It’s chocolate’s birthday, well almost.
It’s chocolate’s birthday, well almost. Saturday 7th July is World Chocolate Day. Its introduction to Europe has been pinpointed to this date in 1550. Mixed with spices like chilli and vanilla, it marked the start of a very long love affair.
The cocoa bean’s history stretches much further back though, it was originally grown and enjoyed in Central America and Mexico. Ancient baristas, Mayans drank an elixir of frothy bitter cocoa. Roasted beans were enjoyed ‘straight up’, powering warriors on the march.
You might not like your chocolate like a Mayan, but take strides. Discover something new or cosy up with an old favourite.
Celebrate 7th July 2018 with your choice of chocolate.
RECIPE FOR THE BEST CHOCOLATE?
WE ASK OUR EXPERT, EMMA.
Emma crafts all our single-origin bars for Rare & Vintage. Single-origin is cocoa harvested from one country, which sit in that happy place, 20° North or South of the equator, from Saint Lucia (home to our own estate) to Honduras (the crucible of Mayan cocoa civilisation). To her, it’s a matter of taste, and a question of how far you want to venture.
She takes you on a three step journey…
THREE STEPS INTO OUR RARE & VINTAGE RANGE
- SUPERMILK, OUR HIGHER COCOA MILK CHOCOLATE
A great introduction if you want to try milk chocolate with a difference. We up the ratio of cocoa to 67%, even higher than many so called ‘dark’ chocolate bars. Creamy, smoky, opulent with a hint of butterscotch and raisin.
Lining the supermarket shelves, you’ll see many milk chocolates, but usually something is missing. The cocoa. Some start at a paltry 20%, while our Supermilk raises the bar to 65%. Packed with more satisfying cocoa, we dial down sugar to give you more of a lift.
- VENTURE FURTHER – DARK, YET FRUITY
Next step dark. Made from Mayan Red cocoa beans, this is a great first taste of single-origin. The flavour profile is bitter raisin, how best to sum it up? Like a raspberry compote. These are beans with heritage, grown in Honduras where Mayans once worshipped ‘Theobroma cocoa’ or food of the gods. Try our Academy of Chocolate winner.
- GO BOLDLY – PURE COCOA, NOTHING BUT THE NIBS
What are nibs? Cocoa beans, roasted, then de-shelled (called winnowing). These were grown from seedling on our estate. Nibs make chocolate, with the addition of milk or sugar. However, we’re talking 100%. Nothing added, at all! It’s a savoury, peaty profile rich in tannins, like a good Merlot. If you want your cocoa pure, go boldly.
WHAT SHINES FOR US THIS SUMMER?
Heatwave ready. On the other end of the spectrum, you might like to tuck-in to our Summer Desserts. We asked Kiri, our senior chocolatier, to select her favourites.
MY TOP THREE SUMMER DESSERTS
- Passionfruit Cheesecake – not one you’ll see in our other collections, so a real exclusive. A distinctive zing made with pressed fruit, perfect for summer.
- Watermelon Bombe – nothing’s better than a refreshing slice on a hot day. We’ve recreated watermelon minus the pips! Refreshing and light.
- Chocolate Macaron – our take on a macaron. Mellow, creamy cocoa flavour profile. Very moreish!
Every recipe was inspired by desserts you’d find on summer menus, from Blood Orange Sorbet to Blueberry Cheesecake. While our boozy chocolates took their lead from summer cocktails or tipples served at a barbeque, think iced mojito.
HOW DO YOU MAKE THEM?
Us chocolatiers are real foodies, we eat out a lot, cook together and on our own at home. We’re always experimenting with new recipes and turning them into chocolate in our Cambridgeshire Inventing Room.
WHAT MAKES THE BEST CHOCOLATE IN THE WORLD?
It’s so personal, but for me it’s a chocolate which is well balanced on flavour and recreates the concept when you taste it. For example, I want my mojito chocolate to have a good glug of decent rum and that fresh garden mint flavour! I like food to evoke memories, and to me a mojito takes me back to my holidays.
Happy World Chocolate Day!