APRIL 2012
Copyright The Good Soup Guide. All rights reserved. CONTACT:
Scotland's online tourist guide - logo
The Highland Chocolatier
Iain Burnett, The Highland Chocolatier, at work - Grandtully, Scotland
Hands up all those who know what a Velvet Truffle is. A small chocolatey thing filled with some sweet brown stuff? Something pigs unearth from woodland with their snout? An unknown word popular with poets as it rhymes with snuffle? Well, prepare to be informed.

Iain Burnettt knows what a truffle is. He is an Artisan Gourmet Chocolatier. And in The Highlands of Scotland he makes Velvet Truffles of such quality that these award-winning chocolates are supplied to Michelin-rated and 5-star chefs. Until you taste one of Iain Burnett's Velvet Truffles you will never fully appreciate the amount of happiness that your mouth can provide, or what a real Velvet Truffle truly is.
Chocolates made by Iain Burnett, The Highland Chocolatier, Grandtully, Scotland
The thing is, you see, there is chocolate, and there is chocolate. Apart from the obvious differences between some chocolates, in that some chocolate is broon, while other chocolate is less broon - white, for example - there is in fact some chocolate out there that's not really very chocolatey. Some of it's perhaps not even chocolate at all, even although it goes under that name.
So, before we dig ourselves a very deep bottomless pit that we will struggle to crawl out of, what exactly is 'chocolate'?
According to my Chambers Dictionary, a vast paper tome which I rely on for so much in my life, 'chocolate' is 'a paste made of the ground seeds of Theobroma cacao (cocoa), with sugar and flour or similar material.'
Now, right away, you can see that that definition may cover a whole load of things; a whole multitude of sins, even. Because while cocoa clearly has to be a part of chocolate, it may also contain sugar and flour or 'a similar material'. Hmm. What's similar to flour? Dust? Plaster of Paris? Chalk?
Real chocolate is a very rare thing. Real chocolate made in Scotland is about as rare as... em... the rarest thing you can imagine, if your imagination is better than mine.
Iain Burnett, The Highland Chocolatier, Grandtully, Scotland - company logo
Magnetic Box Range - Iain Burnett, The Highland Chocolatier, Grandtully, Scotland
Let's start with the clothes-on chocolates (Enrobed chocolates). These include ORANGE SUNRISE (whole, half and quarter slices of tangy crystallized real orange in chocolate), STRAWBERRY TRUFFLE (pure fruit coulis infused with star anis), LIME TRUFFLE (tangy lime and chilli crush in white chocolate), and many many more.
As far as the un-enrobed chocolates are concerned, this is where we return to the Velvet Truffle that has become Iain Burnett's signature truffle. It is made from fresh Scottish cream blended with a unique cocoa from Sao Tome. It has taken literally years to get the required award-winning balance of flavours for which The Highland Chocolatier is so well known. The Velvet Truffle is best served naked (I have a written guarantee that when you visit Legends of Grandtully, Iain Burnett and his staff will all be fully clothed... it's the truffle that's naked!). However, you can get it coated in chocolate if you wish. You can even get it dusted with stuff like rose petals, red raspberry powder, or whatever.
Whatever you choose, just make sure that at least once in your life you try one of Iain Burnett's Velvet Truffles.
So, let's get down to the nitty gritty. Good chocolate comes generally from one type of cocoa bean from one location. Of course, not just any old bean and not just any old location.
All these things matter.
Regular 'chocolate', or that made by the multinational chocolate makers to be consumed by the masses is generally blended from a variety of beans that come from a variety of places. It is often mixed with fats, flavourings and preservatives. Ninety-nine per cent of all chocolate is made from these poorer quality ingredients.
Gourmet single-origin chocolate, on the other hand, like that made by Iain Burnett in the Highlands of Scotland, makes up an exclusive one per cent of the market. In other words, very few people get to taste real chocolate during their lives.
The difference between real chocolate and the stuff Joe Public thinks is real chocolate is akin to a well-matured Scottish single malt whisky and a poor blend of Scotch. There is just no comparison, and until you taste the good stuff, you will never know what you're missing.
Right then, now that we've got a better idea of what real Scottish chocolate is, what exactly does Iain Burnett, The Highland Chocolatier, do with it? Well, some chocolates are served enrobed (they have a coating of chocolate around their heavenly centre - dark or milk chocolate), and some chocolates are served un-enrobed (this is a naked chocolate!). We're not just talking mouth-melting tastes to die for, we're also talking nae-clothes-oan!
Iain Burnett, The Highland Chocolatier, is based, along with Legends of Grandtully, in the Scottish Chocolate Centre in Grandtully. The centre is open between 10am and 5pm seven days a week. Their telephone number is 01887 840775. As well as wall-to-wall chocolates, there is an exhibition on gourmet chocolate, a cafe, and gifts for sale. The small village of Grandtully is located on the A827 road between Pitlochry and Aberfeldy. You can get a bus (two buses, actually - change at Ballinluig) to Grandtully from Pitlochry. Pitlochry can be reached by rail from Glasgow.
Tunnock's Tea Cakes advert
Advert re advertising in Scotland's online tourist guide