All posts by Elizabeth Dass

Co. Couture, a wee treat.

As you descend the old stone steps from Chichester Street into the tiny shop the hit of heady chocolate greets your senses.   Co. Couture chocolate shop is making a name for itself in on the Belfast food scene.  The Guild of Fine Food awarded their Irish Whisky Truffle the coveted 3 Gold stars in the Great Taste Awards 2008.  Last year, they achieved runner up in the Observer Food Monthly Awards. 

The chocolaterie specialises in gluten free and dairy free treats, opting for raw natural ingredients on a small scale as opposed to mass production.  Although the premises are mainly taken up by Deirdre’s, the owner and chief chocolatier, kitchen there are two small tables for those wishing to sit in.  The surroundings are not the cosy and exotic Chocolat film set I thought they would be.  Think more, Tim Burton’s Willy Wonka, all white and minimalist.  However all the staff, Deirdre, Pascaline and Megan are warm, and their demeanour mellows out the sharp contrasts of black walls and white furnishings.

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Co. Couture is famed for the hot chocolate, the only hot drink the shop does.  When ordering, you can choose from a selection of different ‘sides’ to accompany it.  The choice is between a standard fare of milk, dark and white chocolates or more elaborate bakes.   These delicacies include salted caramel brownies, cookies and Florentines.   The girls make things to order and offer a very popular chocolate master class.  The drink comes with homemade marshmallows and cream, all for an acceptable £2.50.

While waiting the impressive chocolate creations provide ample distractions, an ornate chocolate shoe, giant Easter eggs filled with a rich chocolate mousse and various other imaginings from Deidre’s mind.

The drink itself is pleasant, not as rich as it should be.  As the hot chocolate it is the only drink the shop offers, it could potentially underwhelm.  The service was lackadaisical, but pleasant.  The food was spectacular.  The homemade chocolates were of other- worldly quality, I had a selection of the salted caramel brownie and a dark chocolate ganache.   TrufflesEach melted in the mouth and as we were eating Megan brought out freshly made chocolates, the smell was intoxicating.

I highly recommend a visit for anyone with a sweet tooth or last minute gifts.  Co. Couture thoroughly deserves the accolades it has been given, a definite stand out on the Belfast food scene.

Malone settles old grudge against Harlequins.

Harlequins vs. Malone (15.03.14)

Harlequins (Quins) and Malone face each other today in an old grudge match.  With Harlequins winning the coin toss, they kick off.

An aggressive and fast paced series of plays were quickly undone by a steal and a kick from Malone.   The first five minutes built up the tempo with some crashing tackles, on both sides, only to be followed by shoddy ball handling.  It seems that Quins are opting to kick rather than to play in their own half.  However, Malone show confidence in their runners, who seem comfortable under the high ball.  Impressive end to end passing brings rewards for the Quins as they get the first points on the board with a try five minutes in,  but a missed conversion could come back to haunt them.

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The Malone no.15, Peter Henderson, displays an impressive pace, quick on the counter. Play moves into the Quins half.  Not soon after the Quins give away a careless penalty, which narrows the gap to 5 – 3.  Both teams seem to be taking their time to get settled in this match, although weather conditions could not be better.   Another penalty and a disastrous line out for Quins keeps play in their own half.  An impressive interception from Malone, followed swiftly by a poor unnecessary pass leads to a turnover deep in Malone territory.

Scrums are being dominated by the Quins, mainly due to ill-discipline from Malone, and the fast thinking of Quins no.9 Josh Fullerton. Malone defence hold up under a barrage of Quins forwards only to give a penalty away right in front of the posts.

After kicking into Quins territory, Malone opt for a line out and supplement it with a powerful rolling maul which brings them to the try line.  Quins defence could do nothing, converted try to Malone bring the score to 11- 10.

The final twenty minutes of the first half saw a lack of concentration lead to silly mistakes, and yet another penalty at the scrum.  Now it’s the Quins making mistakes right in front of the posts.

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Quins try to rally with a thundering kick into Malone territory in closing ten minutes.  After an unsuccessful clear and an earth shattering double team tackle Malone have somehow got the ball, only to lose it soon after.  A lot of tired bodies and hands on hips as the two teams trudge into the changing rooms for half time.

Impressive line outs from Malone to start with but penalties are just as riff in the second half as the first.  The game has moments of brilliance but they are being undermined by handling errors.   Malone miss another penalty at the break down again, however a strong Malone defence leads to a turnover by Malone no. 11, Jay Malcolm and a line out at the Quins 25 meter line.  Another penalty in front of the posts and the solid kicking from Malone no. 10 James McKinney sends it over.

Quins scrambling a defence as Malone relentlessly push the line.  A metre from the try line and Malone give away a penalty and Quins gain some much needed breathing space.  A final missed penalty for Quins no.10 Mark Kettyle leaves the score board static.  A cheap penalty gave Malone the 25 – 14 lead in the 73rd minute.  The final 5 min consisted of each team trying to get the ball out of their own half, with no real try scoring drive.  Neither team shone in this contest, with the winner being decided through cheap penalties. Final score: Malone 25 Harlequins 14