The chocolates that we use
We use a range of couvetures for the chocolates:
For the moulded filled chocolates (seasonal ganache filled and sea salt caramel filled) we use Barry Callebaut Fairtrade certified white, milk and dark chocolates. These are consistent good quality chocolates, that perform in the same way every time we use them, so work well as the ‘canvas’ for our ever-changing seasonal flavours. The 70% dark couveture has the right viscosity to enable us to make the thin shells that we like.
Single origin chocolates offer more character and flavour, and use better quality beans that attract a better price for the farmer. We use these for our flavoured bars, shards and thins and draw on a range of couvetures from different makers, always looking out for sources of chocolate that have well-documented and regulated supply chains, as well as shorter supply chains.
Chocolat Madagascar (www.chocolatmadagascar.com)
This is a long established family Madagascan company that buys beans direct from farmers, and converts them into delicious chocolate in Madagascar itself. In this way, the added value of conversion to chocolate happens in-country and the supply chain is shortened. They refer to this as RaiseTrade (http://www.raisetrade.com ), and will grow I imagine as a quality chocolate option.
El Rey, Venezuela (www.chocolates-elrey.com)
I have been using their Icoa white chocolate whenever I can – I love it, but it is not always available through UK wholesalers. This is another chocolate that has been converted in the country of origin.
Luker, Colombia (www.lukeringredients.com/en/productos/luker-cacao)
When we can’t get hold of El Rey we turn to Luker. Luker work directly with farmers in Columbia, supporting them to produce the quality of cocoa that they require for their chocolates.
Red Star Chocolates, Lincolnshire (www.duffyschocolate.co.uk )
Duffy Sheardown at Red Star Chocolates in Lincolnshire, produces fabulous tasting chocolate; we use his Panama couveture in the Espresso chocolates. He is involved in the Direct Cacao (www.directcacao.org) movement, using small batches of high quality cocoa beans sourced direct from the cocoa farmers themselves.
Original beans (www.originalbeans.com)
A wonderful range of chocolates that are made from beans sourced directly from farmers in different parts of the world. I particularly love their Democratic Republic of Congo couvetures, where they are working with farmers around the Virunga National Park; in addition they highlight the significant role women farmers play in the cocoa farming story, with their very lovely ‘Femmes du Virunga’ milk chocolate. Their focus is on conservation and sustainable livelihoods.