“ Address: Grandtully / Between Pitlochry & Aberfeldy / Perthshire PH9 0PL / Scotland / Tel: 01887 840775 „
Legends Of Grandtully is hidden away beside the Scottish Canoeing centre in the tiny village of Grandtully near to Aberfeldy in Perthshire. It is so well hidden that I had driven past it many times over the past couple of years without noticing that it existed so when my friend suggested that we go out to Grandtully for some chocolate I had no idea where she was taking me.
When you think about Scottish food and drink you might think of Irn Bru or slabs of sugary tablet but fine chocolate would not be the first thing to spring to mind. Legends contains the Scottish Chocolate Centre, the first visitor centre in Scotland devoted to the brown stuff. You know the chocolate is going to be good because it is hand crafted by Ian Burnett who is known as the Highland Chocolatier and he supplies the likes of the Gleneagles Hotel with sweet treats.
The visitor centre itself is small, just a large room connecting the café and gift shops which tells the story about how chocolate is grown, processed and crafted for your enjoyment. The process for the chocolate made at the centre starts in Grenada with the beans grown as part of a co-operative so those concerned about the ethics behind mass produced chocolate know they can buy goodies from here with a clear conscience. There is a video on a repeating loop to watch, boards with more info and displays of chocolate which will make your mouth water and wallet empty if you decide to buy them. The heart of the chocolate display had an amazing easter egg and chocolate sculpture, both were lavishly decorated with real gold leaf. There were also a couple of wedding cakes on display and to own one of these works of art would set you back between £800 and £1500 and have been added to my list of things I would buy when I win the lottery! There is also a display kitchen where you can book in for chocolate making lessons, the kitchen has a glass window so I'm assuming there are times you can also see the chocolate master at work.
After seeing all the hard work and dedication which goes into the chocolate making process we decided it would be rude to leave without sampling some of the wares on offer so headed for the coffee shop. The coffee shop is a lovely space which has the feel of an old country cottage and also has witches flying on their broomsticks from the ceiling and loads of greenery on display. There are a range of light meals and snacks for sale but we didn't care about them, we wanted chocolate! The menu hosts an impressive range of both tea blends and coffees but we settled on hot chocolates, one of the kids had a white chocolate drink and we were told that the drink was so rich they only sold this one in cups as a mug would be too much to cope with. Because the chocolate used is premier quality they do not offer cream or marshmallows routinely but these are available on request. We also shared a slab of toffee cake and some shortbread between us.
The hot chocolates were brought out in mugs and although I don't normally enjoy chocolate drinks this one felt very indulgent and tasted very rich while still having the slight bitter tang that good chocolate possesses. The toffee cake was amazing, the frosting was moist and oozing with sugary goodness but the shortbread was a little soft after being on display all day. The service was prompt and friendly with table service, prices were extremely reasonable with hot chocolates costing around £2.50 and huge slices of cake about the same.
After we had finished our drinks it was time to go through to the chocolate shop to choose some sweets to go home. As you would expect for a high quality product the prices are high but when it comes to chocolate it is definitely true that a small portion of good stuff is infinitely more satisfying than a vat of mass produced rubbish. There are bags and bars already made up or you can make up your own box or bag of chocolates from the displays behind the counter, expect to pay around £4 for 100g of chocolate here. As well as dark, milk and white chocolate there is also red cocoa for those fancying a change and you can buy top quality cooking chocolate too. Each individual chocolate is a miniature work of art, there are many flavours available with fruits, alcohol, nuts, honeycomb, spices and praline being a few of the varieties. The dark chocolate has a nice rich and bitter flavour, the milk chocolate is nice and creamy and smooth but I had tasted better white chocolate and I though the offerings here were a bit insipid. Even though the prices in the shop were expensive, I did not feel that it had an exclusive or snobby air about it and everyone will feel relaxed there.
Legends of Grandtully is well worthy a visit for chocolate lovers. The visitor centre itself will only take 10 minutes or so to browse round but it is interesting hearing about how chocolate is made and you will enjoy eating the mini edible works of chocolate art on sale.
Scottish chocolate centre which includes gift shop and coffee house