Back to beginnings (Valrhona Guanaja)

My first encounter with fine chocolate was back in 1993. On one foodie wandering day, I was in Harrod’s food halls and was, unsurprisingly, lingering in the confectionery room. There I found myself face to face with a small display of products by a company called ‘Valrhona’. At the end of an aisle and no ..

Out of date? (Michel Cluizel Concepcion)

‘Best before’ dates are tricky. No one wants to receive or buy something that’s close or past it’s ‘best before’ date, but it should be remembered that those dates mean best, before – not "eat by this date or the chocolate will suddenly decompose into grey powder". If you keep your chocolate well, there’s a ..

Left-overs are the best (Pralus Ghana)

Last week the Academy of Chocolate was invited to show their collective wares at an ICCO event in London. Seventypercent was their to promote the fine chocolate message and offer samples of origin chocolate to representatives of cocoa growing and consumer countries from around the world. Big events almost always mean left over samples, and ..

What’s going on in and around the London chocolate scene

Things have really warmed up in the London chocolate scene over the last few years. (Which means the now melted fine chocolate must be flowing nicely!) We now have a good handful of world class chocolatiers, growing in size and reputation, helping to place London squarely on the world chocolate map and turn the city ..

Story fixed?

BBC News 24 have a strange little segment called ‘Story Fix’ in their ‘Your News’ programme. It’s a mish-mash of clips from this week’s stories, which I personally find barely intelligible. I suppose it’s supposed to be ‘hip’. In the edition broadcast on 23 June 2007 featured stories included the death of politically incorrect comedian ..

Is fine chocolate ethical?

We were recently asked by a customer “if the cocoa used in your products is from ethical sources?” Like many issues in the food industry, the answer to the question raised by our customer is not as straightforward as we’d all like, but most of these reports relate to Africa where bulk beans come from, not the ‘fine’ cacao producing countries used for beans in most origin, plantation chocolate

Home chocolate project day 8

Fermenting is officially over, having gone on a few days too long I fear – the beans now smell very acidic. Now we move on to drying the beans for a few days

Home chocolate project day 5

Fermenting beansDay 5 and I think this might actually be working. Not sure what to do next though, so please leave your advice in the forum

Home chocolate project day 1 – opening a pod

Home chocolate project - day 1
Having received some fresh arriba pods from Ecuador, I decided to try my hand at fermenting, drying, roasting and grinding the beans to make something that might resemble chocolate. It’s just day 1 and the beans are still fresh, I’ll try to post each day with the progress

New ICCO website

The ICCO, the International Cocoa Organization – trade body for cacao growers, have a new website. Much more up to date and modern, and looks easier to use. The site so far has actually less images than the old site, but hopefully these will come along in the near future. View the new version at


On the water margin

On the agenda

Fine chocolate on the agenda