and marshmallow root, which is picked from Marsh Meadows. It is based on the tipple enjoyed by Harry, who founded the company in 1870 and would often be seen in the mornings with a flask while in his punt on the Thames.

Harry was landlord of the old Ship Hotel in Henley when he founded Hobbs, first at Wharf Lane and later at the present-day site. He was well known for his distinctive bushy beard and the parties he held along the river.

Mrs Hobbs said: “We wanted to expand the Mr Hobbs Gin range and were looking to work with somebody else locally.

“Gorvett & Stone love their chocolate and are local and a gin truffle seemed like a really good idea.

“They came up with different recipes for us to try and we knew straight away which one we wanted — the one with the orange peel because that’s the garnish we use for the perfect serve. We just love it.”

The new chocolates are now available from the shop and the Hobbs boatyard in Station Road and will be on sale at the Henley Christmas Festival tonight (Friday).

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