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The chocolate Apprentice

Tonight at last saw the airing of the final of  the fifth  series of the UK version of The Apprentice. The last challenge for the two finalists was creating a chocolate brand and selection in just three days – a tough ask. Finalist Kate Walsh worked with Paul Young of Paul A Young Fine Chocolates, ..

Willie’s Chocolate Revolution reviewed – part 1

Willie Harcourt-Cooze is back on British TV, this time to produce a fully fledged 72% eating bar and so become Britain’s only bean-to-bar fine chocolate maker. Here are my musings on the matter, typed in while eating dinner and munching on a kilo of Amedie Chuao

Latin American tour August 2008 – Day 21 – Panama City

After an early breakfast featuring the Lodge’s signature chocolate bread – made with cacao liquor produced on the farm but not at all sweet – we all set off back to Bocas, where Steve and I said our goodbyes to Tom and Kate and boarded the mid morning flight back to Panama City. Sitting in ..

Latin American tour August 2008 – Day 20 – cacao farms in Bocas del Toro

A day messing about on boats, spinning about different islands and stops around the lagoon investigating cacao production in the Bocas del Toro area. Before setting off though, our host Steve took us and the other guests at La Loma on a short tour of the Lodge’s cacao growing area and the butterfly farm. This ..

Latin American tour August 2008 – Day 19 – La Loma, The Jungle Lodge

Observant blog watchers will have noticed that this and the following entries of my August travel blog are a little out of date. This is not so much because I gave up writing in Panama, just I ran out of time to post before returning and then found myself smack in the middle of the ..

Demarquette 65% house blend

Today I’ve been trying one of Marc Demarquette’s house blend bar, left over from the Awards. This is Marc’s own blend of Valrhona chocolate, made as far as I know by combining different Valrhona couvertures during tempering. Marc uses this as his base chocolate for all his products, as he showed us at our Valentine’s ..

Chocolate Mousse for Two

Recently on the forum, there has been a lot of discussion centered on a simple yet decadent dessert we all know and love: chocolate mousse. It all started when a forum member posted his recipe and then requested that everyone else share their variations. Well, this innocent little post incited a detailed and at times ..

Grenada back on form

Bumped into Mott Green at a recent Academy of Chocolate meeting, and Mott brought one of his latest Grenada Chocolate Company bars to try. The efffects of various hurricanes a few years ago meant that Grenada were forced to use imported beans from Costa Rica, and the chocolate was just not the same – it ..

Chocolatier bars

We’ve been caught up with preparations for Chocolate Week recently, so I’m a little behind telling you what chocolate has passed my way recently, but not behind with eating it! The last two Club editions have feature bars made by British chocolatiers, and I’ve been finishing up some tasting samples recently. Valrhona Alpaco, by William ..

Chocolate tastes better in winter (Pralus Colombie)

So the temperature is slowly dipping here in the UK, a little disappointingly after such a useless summer, but this does bring a small thrill inside as everything seems to be moving a little faster and there’s a more of a buzz on the streets. Then there’s that ‘nip’ in the air, which tells us ..

Manjari saves the day, Lindt disappoints

So after some disappointment brought about by my Guanaja kilo, a bar of Manjari the following day restored some of my faith in Valrhona. Fruity and light and full flavoured, this was a real treat and shows how good Valrhona can be at their best. Still, this is again in contrast to reports over the ..

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 ..