Deepest regards from Lord Horatio. Talking of the depths isn’t this sculpture of a Nautilus exquisite? It is all the more remarkable when you realise it is made entirely of chocolate by the cocoa king himself Amaury Guichon.

To appreciate fully his incredible talent just take a look at some of the amazing creations he has put together for the Jean Phillipe Patisserie in the Aria casino, Las Vegas where he works.

Lady Dawdle is a big fan of the French educated star too and, having just got back from a trip to Paris, feels inspired. While there she made her annual pilgrimage to another temple of chocolate, Patrick Roger’s off the Place de La Madeleine.

The award winning shop is a work of art in itself. Designed by innovative X-TU Architects it resembles the inside of a metal beehive. The walls and ceilings are honeycombs of aluminium tubes. A veritable tour de force.

A connoisseur, Lady Dawdle also introduced me to the master mixer of flavours,  Joel Durand, who can be found in Saint-Remy-de-Provence. He is famous for his alphabet collection. We particularly love the letter P – praline with almonds from Provence and black olives from “Vallée des Baux.”

Following her return she has been closeted in the kitchen surrounded by a bewildering array of equipment necessary, I am assured, for the production of the finest chocolate. First the cocoa beans are fermented, dried, roasted, cracked and winnowed to get rid of the husks. Then the nibs inside are ground and the resulting liquor “conched” to remove sourness. Then finally the chocolate is tempered on a marble slab.

The culinary alchemy being practised by Lady Dawdle dates back to The Aztecs of South America who believed cocoa beans were a gift from the god of wisdom and were so valuable they were used as money. When I popped my head round the door to see how La Choclatier de Maison Dawdle was doing I was surprised to see her seated in front of a full size photograph of Whimsy the dog.

Apparently our faithful companion had become her muse of the moment. Taking shape on a plinth alongside the picture was a carefully crafted chocolate sculpture. It was a joy to behold and, when finished, complete in every detail. Naturally the real Whimsy had been kept well away from proceedings. Not only is chocolate potentially fatal for dogs he would probably have flattened it with one joyful bound.

I was so looking forward to taking lots of snaps for posterity at the grand unveiling on Easter Sunday. Unfortunately I had reckoned without the eager attentions of two of our house guests. Armed with my Leica, I walked through the grand ballroom entrance doors just in time to see the confectionary canine disappearing through the back doors accompanied by five-year-old twins Sarah and David, the children of an old friend.

They had decided to take the other Whimsy for a walk in the grounds on a lead ‘just like uncle Horatio.’ By the time I caught up with the trio the poor old chocolate pooch had lost both his back legs and was being followed by a pair of very attentive crows. Luckily Lady Dawdle saw the funny side and knocked up a clutch of very acceptable Easter eggs to sweeten the holiday. Top Hole!


If you want to be kept up to date with more goings on at Dawdle Hall, go to Dawdling Delights