The UK’s biggest chocolate celebration is with us again, now in it’s eighth year and going from strength to strength, with more and more events around the UK, as well as in London.
As the week becomes more popular the list of participants grows each year. It can be hard to sift through all the tastings and events on the official site (chocolate-week.co.uk/events) to work out which ones feature fine chocolate or chocolatiers, so we’ve done the work for you and here is our A-Z fine chocolate picks for the week.
Before we get going, just a quick plug for our ‘Chocolate Knowledge‘ event on Weds 13th October at myhotel bloomsbury, London. We’ll be exploring five great fine chocolate brands – established, ethical and new. Full details here.
Artisan du Chocolat
Artisan have been finishing their own chocolate from cocoa liquor (rough ground roasted cacao beans) for some years. Bit by bit they are edging towards becoming a bean to bar chocolate maker, at least in part.
They move a step closer to producing their own bars directly from cacao just in time for Chocolate Week – with the help of their customers and fans. They have 300kg of prized Jamaica beans, which are being converted into fine chocolate in an open event on the 9th October.
We’d already tasted Artisan’s first Jamaica bar. This was made from beans that Artisan purchased and had made into cocoa liquor by a third party, which they then finished into chocolate. The bar impressed our reviewers and is undoubtedly their best chocolate to date.
Now Artisan are taking another giant leap with their first roasting experiment, working to a deadline to product fully self-produced bean to bar Jamaica chocolate in time for chocolate week. The results should be very interesting and well worth trying during the week. Look out for Seventypercent reviews soon.
Auberge du Chocolat
Gerrards Cross chocolatier Auberge are an upcoming fine chocolatier and use high quality fine couvertures, rather than the bulk ‘Belgian’ ones popular with some companies.
They have a range of children’s parties and workshops going on for Chocolate Week in their Chesham showroom, and an afternoon course making truffles.
Bettys of Harrogate are a very traditional English style tea room with a 91 year old history. Sadly many of these kinds of establishment have descended into supplying rather low quality or bought in chocolate products, but Bettys are bucking the trend with their new range of chocolate, made using couverture from Swiss bean to bar maker Felchlin.
The new range is launching in Chocolate Week and you can meet the chocolatier Claire Gallagher in store on 12th October.
Swanage chocolatier Chococo are sampling a range of growing country bean to bar chocolate bars in store during the week, and you can also check out some of their latest creations, including their new ‘wild hedgerow’ collection.
Chocolate Ecstasy Tours
The week wouldn’t be complete without tramping around the streets of London in search of the ultimate chocolate experience with the Australian choc-obsessive Jennifer Earle. Tours are running all week, the Mayfair event being just one of the routes.
The Chocolate Tree
Edinburgh chocolate store ‘The Chocolate Tree’ have a free tasting of ‘single origin dark chocolate bars’ – their own, made from couverture. We’re not sure of the sources, but the two listed on their website suggest Belcolade and Valrhona. If you’re in town, drop and check them out and let us know.
Water ganache wizard Damian Allsop is launching his ‘Pure’ collection in Selfridges, London for Christmas on Monday 11th October. The collection features a selection of origin chocolate water based ganaches, creating perhaps the purest expression of origin flavour possible in a filled chocolate.
Later in the week Damian will be on hand for sampling of his finest at Union Market in Fulham, 3-6pm Friday 15th.
Demarquette Fine Chocolates
Fulham’s finest Marc Demarquette will be at Fortnum & Mason on Thursday 14th, 1.30pm-5pm for sampling of his ‘bespoke’ Fortnum’s collection made using ingredients from the famous store.
Britain’s newest and brightest bean-to-bar chocolate maker, Duffy Sheardown, will be launching his chocolate range Harvey Nicholls store in Manchester on 16th Octover. He’ll also be exlusively launching his new Honduras bar, made with cacao from the Xoco Fine Cocoa project, at Paul A Young‘s stores in London.
Gorvett and Stone
Henley-on-Thames finds us at Gorvett and Stone, another of the UKs rising star fine chocolatiers. On Monday 11th you can taste their Xocoatl drinking chocolate range in store.
Notting Hill chocolatier Melt will be showing you how to make truffles, temper chocolate and make lollipops at their Oxford Street Selfridges concession on 14th and 15th October. You can also sample some of their new bars in the Notting Hill store.
Paul A Young
The ever popular and slightly elusive Paul A Young has a chocolate menu created in partnership with the head chef at the Almeida restaurant all week. He’ll also be launching the new Duffy ‘Honduras’ bar in shop as well as running around the place judging various competitions during the week and exhibiting at Chocolate Unwrapped.
Rococo have a busy week a full range of tastings and events and dinners, both in-store and at other locations. For a full listing, check out there blog, but here are just a few highlights:
Cheese, chocolate and fig tasting, 11 Oct, Motcombe Street store
Cheese, chocolate and walnut tasting, 13 Oct, Motcombe Street store
Living chocolate exhibit – mini bean to bar chocolate making demo with Grenada cacao, 16 Oct, Motcombe Street store
As well as some new dessert launches in the Belgravia dessert bar, William is focussing his efforts for this Chocolate Week serving afternoon tea at Claridges, quite a challenge the Curley staff serving fine chocolate desserts to the potentially hundreds of customers that pass through the famous Mayfair hotel for tea.
William will also be hosting master-classes at the famous venue on 16-17 October.
Masterclass at Caridges – truffles, 16 October
Masterclass at Caridges – sea salted caramels, 17 October
Austrian chocolate maker Zotter – now working from beans as far as we can tell – seem to be making quite a push in the UK. There exotic collection of paired origin bars is now being launched in the John Lewis Foodhall in Oxford Street, where you can taste them on 15th October.