Many people ask me if dark chocolate is always vegan and the answer is yes. Mine contains simply cacao, natural cocoa butter and raw cane sugar because when it comes to flavour I’m a purist. Actually the majority of chocolates I make are vegan, I suppose because that’s where my taste naturally lies.

I grew up on Horse Island, an island off Southern Ireland, with my parents and five brothers and sisters leading as close to a self sufficient life as possible. We grew and milled our own grains, kept goats for milk and cheese, foraged for everything and even evaporated off sea water to make our own salt. So my taste has always been for the natural, and I’m not big on dairy or sugar. When I reach for a chocolate bar it is always a dark one, and when I drink hot chocolate it is a vegan version made with 100% cacao and water.  The Aztecs didn’t realise they were vegans!

The other reason I love dark chocolates so much is that they enable you to taste the flavours of the beans in their most pure form. For all my chocolates I use the best single estate cacaos in the world – I have to be one of the luckiest people alive, because my quest to make great chocolate takes me on the cacao trail across the world, around the Equator, in search of the finest beans. Every trip turns up  something new.

These beans are like fine wines, each one is totally different because of its genetics and the soil and conditions it is grown in. Take a look on my Flavour Map. So both Las Trincheras 72 and Rio Caribe 72 are both made from Trinitario beans, both come from Venezuela and both are 72% cacao but they taste really very different. Then compare these to the astonishingly juicy, fruity Madagascan Sambirano and you will be blown away. I want to introduce everyone to real chocolate with these long forgotten flavours. People are so used to generic brown chocolate, they don’t realise that mainly what they are tasting is sugar, vanilla and lecithin, not the cacao at all!


My early life also meant that when it came to making chocolate, my natural instinct was to go back to the basic raw materials and to make it from scratch. So about 20 years ago, I was on my cocoa farm in Venezuela wanting to set up a chocolate factory in the UK, and everyone told me I should simply buy bulk liquid chocolate and remould it like other companies did. But this was not in my nature. I wanted to choreograph every step of the dance. So I ended up setting up the first ‘bean to bar’ chocolate factory in Britain for hundreds of years, to start with making just 100% cacao cylinders with no added sugar or milk or anything.

My cylinders are what I  use to make my Hot Chocolate. I have one religiously every morning made Aztec style with 100% cacao, water and a little sugar, so it is dairy free. It’s a wonderful caffeine free way to get a little energy boost and lift. The theobromine in cacao  stimulates your body to produce endorphins which is what makes you feel good after taking exercise. And it is slow release so you don’t get an unpleasant spike. It is quite powerful stuff, so you can drink it in smaller quantities than a milk hot chocolate – treat it a bit like an espresso. To make a more classic vegan hot chocolate just use an Oat Milk or similar with my Hot Chocolate powder which simply contains cocoa powder and raw cane sugar.

If you haven’t had dark chocolate before, I would always say to try my Las Trincheras 72 first. It has soft nutty notes and is gentle and welcoming. Some people get put off dark chocolate because they find it bitter. Often enough this is because people using lower quality beans give them a heavy roast (like some coffees) in order to give them a flavour – this is what creates the bitterness. I always give my beans a light roast – just enough to bring out the flavours.  If you like this, you could move on to my Dark Tasting Box which will take you on a journey to discover the different tastes of different beans and how I pair them with different ingredients in my flavoured bars. And of course you will get the incredible Japanese inspired Magnificent Creations. For me to join you in your tasting, virtually that is, watch my Tasting Videos.

I will sign off with a quick mention for my No Added Sugar bars, also vegan. These are my answer for the increasing number  of people wanting to reduce the sugar they eat, but don’t like the idea of artificial sweeteners. They are 100% cacao naturally sweetened with fruit and nuts and make wonderful afternoon snacks. The Pistachio Date and Raisin Hazelnut get their sweetness from the dried fruits, while lovers of the Pure Gold 100% Sur del Lago cacao bar will find Orange Almond more similar to that as it has less than 2% naturally occurring sugars.

This month’s Tasting Boxes have a low sugar theme, and have got the original version of these bars in them, called Anna’s Jewelled Bites… this has 50:50 cacao to fruit and nuts which is how my mother makes them. You have to do this by hand though, because it is too thick for the depositing machine.

Happy Veganuary, everyone!


Willie Harcourt-Cooze is fondly remembered for his two TV series Willie’s Wonky Chocolate Factory and The Chocolate Revolution on Channel 4 in 2009. In this series he started his journey, from Venezuela to Devon, on a mission to create  the world’s best  chocolate. He was determined to create a chocolate that was all about the bean, with no other ingredients, completely natural Being a purist, the first actual product he decided to launch was 100% cacao! Yes 100% cacao with no added sugar, what you would use for cooking and hot chocolate making. Viewers followed avidly as he sourced the right antique machines to perfectly process the bean gently in order to create his masterpiece. Many chewed fingernails as he went, cap in hand, to the bank for a loan to follow his passion and to bring the 100% cacao to the market. All of us celebrated as he pitched to retailers and received the best news, they would stock his chocolate! We all followed his journeys as he sourced the very best beans from Venezuela to Colombia, the long road trips, the anecdotes, the amusing stories, the vibrant infectious personality of Willie Harcourt-Cooze. Many of us bought his bestselling book The Chocolate Bible to recreate his unique chocolate recipes, and lots of us continued to search the shelves for developments in Willie’s Cacao chocolate, extensions of the delicious range, and new products to try, all sharing the ethos of being 100% natural using the very best beans in the world, and making the cocoa bean the hero of the bar.

What Happened Next?

Many fans and customers on social media have asked what happened next to Willie Harcourt-Cooze once the cameras stopped rolling. Lots of people have demanded that Willie comes back to the TV to share his adventures in the chocolate factory. What did happen next to Willie, did he find his new life plain sailing, or has he had a turbulent time as he’s grown Willie’s Cacao to house over 30 different products with over 25 loyal, passionate staff?

The Chicken Shed Grew

Willie’s undying passion for creating the best bean to bar single estate chocolate has never once waned, chocolate is his life and work, he is the ultimate chocolate pioneer. When the cameras stopped rolling, Willie continued at a hundred miles per hour, creating, tasting, developing, managing, selling, travelling, sourcing, producing, teaching and sharing his love of the cocoa bean. There have been many obstacles and Willie has tackled one at a time, from machine breakdowns, to bean deliveries, Willie has dealt with each one himself. As his product line grew and he developed more bars using different single estate beans from around the world, he shared the news that different beans have unique flavours and proved this with a selection of dark chocolate bars and 100% Cacao cylinders with specific beans from Columbia to Peru. He knew that, to ensure the quality of the beans and to guarantee good post harvest practices ie the fermenting and drying that he needed to practice direct trade with every cocoa farmer, and so he travelled the world building loyal relationships and sourcing the very best beans for his chocolate. As the Willie’s Cacao chocolate range grew, so did the factory and one chicken shed became two!

Willie Harcourt-Cooze Today

Today Willie can be found either in the factory in Devon inventing new products, such as his chocolate stock, his award winning hot chocolate and his Mexican mole, he never stops coming up with new ideas and using the best ingredients, he creates these kitchen products on a small scale on his collection of antique machines. He can also be found around the world as he sources the very best cocoa beans and spreads the word about the benefits and delicious taste of real chocolate. He also continues to discover new flavours and connections and goes beyond to bring the very best flavours from around the globe back to his factory in Devon. You can find out about a recent trip to visit one of the best Japanese tea farmers in Uji in the Matcha blog.

Willie never compromises on the quality of his ingredients and if he can’t find pure flavours, he will make his own. For instance, when creating the passionfruit bar, Willie could not locate passionfruit without malto dextrin in it and so went the extra mile to have pure passionfruit freeze dried with no added extras in order to use 100% natural ingredients in the popular bar.

In the factory you’ll find Willie either knee deep in nuts and bolts, as he manually fixes his antique chocolate machines, at his desk on the phone to growers, suppliers, distributors, usually wearing a hair net as he rushes from the factory to the office or elbow deep in chocolate as he develops new flavours, and experiments with new beans. If he’s lost, he’s easily found, just follow the unique Willie Harcourt-Cooze sound!

Abroad Willie avidly visits all the individual farms, often going off grid for days at a time, as he carefully checks on the cocoa beans and builds relationships with the cocoa farmers. He also attends many trade shows as he brings Willie’s Cacao chocolate to new audiences.

You can also find Willie live on Facebook regularly, where you can ask him questions about chocolate in real time. Follow the Willie’s Cacao Facebook page for regular updates and to view the videos.

We’ll have another update for you in ten year’s time!



Willie has always known that the tea we drink in the UK is a poor imitation of tea how it’s supposed to be. By adding milk, and often sugar, we drown out the antioxidants and much of the flavour that gives tea it’s respect in Japan and China.

Matcha is the ultimate green tea, as it uses the entire leaf. The preparation is careful and considered, with crops being covered before harvest to encourage new shoots which provide the essential nutrients. Matcha is believed to help with a wide variety of diseases and health complaints from high blood pressure to cancer.

The Matcha Mousse Cake

With respect for the eminence of Matcha, and inspired by its taste, Willie created his infamous Matcha Mousse Cake and shared a lifestyle photograph of it on Twitter.

“After I shared the photo on Twitter, the wife of a tea master got in touch to invite me to Uji to try their ceremonial grade Matcha. I promised to make time to visit when travelling to Japan for the salon de chocolate. I believe in chance encounters, of tangents and unexpected opportunities. I was excited to see Matcha at the source and to find out more about this incredible tea.”

Matcha Mousse Cake

Matcha Mousse Cake

To Uji, With Love

Japanese architecture tends to favour the new and bold, as efficiency is revered and so older, historical buildings may be torn down if the aesthetics are damaged or they are not fulfilling the best purpose. This is why it was refreshing for Willie to find himself directed down a long winding lane, flanked by fields of green leaves, in a quaint, picturesque village.

The house itself was unremarkable but was a small boutique powerhouse for some of the world’s best Matcha.

Willie explains, “After the initial warm greetings, and a tour of the house and facilities, where they had grinders pummelling this organic green powder to the finest dust. A freezer room to preserve the purity and chambers to store the tea, I sat down to begin the ceremony of the tea tasting. The tea master’s wife was American and so she kindly translated, which meant we could have a fluid conversation without any language barriers. In China, a long time ago, I realised that the tea we drink, with milk and sugar, is a poor imitation of how it’s supposed to be. The taste of a soft black unadulterated tea is sublime. The Matcha I was presented with was clear, smooth. fresh, better than any Matcha I’d tasted before and eye watering expensive! It was obvious though, after tasting and seeing how this Matcha was grown and harvested that I couldn’t use anything less than this grade of Kotobuki if I was to create a new chocolate bar with it.”

Perfecting the Pairings

From the village south of Kyoto, Willie returned to the chocolate factory in Devon to begin the creation of the new bar. He wanted to celebrate the flavour, to put it on a pedestal and to ensure that it was respected, not only by the flavours paired with it but by all who tasted this new, highest grade Matcha bar.

Tempering Matcha

Tempering Matcha

In the meantime, others sent Willie Matcha to try which compounded his belief that he had tasted the very best. As with all of Willie’s creations, choosing a cheaper alternative was not an option, it never entered his mind. The quality of ingredients in Willie’s chocolate is paramount, regardless of the cost. If he is to make the finest chocolate, only the finest ingredients should partner with it. This is just a snippet of the strong ethos that drives Willie’s Cacao.

The Jewel in the Crown

Willie started with white chocolate, he is keen to point out that this wasn’t from laziness, but from a chocolatier’s ingrained understanding of pairing flavours. Willie’s Cacao white chocolate has a lot less sugar than conventional white chocolate, having the same low amount as the dark chocolate, yet Willie felt even this low amount seemed to cloud the flavour of the Matcha. That’s when he brought the sugar content of his white chocolate right down to 23% and found this plummet in the raw cane sugar used did indeed put the Matcha on a pedestal.

Willie's Cacao Matcha Bar

Willie’s Cacao Matcha Bar

Now known as a green jewel of a chocolate, the Matcha bar is the most popular of Willie’s Cacao bars at this moment. You can buy yours here.


Chocolate tasting is an ideal way to introduce yourself and your friends to the magical world of real chocolate. Melt into a world of adventure by familiarising yourself with the different single estates and beans, and discover the various flavour notes of real cacao, real chocolate.

A chocolate tasting can consist of one person or twenty people, it’s entirely up to you. Tasting alone is preferred by some, as you don’t need to share the chocolate!

Arm Yourself with a Flavour Map

Our flavour map (or wheel) is a handy guide to help you navigate the world of chocolate and work out which of the 400 odd sumptuous flavour notes you prefer. Although there are 7 broad flavour types, we have tried not to be too specific within this, as every person’s palette is different and you may taste hints that your friends may not.

Flavour map

The seven flavour types are:

  • Roasted
  • Nutty
  • Spicy
  • Lively
  • Fruity
  • Earthy
  • Floral

By the end of your tasting session, you’ll discover which profile best suits your tastes and your personality. Will you be fruity or nutty, lively or spicy or will you love them all?

Start with our 100% Pure Gold Cacao

Our Pure Gold, 100% Sur del Lago Cacao is the ideal starting point. You always start a tasting with the darkest chocolate. For those who don’t like dark chocolate, it may be a little too much,  but you will also be surprised that there’s no bitterness, as you’ve no doubt come to expect from a dark chocolate. Even though it’s 100% cacao with no sugar, just cacao and , it’s still incredibly smooth and wonderfully delicious.


Go nutty in Venezuela

If you thought you didn’t like dark chocolate, these famous Venezuelan single estates cacaos are here to change your mind. Taste the difference between the Rio Caribe and Las Trincheras, (discuss with your friends) and then compare your findings with our flavour map. What is so amazing is that they are both 72% cacao, both come from Venezuela and yet they taste quite different.  Say goodbye to any preconceptions you had about bitter, vanilla laden dark chocolate. You’ve just become a chocolate connoisseur!

After these you can try the Peruvian Chulucanas 70 and the Madagascan Sambirano 71. What do you think, the same or different?

Moving on with a Milk

Now let’s move on to Milk of the Gods and the Milk of the Stars. These could be quite unlike any milk chocolates you’ve ever tasted before as it is most unusual to find such great single estate beans made into milk chocolate. As you’ve now come to expect, the characteristic flavour notes from the cacao still shine through. The beans do the talking here. , as There are no additives, it’s simply milk, cacao and raw cane sugar  and natural cocoa butter.  The Milk of the Stars is especially remarkable. It has such a high % of cacao (54% vs c. 25% in most commercial milk chocolates) that it has less added sugar than a 70% dark chocolate.

The Grande Finale with El Blanco

Most white chocolate tastes of vanilla and sugar, this El Blanco however, tastes of white chocolate, the way it should be. Let it melt slowly in your mouth, and you’ll catch gentle flavour notes from natural (not deodourised) cocoa butter and the raw cane sugar. Happily these aren’t overpowered by sweetness as we only add the same amount of sugar as we do to a 70% dark chocolate.

You’re Ready to Tell the World

Now you’re a chocolate connoisseur, educated on the different flavour profiles of the world’s great single estate cacaos, you’re ready to tell the world of your new identity. Before you do, check out our shop with a dizzying range of milk, dark and white chocolates, from the Sambirano you now love (admit it!) to an El Blanco Raspberries and Cream.

There’s a chocolate for every palette, every mood and every moment with real single estate cacaos. Let us know what your favourite is. Welcome, to a whole new world of adventure.


I use the top c. 3% of the world’s cocoa beans, grown on individual farms, so like fine wines they all have beautiful, complex and unique flavours.

These single estate beans don’t just show up at the factory, someone has to go and find them! The first two weeks of December have been a whistle stop bean trip. London – Amsterdam – Panama – Bogota – Arauca – Bogota – Caracas – Rio Caribe – Choroni – Caracas – Paris – London, with 8 flights and 1000’s miles driving.

Since I buy all my beans directly from the farmers, I do this type of thing several times a year, it is always and adventure and something of an endurance test. This time a friend came with me, he passed with flying colours! We had planned meetings with various cacao farmers and less planned meetings with out of control buses and crocodiles.

Happily I got to spend a few all too short days on my farm at the end.

Bogota – Arauca

On the first morning we were up at 4am to catch the epic view over Bogota from the top of the cable car, before returning for a couple of cacao meetings and then off to Arauca, on the Venezuelan – Colombian border. That river is in fact the border.

This is an area in transition from growing coca – to cacao. Since the recent peace deal between the government and FARQ, tensions were clearly a lot lower than when I was there 18 months ago, but the tyre marks on tarmac air strips in the middle of nowhere still looked pretty recent. Happily the biggest surprise along the road was this road kill crocodile – it happens a lot apparently!


Arauca – Bogota

There are many farmers in this particular co-operative, so discussions were long. They have a number of different beans. The ones I get for my Los Llanos bars have beautiful red fruit notes. The crop is just getting underway, so it is a great time to visit. These are the fermentation boxes, where the beans and pulp are turned daily and reach temperatures of around 52℃ . This is the crucial step for the beans to develop the flavours and aromas that you get in the final chocolate.

This stage is typically missed out for the low grade beans used in industrial chocolate.

There was just time to stop for a roadside beer on the way out. Back to Bogota ready for a flight the next morning to Caracas.

Bogota – Caracas

Remarkably we got an incredible view of Choroni, my local town as we flew in, around the coast, to Venezuela. My farm is just out of the picture, high up on the left.

Rio Caribe

That 10 hour drive to Rio Caribe is one of my favourites – it isn’t hard to see why. I have been buying beans from the Francescis since I started making chocolate. The Rio Caribe Superior is the King of beans, with deep coffee and nut notes, I use it to make Milk of the Gods too. This time I was visiting to inspect a shipment they are just preparing. The bigger of the 2 annual crops was just coming in. Each bean is separately sorted before having their pulp-covered beans removed from the pods.

The metal ‘tray’ on the right is a bean cutter. This is one of the inspections you do to examine quality – size, fermentation, mould etc

Rio Caribe – Choroni

Another epicly long drive, made longer by 4 hours spent at a roadblock held by protesters. We ended up driving down onto the beach and along it for a couple of miles to avoid the worst of it! Closer to Choroni, in yet another jam, that white bus ran out of control into the back of all the stationary cars in front of us taking off our wing mirror as it passed.

Very close!

El Tesoro, my cacao farm in the Henri Pittier National Park in Venezuela

This is the bridge over the river, at the entrance to my farm. I managed to spend 3 precious days there, including a 6 hour walk up into the cloud forest fuelled of course by hot chocolate!

Walking the farm

This is Ricardo who has worked for me for over 20 years cutting into the Baca tree to get the extraordinary white liquid that tastes and behaves exactly like milk. And high up in the cloud forest, way higher than you would usually find cacao trees, one venerable old tree has survived. It had one lone pod on it.

Less welcome were the patches of deforestation where people had come in and burnt whole acres to make way for planting banana plants. It is hard times in Venezuela, but destroying pristine jungle in one of the world’s great national parks is not alright.

Choroni, my local town, the one you could see out of the aeroplane

In a magical cloud of butterflies! Where did they come from? They don’t have these in Devon!

The beach at Choroni

Just time for a morning at the beach. Downtown in Choroni things are much better than in much of Venezuela as they the sea and some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. The fishermen are out catching the fish that are feeding the town. Big ones too!

Heading back to The Chocolate Factory

All too soon I am heading back to Caracas. Without trips like this there would be no chocolate. Making the best chocolate relies completely on having the best beans. Visiting the farmers, following tangents, talking to them about their post harvest fermentation and drying, all of this is critical and I have to say one of my really great pleasures.



These are completely unique chocolate hampers, for people wanting to discover what real chocolate is all about. I  make it all ‘bean to bar’ from the best single estate cacaos in the world, but more than that, each hamper contains some of my real treasures, things I make by hand or on a micro scale on antique machines.

So many discoveries! Cacao Nib Brandy for making Cacao Champagne Cocktails, Single Estate Hot Chocolate and Hazelnut Chocolate Spread. I am constantly experimenting with all things chocolate and until recently I just made all these just for my family and friends.

Here they are, making star appearances in the hampers!



These are our most popular hampers probably because no one can resist the Hot Chocolate and the Hazelnut Chocolate Spread. What better Christmas treats!

The hot chocolate is 50% Chulucanas dark chocolate and I press the powder on antique cocoa butter presses. For the spread I roast the hazelnuts myself so they are totally fresh and just mix them with chocolate – no fats or artificial anything here!



Chef's Treasures- Chocolate Cooking Hamper

There is everything in here that a chocolate loving cook could want. They can experiment with savoury chocolate cooking with my 100% cylinder, or make hot chocolate with it. There are couverture drops for cakes and desserts, and my favourite THE MOLE!

Normally Mole takes hours and hours to cook – but here I have refined all 15 ingredients into the 100% cacao so all you have to do is brown some chicken, add tomatoes, stock and the mole cacao.

…….. and I put in some Praline Truffles as the Chef’s reward!



So there you are, completely unique chocolate hampers, containing treasures you can’t find anywhere else. For cooks, party people and chocolate lovers wanting only the best…have a look at our complete collection, and don’t forget El Grande if you REALLY want to impress!

Single estate chocolate discovery, , tasting pack




Great British Chefs

I remember quite clearly my first taste of real chocolate – it was on my first visit to El Tesoro, the cacao farm high in the Venezuelan cloud forest that would become my home. We made a hot chocolate with roughly ground cacao, boiling water and a touch of raw cane sugar from the mountain. It awakened my mind. Not only did I feel energised, but I had a real sense of wellbeing and the depth of flavour was incredible. My eyes were suddenly opened to what real chocolate was all about.

Chocolate has become a sugary fatty confection, a million miles away from health giving cacao, which boasts some 400 different flavours and was worshipped for centuries for the way it makes you feel. It has become my mission to open other people’s eyes to real chocolate… to start The Chocolate Revolution!

So I have teamed up with Great British Chefs to do an exclusive Facebook Live Chocolate Tasting, and have created a limited edition Single Estate Discovery Collection of 8 bars specially for the event. Click through to get it for just £8 including P&P (normal price £16 + P&P), when you enter the code TASTE8 at the checkout.


This will take place on March 14th at 6.30pm. In this live streamed tasting extravaganza I will join Ollie Lloyd of Great British Chefs, and we will chat about the best way to taste chocolate and why artisan and mass produced chocolates are so different. Together we will try a variety of dark, milk and white chocolates and see the astonishing differences in flavour between some of the World’s Great Single Estate Cacaos.  You can be tasting along at home, and there will be plenty of time for chat and questions at the end.

All you will need is The Single Estate Discovery Collection, a glass of water and maybe you could get a bar of some other dark chocolate and so you can see  just how much soya lecithin and vanilla alter the flavour.

To join in visit  and tick “interested / going”.



We’ll be tasting these chocolates. You’ll see how very different the Las Trincheras and Rio Caribe ones are even though they are both 72% dark chocolates from Venezuela.  That is why single estate is important, not just single origin. Then you’ll taste the difference between cacaos with a generally more nutty profile and ones that are fruity. You can even taste these type of differences in the Milk chocolates.  Finally the incredibly pure El Blanco will make an appearance – a particularly good way to taste the lack of soya lecithin, which is the hall mark of industrial chocolate.

Pure Gold 100% Sur del Lago Cacao, Venezuela: absolutely nothing but pure cacao, intense but remarkably smooth

Las Trincheras 72,Venezuela:: a nutty 72% chocolate perfection for those who are new to or thought they didn’t like dark chocolate.

Rio Caribe 72, Venezuela: this contains the same cacao percentage using beans from the same country as the Las Trincheras, but with a very different flavour profile

Chulucanas 70, Peru: a fruity dark chocolate with a strong raisin, plummy flavour. 70% is the classic ratio of cacao to sugar that brings out the bean’s natural flavour.

Sambirano 71, Madagascar: another fruity dark chocolate but one that is completely different to the Peruvian above; think bright, fresh summer fruits.

Milk of the Gods 44, Rio Caribe: a milk chocolate made using single estate Venezuelan beans with a beautifully nutty rounded flavour.

Milk of the Stars Surabaya 54: an Indonesian bean made into milk chocolate with a slightly higher percentage of cacao. Despite being milk chocolate, this bar still contains less sugar than your average  70% dark chocolate.

El Blanco: Raw cane sugar from Barbados and the natural flavours of the non-deodorised cocoa butter is all that’s needed to give flavour to this bar without a hint of vanilla in sight. It’s also much less sweet than other white chocolate.

In the pack you will also have one of my Flavour Maps showing all the different flavour profiles you find in cacao and a map showing of where all the beans come from.

>See you there and Viva Cacao!


Follow live at 6.30pm on March 14 th
To save the date and get a reminder visit and tick “interested / going”

To get the 8 chocolates go to and use coupon TASTE8 to pay just £8 including P&P for the chocolates RRP £16. Otherwise some are available in Sainsbury, Waitrose, Ocado and independents.

For more information go to


I soaked the base in Wild Amareno Fabbri cherry syrup. …. Don’t eat the cherries!

It was for the Food Rocks in Lyme Regis on the weekend. Paradise!


Milk of the Gods is rolling!



There are 3 things that make good chocolate. Genetics of the beans, post harvest-fermentation and drying, and a crazy chocolate maker…

One of the great things about roasting, is you need to have full attention all the time… There is only a small window when its perfect.

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And then you have the Mamma that I am loading Rio Caribe into, to make the Milk Of The Gods…

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From the sack:

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to the sheller… To the stone grinder and refiner – now refurbished!

shellerScreen Shot 2015-02-24 at 14.16.03








To the roast…

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… and the the longitudinal conch refiner;  100 years old, gently caressing the flavours..

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Viva Cacao !





This is a very big week in The Chocolate Factory- the launch of my Chocolate Treasure Trove. Have a look at, and you will find a vast collection everything chocolate, made with the best of the best ingredients: hazelnut chocolate spread, praline truffles, drinks and ground breaking ingredients.

The Willie’s Cacao chocolates that you buy in the shops have always been the tip of my chocolate iceberg. I am in fact constantly experimenting. It may be sparked by some ingredient I discover on my travels, or by trying out new machines, but the kitchen is always humming with small batches of one thing or another. Up to now I have been giving them to family and friends, but from now on I am going to sell them in small quantities, just on the website.
My kids’ favourite is the HAZELNUT CHOCOLATE SPREAD (300ml £7.99). This is one mind blowingly delicious creation. Peruvian Chulucanas milk chocolate and roasted Piedmont hazelnuts with their soft, round distinctive flavour. If you can resist eating it all out of the pot, melt over pancakes and warm toast, make milk shakes or eat with ice-cream.

Have a great time delving into my treasures,

Viva Cacao!


Just checking over the original manual for my beautiful Siroccco Bath Roaster – 250kg per batch..

It’s pretty, but it’s in French!



The rise of chocolate purists!

The BBC investigates real chocolate:


At Somerset Cider Brandy to collect chocolate lab ingredients…

Apple Brandy, honey…. sounds like an interesting centre …Watch this space!

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Pretty Pigs & Delectable Chocolate at the Devon County Show. I love attending this wonderful annual event. Screen Shot 2015-02-24 at 00.54.48Screen Shot 2015-02-24 at 00.55.08


If you didn’t have this for breakfast go back and do it again!


The first labels in Venezuela, right through to today. A voyage in branding!


I feel a little energy-less today… Trying to kick the rhythm with this ginger & lime cloud forest cake!


New moulds have arrived.. They are really helping production speed, so in theory, less late nights for me!


At a service station on the motorway yesterday, I made a hot chocolate by putting 40g in jar with hot water + shake!


Chefs drops are born… Easy to use, and THE most premium single estate chocolate for chefs…

A little celebratory competition, anyone? 

Here are the very first two Chefs Drops off the new line, and you can have them! (they won’t be on sale for awhile still..)
Just tell me what you’d use them for if you won, and I’ll pick my two favourite ideas.
Let’s have your answers by midnight Tuesday the 21st of August…


Just made my mum a chocolate torte, topped with a ganache and strawberries, and set in the fridge… My daughter says she could eat it all day !


Here we go! The new boxes for Black Pearls – Sea Salt Caramels and Milk Chocolate Pralines… Out in the Autumn…


Here we are at the opening ceremony of the South Pacific food & Wine festival with the prime minister of Fuji!


The chocolate gang are dismantling some of the factory today ready for the new kit to come in…


The new (well, very old…) roaster.  She is bigger than my current one, and she’s on her way to a restoration befitting to her former glory!


Largin’ it with Jamie Oliver at the Big Feastival. We made hot chocolate & Churros, and the crowds called out for more…

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The wonderful Malambo playing  at a recent chocolatey event with us… They were amazing!


A wonderful Easter event in London; golden tickets, chocolate fountains… And not a creme egg in sight!

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Check out this beauty I just picked up- a melangeur!  For grinding and mixing sugar, and any other ingredients in chocolate…. It’s from the turn of last century and is the basis of lovely chocolate!


We’ll be filming in the factory on Wednesday with Eric Lanlard for Eric’s new show… It will be shown on Channel 4,  starting in April, and will be called Baking Mad!


The Chocolate Bible was the book of the week in the Saturday Telegraph!



My stand, number 374 at the speciality fine food fair! Wonderful people and wonderful food from everywhere…


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