Remember that trip to Galway I was telling you about? Well, we honesty didnt spent very much time in Galway at all…. I had a urge to explore the surrounding countryside. And after a quick goggle we settled on a trip to the Burren to explore the flora and fauna – and with the Ailwee Caves & Bird of Prey Centre and the Burren Perfumery being pin pointed as places of interested we set off bright and early.
Anyone who has visited the Burren before, will know I am not exaggerating when I say you feel a million miles from anywhere. The vast expanse of limestone pavements, broken up by grassland, lakes and cliffs is like nothing I have seen before. It looks Jarassic – I could nearly see dinosaurs grazing on the horizon.
So imagine our surprise when we spotted signs for a CHOCOLATE SHOP! Yeah – thats how excited we were….. It may have been some what early on in the day, but that has never stopped us eating chocolate before. And decided we would make a pit stop for a nosey and possibly some chocolate shaped fuel 😉 But we werent expecting what we found – the most beautiful chocolate box image of prettiness.
It didnt take us long to dart through the gateway on the right – led by an intoxicating aroma of chocolate. The chocolate shop is yet another sight to behold, and this is where things got really interesting!
Now – this is where I have to explain what makes this rural spot particularly special. And I am not afraid to admit, something I hadnt even thought about being done on our shores. Out side the big guns of course. My favourite chocolatiers closer to home buy chocolate from other chocolate houses, to temper and make into their creations. And do so extremely well – however Hazel Mountain Chocolates take care of the whole process in house!
They eithically source their cocoa beans from small farms around the world. And commence the slow process of turning the raw cacao into some out standing chocolate. The cacao is hand sorted, slow roasted to develop flavour, then cracked winnowed and stone-ground for up to forty hours. And all that before the chocolatier even starts on creating the truffles and single origin bars ♥ Each beans flavour / origin being carefully matched with natural, fresh ingredients. My personal favourite was the 72% Venezuelan Chocolate with Elderberry & Roasted Hazelnuts. Very glad to have smuggled one of them home for Matt as a present – a sharing present of course 😉
We also visited the Cafe – which is located in the little white cottage with the heart cut out shutters ♥ ( maybe field cottage should have some of those? ). The cafe got a million bonus points straight off for having gluten free options for Emma. Not only one of two gluten free options but ALL of the cakes were Emma friendly. Cue absolute NEED for a piece of cake and some hot chocolates. Sure why not 😀