Fine Origin Chocolate
The world of fine chocolate is a wonderful one full of glorious beans such as criollo, trinitario, cacao nacional & carenero superior, all grown in "The Cocoa Belt" of equatorial countries up to 20 degrees either side of the equator, each creating chocolate with very different, complex flavour notes which are also influenced by how it is grown, harvested & processed... similar to wine & quite fascinating.
We only work with fine chocolate made with pure cocoa butter (& no vegetable fats which have no place in fine chocolate). To date, we don't make chocolate from beans, we are chocolatiers working with couverture chocolate to make all our creations. To use a baking analogy, we are the bakers, rather than the millers. We love working with "beyond fairtrade" or Raisetrade chocolate, ie: chocolate produced from bean to couverture in its country of origin, wherever possible as we believe that it better supports the local economy, but all are of clear provenance and integrity, all have unique flavour notes & all contribute to our sole aim of delighting you with the resulting taste sensations.
Our chocolate comes from...
Madagascar has built a reputation for growing fine cocoa beans that produce delicious chocolate. We work with a 67% criollo & trinitario bean dark chocolate with hints of red berry fruits, liquorice & coffee as our house dark chocolate for many of our dark chocolate creations, and also for baking cakes & chocolate chip scones for our cafés.
We also work with Chocolaterie Robert, a Madagascan chocolate company established in 1940 making all their Raisetrade chocolate from tree to bar on the island. Bursting with red berry fruit notes, gentle acidity and a wonderfully smooth mouthfeel, we work with their grand cru de sambirano 70% dark chocolate (sold as "Chocolat Madagascar") for ganaches and to make all our house hot chocolates in our cafes in our Chocolate Houses. We also work with their fabulous low sugar 65% milk chocolate (which we call Madagascar 'Mega Milk' & it won a 2 Star Gold Great Taste Award in 2018), 85% 'Mega Dark' & 100% 'Totally Dark' for both ongoing items like bars and also seasonal gifts including Easter Eggs and Christmas Baubles. We also work with their wonderful Cashew 'Milc' chocolate made with cashews instead of milk, so is perfect for vegans as it has a wonderful creamy flavour with soft nut notes on the finish.
All Chocolaterie Robert chocolate is also soya-free.
Co-founder Claire visited Madagascar in May 2016 and visited both the Chocolaterie Robert factory in Antananarivo & also their cocoa plantations in the Sambirano valley in the North of the island.
Click here to read Claire's blogs to find out more about her trip and how cocoa is produced from tree to bar.
We are also huge fans of Venezuelan chocolate and over the years have worked with ethically sourced carenero superior bean origin chocolate made from cocoa bean to couverture chocolate in Venezuela by El Rey, an independent company who pay above-market prices for their cocoa beans from the Aprocao co-operative. Supply from El Rey has been tricky in recent years, but we have been able to source another delicious milk chocolate from Venezuela as our house milk chocolate that is also very high in cocoa solids at 45% (& therefore relatively low in sugar) and is also soya-free.
We work with several types of chocolate produced in Colombia by a local company Casa Luker which is another example of Raisetrade chocolate as it is great for the local Colombian economy. Using fino de aroma fine beans, their 100% chocolate is totally pure - no added sugar, soya lecithin or vanilla. We use this chocolate to make our 100% sugar-free hot chocolates in our cafes as it is very robust and once blended with dairy or plant-based milks, creates a deliciously deep drink.
Our House white chocolate is also from the same company and is both aromatic & more flavoursome, (with hints of spice, flowers & dried fruits), than most other white chocolates as, unusually, it is made with undeodorised natural cocoa butter. Please be aware that this particular chocolate does contain soya lecithin.
By the way, to simply explain why white chocolate is white, it's because it only incorporates cocoa butter which is c50% of every cocoa bean. When roasted cocoa beans are crushed, they form a paste & when that paste is pressed, the fat, or cocoa butter, is extracted. This is white & has the melting properties of chocolate whilst what is left, cocoa powder, has the colour & flavour of chocolate - you need the two to get the full chocolate experience! Hence we don't make a huge amount of white chocolate products.
Better known as the Isle of Spice, as nutmeg is one of its major exports, there is also an expanding cocoa industry on this Caribbean island, driven primarily by the efforts of Mott Green, the founder of The Grenada Chocolate Company. Mott sadly died in 2013, but his team of local people led by Edmund are building on his legacy & make their chocolate from locally grown organic trinitario cocoa beans in a tiny solar powered factory in the north of the island & then sail it across the Atlantic each spring by a Brigantine sailing ship! We would describe their chocolate as being Raisetrade & definitely "beyond fairtrade" - they are hugely ethical (they describe themselves as "a cocoa-growing and chocolate-making cooperative producing single origin chocolate from tree to bar").
We used to work with Mott's chocolate to make various chocolates but after his death, were only able to secure bars for sale in our shops and online. More recently, we havent even been able to do that after a change of ownership at Rococo in London who were importing it. Hopefully one day we will be able to support Edmund again and stock these very popular bars.
We also stock a range of chocolate drops made with cocoa beans grown in different countries including;
Tanzania: an intense yet soft, fruity chocolate with 75% cocoa solids and a clean smooth finish made with trinitario beans from cocoa farmers with small holdings, of average 200 trees each, in the Kyela district in the south of Tanzania. This chocolate is soya-free. We serve this as one of oour menu of single origin hot chocolates in our cafes.
Ecuador: a smooth 71% dark chocolate made with the cacao nacional bean with a delicate cocoa taste plus hints of floral flavour notes and earth on the finish, characteristic of this bean type from this region.
Uganda: An intense & robust 80% dark chocolate with a rich cocoa taste & slight woody notes. We make a vegan-friendly truffle with this chocolate and also serve this in our cafes as one of our hot chocolate origins. It is also very popular as chocolate drops for both eating & cooking with.