CHOCOLATE lovers unite – Thursday December 8 has been declared as National Brownie Day and we sent Nathan Salt out and about to taste test some of the best on offer…

The brownie, despite strong competition from the cookie, remains a firm favourite of those with a sweet tooth. With everything from a red velvet offering to a festive ‘Tipsy Rudolph,’ there were options to cater to all tastebuds.

With the competition fiercer than ever, the judging concluded that Lush Brownies – sampled at Milkjam on Oxford Road and Yard & Coop on Edge Street – was in a league of its own.

Top spot: Lush Brownies

Lush Brownies
The decor inside MilkJam – a pop up venue housing three venues including Lush Brownies. Image Credit: Nathan Salt

Trips to Milkjam as well as Northern Quarter’s Yard and Coop confirmed that Lush Brownies are the best Manchester has to offer.

The company was set-up after winning the ‘most delicious’ category as part of Manchester Food and Drink Festival and has gone on to make a real name for itself across the city.

Consistently impressing on the market scene, Milkjam was home to 15 different brownie options ranging from a double chocolate to a Malteser – and it was the latter that was provided for the taste test.

The pop-up venue was launched in July 2016 and brownie aficionados have until July 2017 to go and taste for themselves.

Despite being served from chilled as it was a new batch, the malt selection had a gooey consistency and was not too rich in flavour – something that held many other establishments back over the course of the tasting day.

Northern Quarter’s chicken haven, Yard and Coop, searched high and low to find a brownie for customers and concluded on Lush Brownies.

The general manager said it was “an easy decision” given the quality of the product and that he had ordered a number of the festive brownies ahead of Christmas.

And it was there where I tested out the boozy ‘Tipsy Rudolph’ which, despite having a delayed alcoholic kick, was the best of the day.  It received a strong nine out of 10 for its flavour combination, density and presentation (it was the only one served with ice cream).

Runner-up: And the dish ran away from the spoon

And the dish ran away with the spoon
It was all about presentation in West Didsbury. Image Credit: Nathan Salt

This quaint offering in West Didsbury kickstarted the tasting day as Quays News got to see the process from start to finish in the kitchen.

While creating a brownie with a great texture and feel in the mouth, it was particularly rich and baker Katie Rogers later admitted that they use “lots and lots of chocolate” for each brownie.

But what was really unique about this firm was The Brownie Post scheme they run; already enjoying close to three years of success the popularity of the brownies transcends beyond the shop’s four walls.

All hand-baked, orders have soared ahead of Christmas and after an early morning taste test it was no surprise why the people of Greater Manchester cannot get enough of the Didsbury shop.

Other notable brownies: Bad Brownie co, Katsouris Deli and Home Sweet Home

The sales of brownies at each venue was growing and growing according to owners. Image Credit: Nathan Salt

Right across the city, there were enough brownies for everyone but notable nominations must go to city centre venues Home Sweet Home and Katsouris Deli.

Home Sweet Home’s Great Northern branch were eager to get involved with National Brownie Day and served up a red velvet brownie in full.

Far denser than Lush, it struggled to compete in terms of texture but it packed a real tasty flavour and was one of the few projects that was not too heavy or rich which was critical in the assessments.

Katsouris Deli was called out on Twitter as a must-go to venue; a bustling afternoon session demonstrated the popularity of the venue – even if it was not all for the chocolate treats.

The Deli’s product was distinctly similar to that of the the Didsbury slice but was, upon a blind taste test back at the office, richer and thus less appealing.

Quays News was also sent a varied selection from Bad Brownie co, a company that is looking to kickstart a project to launch their own brownie dessert bar.

The gourmet offerings included flavour combinations such as Mince Pie, Amaretto Cranberry and Salted Caramel with the box emptying in absolutely no time at all here.

With £35,000, the target for this online company, brownie lovers from across the country are encouraged to back this ‘dangerously good’ initiative.

Sweet As Cakes, while not strictly local to the area, sent us their four-piece selection which included Chocolate Orange, Ginger and Salted Caramel.

Beautifully wrapped in ribbon the southern company proved a strong competitor with it’s delicious taste and soft consistency.

They say they ‘bake happy memories’ and the office was certainly satisfied with that brownie delivery.

Did we miss off your brownie of choice? Let us know!

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