- Feb 2018JOIN A LIVE CHOCOLATE TASTING WITH WILLIE & GREAT BRITISH CHEFS GET…Read more...
- Jan 2018I use the top c. 3% of the world’s cocoa beans, grown…Read more...
- Dec 2017CHRISTMAS CHOCOLATE HAMPERS FOR CHOCOHOLICS WANTING THE GOOD STUFF These are completely…Read more...
- Oct 2016 This is a very big week in The Chocolate Factory-…Read more...
- Nov 2016Have you ever seen such exquisitely beautiful pods? Maybe better hanging on…Read more...
- Jul 2014If you didn't have this for breakfast go back and do it…Read more...
My stand, number 374 at the speciality fine food fair! Wonderful people and wonderful food from everywhere…
The Chocolate Bible was the book of the week in the Saturday Telegraph!
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!
A wonderful Easter event in London; golden tickets, chocolate fountains… And not a creme egg in sight!
The wonderful Malambo playing at a recent chocolatey event with us… They were amazing!
Largin’ it with Jamie Oliver at the Big Feastival. We made hot chocolate & Churros, and the crowds called out for more…
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!
The chocolate gang are dismantling some of the factory today ready for the new kit to come in…
Here we are at the opening ceremony of the South Pacific food & Wine festival with the prime minister of Fuji!
Here we go! The new boxes for Black Pearls – Sea Salt Caramels and Milk Chocolate Pralines… Out in the Autumn…
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 !
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…
At a service station on the motorway yesterday, I made a hot chocolate by putting 40g in jar with hot water + shake!
New moulds have arrived.. They are really helping production speed, so in theory, less late nights for me!
I feel a little energy-less today… Trying to kick the rhythm with this ginger & lime cloud forest cake!
The first labels in Venezuela, right through to today. A voyage in branding!
If you didn’t have this for breakfast go back and do it again!
Pretty Pigs & Delectable Chocolate at the Devon County Show. I love attending this wonderful annual event.
At Somerset Cider Brandy to collect chocolate lab ingredients…
Apple Brandy, honey…. sounds like an interesting centre …Watch this space!
The rise of chocolate purists!
The BBC investigates real chocolate:
Just checking over the original manual for my beautiful Siroccco Bath Roaster – 250kg per batch..
It’s pretty, but it’s in French!
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.
And then you have the Mamma that I am loading Rio Caribe into, to make the Milk Of The Gods…
From the sack:
to the sheller… To the stone grinder and refiner – now refurbished!
To the roast…
… and the the longitudinal conch refiner; 100 years old, gently caressing the flavours..
Viva Cacao !
Milk of the Gods is rolling!
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!
|Have you ever seen such exquisitely beautiful pods? Maybe better hanging on a Christmas Tree than as earrings! These Golden Cacao Pods represent everything that is beautiful about my chocolate. A great friend, and well known artist sculpted the first one. I was there watching the incredible shape come to life out of clay. Now that is real artistry.Add one Passion Fruit Golden Pod to your bag and the first 20 of you to do this and put PASSION in the code box at the www.williescacao.com checkout, can have that Passion Fruit Golden Pod for FREE with the rest of your chocolates. Try them quickly – they may just be the Christmas gifts you are looking for!|
|You open them by giving them a gentle squeeze in their middle, and POP like champagne, out burst heaps of delectable Black Pearls. I think the new Milk Chocolate Passion Fruit Caramel ones are even better than the Sea Salt Caramel ones. That’s saying something! Here they are on this >> link|
JOIN A LIVE CHOCOLATE TASTING WITH WILLIE & GREAT BRITISH CHEFS
GET YOUR INCREDIBLE VALUE TASTING COLLECTION
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.
THE FACEBOOK LIVE CHOCOLATE TASTING
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 https://business.facebook.com/events/213520135876508/ 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!
HOW TO JOIN & GET THE CHOCOLATE
Follow live at 6.30pm on March 14 th
To save the date and get a reminder visit https://www.facebook.com/events/213520135876508/ and tick “interested / going”
To get the 8 chocolates go to https://www.williescacao.com/product/single-estate-chocolate-discovery 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 http://www.greatbritishchefs.com/features/willies-cacao-chocolate-tasting
CHRISTMAS CHOCOLATE HAMPERS FOR CHOCOHOLICS WANTING THE GOOD STUFF
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, Mole Cacao – my precious Mole recipe made quick and easy, 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!
SWEET DREAMS HAMPER – GIFT FOR PAMPERING
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!
CHOCOLATE LOVER’S BOX – THE PARTY PERSON’S GIFT
There’s nothing like a Cacao Champagne Cocktail for a party!
I have infused Dudognon’s artisan VSOP cognac with cacao nibs, added a little sugar and hey presto, all you need is Champagne.
Then you can look forward to the tasting box of 5 different single estate cacaos, Black Pearls and my new mouthwatering Praline Truffles for later.
The chocolate party hamper!
CHEF’S TREASURES – THE COOK’S GIFT
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!
CHRISTMAS PRESENTS MADE EASY – SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE
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!
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.
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.
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.