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Life's sweet for Paul; EXCLUSIVE Award-winning chocolate-maker enjoys taste of success.

Byline: By Jon Bennett

TRIMDON may have lost one world leader since Tony Blair's resignation, but now another name has emerged from the County Durham village.

Paul Young is carving out a reputation as one of the world's finest chocolate makers with a range of indulgent and eccentric creations winning him five awards at the chocolate industry's World Cup.

The 32-year-old's newly opened shop in London's trendy Islington has won gushing reviews from food magazines, TV appearances on This Morning and UK Food, and celebrity customers like Paul Whitehouse and Harry Enfield.

And the chocaholics of London are paying top prices - up to pounds 1.50 per chocolate - for flavours that you'd never find in a box of Quality Street.

Port & Stilton, Marmite, Sea salt and caramel, tobacco and chilli are just some of the experimental fillings that Paul has created.

He said: "I didn't decide to work with chocolate, it was an accident really.

"I had worked as a chef for 10 years and had played about with making chocolate at home. I was asked to create some chocolates containing port for National Chocolate Week by a shop. They sold out, word got round and all of a sudden I had Harrods and lots of other people on the phone wanting to order them. In 2005 I decide to enter the Academy of Chocolate World Chocolate Awards after a friend suggested I go for it. I entered four types of chocolate and won gold and silver awards and I was absolutely astonished. I didn't even have a shop - it was pretty obvious that I had found something I should concentrate on".

Paul grew up in Trimdon Station and was always interested in food. After leaving Wellfield Comprehensive he took a course in hotel catering and management at New College Durham and within a week he had got work at a local pub.

But it was a job with Marco Pierre White - considered by many to be the godfather of modern British cooking - that changed his life.

Paul worked as a pastry chef for Pierre White for five years, then worked for supermarkets developing meals, but it was winning the Academy of Chocolate awards that led his career to a new direction.

He said: "I found that people want something different.

"Chocolate is very flexible and can carry a lot of different flavours. What I do is extract the essence of the ingredient and then play with it, dilute it, and find a blend of chocolate that can make a truffle that is balanced and it works. With something like port and stilton it's all about balance, making sure the flavours are harmonious. It's not a gimmick. I only sell it if it works.

He added: "I know it's expensive but I try to make sure that it's accessible to everyone. Our brownie is pounds 2.75, the individual chocolates are pounds 1.50 and the 50g bars are pounds 3.50. It's a treat but that is affordable and it's all totally hand-made to the highest quality."

Paul is now working on a book and is opening his second shop in London with plans to expand to New York. He is also about to start offering on-line delivery via his website but his grand plan is to eventually base himself in the North.

"One day I'd like to work from Newcastle or Leeds ideally," he said. "I do love it up there and I miss the feeling of home and family a lot."

SOME of the more unusual concoctions available from Paul A. Young Fine Chocolates include:

Manjari grapes: "64% dark Madagascan chocolate; fruity and tangy, ideally enjoyed with a young-glass of Shiraz or Cabernet Sauvignon."

Wood inspired sculpted bars: "A three bar collection using be spoke moulds made from engineered and reclaimed wood to create life-like chocolate bars with all the grain and texture of real wood."

Orange and Geranium (50g bar): "A burst of floral and zest for summer."

Amaretto Soaked Apricots: "Amaretto-soaked apricots in 70% dark chocolate."

Amedei Cedar Wood (50g bar): "70% Amedei Toscano Black with the complex organic oil of cedarwood."

Marmite Guinness Ganache: "Nota chocolate for the timid, this never-before-made blend has become a best seller."

Stem Ginger Brownie: "Original brownie with chunks of stem ginger."

Chocolate Violins: "64% Madagascan chocolate musical instruments."


CHOCS AWAY: Paul's Islington shop.; AMBITIONS: Paul Young, above, and a feast of his creations, below.
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Copyright 2007 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Aug 30, 2007
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