Can you imagine the world with only generic red and white wine? Or just a handful of different types of apples….
Today the majority of industrial-factory made chocolate, most of the confectionery bars made and Easter eggs sold in the stores are selling such a world: a limited choice of an underlying commodity of milk and dark chocolate where there are only sweet and bitter tastes with added ingredients to make the chocolate more appealing. In most confectionary products- the sweet sugar dominates (chocolate is less than 25% of the content). In dark chocolate, we have come to expect an intenser chocolate experience but often accompanied by an astringent or bitter after taste.
A new golden age of chocolate has started- known as the craft chocolate movement
For us who are interested in real food, pure ingredients with flavour and want the best, there is an exciting new movement in chocolate heralded as - the new golden age of chocolate- known as CRAFT CHOCOLATE.
The parallel between craft chocolate and the coffee scene explosion
There are encouraging signs craft chocolate will have the same consumer interest as other great food and drinks including artisan cheese, craft beer and coffee. Over a decade+ ago, coffee was viewed by the public as a commodity; now consumers want to know the origin of coffee beans and how they are roasted. There is also a boom in coffee shops and cafes, where experienced Baristas make handcrafted coffee with specialised equipment. .
Hooray! Chocolate Lovers and Connoisseurs are discovering the world of craft chocolate made from rare cacao.
For Chocolate, it is relatively speaking the beginning of the craft movement in the UK, Europe and even in North America (where there are over 200 craft makers) plus the rest of the world. There are no norms yet on what this trend in chocolate should be called. The descriptions ‘bean to bar', ‘artisanal', ‘small-batch' and ‘craft' are all used to describe small makers who focus on the quality of the process, but the most critical element to this exciting chapter is the main ingredient- Cacao.
Chocolate is made from the seeds of a tropical fruit called cacao. Cacao originates in the rainforests of the Amazon but is cultivated today in other tropical areas of the world including the Caribbean, Africa, Central America, and the Far East.
Most industrial chocolate today is made with a poorer grade of cacao, grown for yield to meet the demand for cheaper chocolate ingredients. Not well treated from the start, often by the time it arrives at the factories, it is necessary to high roast the cacao beans which removes flavour.
The good news- in the last ten years there had been a considerable effort to preserve the genetically flavourful cacao encouraging farmers to grow more varieties and adopt the latest post-harvest practises. In reality, fine flavourful cacao is approximately 5% of all cacao grown in the world, but interest continues from farmers and growing regions. New demand for fine craft chocolate will help to encourage diversity and continued growth of good cacao.
Makers are sourcing cacao beans with flavourful profiles directly from farmers...
In places like Peru, Ecuador, and Venezuela. Working carefully with the beans, through gentle roasting, winnowing, conching (some of the chocolate-making process) and using fewer ingredients, just enough sugar - they are bringing out exciting tastes and flavour notes from the cacao. That is why almost all craft chocolate is a higher percentage of dark chocolate.
The Start of the Craft Chocolate Movement in the UK.
In the U.K., the craft chocolate movement started with Duffy Sheardown of Duffy’s Chocolate, in Lincolnshire. In 2007, he left his career as a high tech engineer in Formula One racing to devote himself to learning how top quality chocolate is produced. A trip to the heart of Ecuador opened his eyes to the ancient secrets of cacao and introduced him to some of the world's most flavourful beans. Back in the UK, he got some kit, set up his workshop, and started to craft some exquisite chocolate. Today, he is focused on working with farmers directly in Ecuador and Central America to make chocolate bars with unique flavour profiles that change from one year’s harvest to the next.
The good news, there are now a growing number of exciting craft makers in the U.K. including makers like Solkiki, Dormouse, Rio Nuevo and more...
For chocolate lovers, connoisseurs and foodies interested in tasting the new generation of chocolate, it is still hard to find small craft chocolate in stores; this is partly due to higher prices for smaller batch chocolate bars and the need for consumer education.
Here at Chocolate Voyage, we believe the chocolate world is better when knowledge is shared.
Our mission is to tell and reveal the story of real chocolate, but also to inspire, educate and present some of the best craft chocolate being made today. We want our customers to know, for example, that chocolate made of beans from Vietnam can taste deliciously different from that of chocolate made from beans of Madagascar.
Chocolate Voyage is excited to be launching to bring you the best single-origin craft chocolate through subscription, gift boxes and our chocolate bar offering.
MONTHLY CHOCOLATE VOYAGE SUBSCRIPTION BOXES- DELIVERED TO YOU
OUR CRAFT CHOCOLATE BAR COLLECTION
We want our customers to find the chocolate they love... Join our chocolate community today and also share the word. Follow us on Facebook or Instagram.