Earlier last month we were delighted when Mikkel Friis Holm was awarded twospecial recognition awards for his bars at the World Finals of the International Chocolate Awards, here in London. Mikkel was one of the first makers weworked with, and today we welcome a number of his latest bars to ourChocolate Library.
Mikkel has been involved in the world of single origin chocolate for over adecade. Way back in 2008 he was invited by the Danish government tosupport an initiative to develop Nicaraguan plantations and cocoa. At that time Mikkel was an accomplished chef who had moved into baking, and could see ahuge opportunity to introduce fine, single origin chocolate to his chef friends.
This first trip to origin ignited a passion in Mikkel that has only grown overtime. It was also the start of what has turned into a lifelong obsession withgenetics and fermentation. On this first visit, Friis-Holm noted that whiletaking cacao from a single country could produce great bars, the quality ofthese ‘single origin’ beans would ultimately owe at least as much to thefarmers who processed the beans as it does to the skills of the makers whocraft the beans into bars. With that in mind, he set to working with farmers inNicaragua to conduct a series of experiments in fermentation. For example, he crafts a pair of bars where one uses beans that have been turned twiceduring fermentation, whilst for the other he uses beans that have been turnedthree times. This one simple change makes a remarkable difference to theflavour of the bars.
The arrival of the new bars sees yet another experiment in fermentation fromthis Great Dane. For some time now, Mikkel’s Rugoso bar has been a key partof our Chocolate Library. This week sees the arrival of it’s lesser spotted ‘Bad Fermentation’ doppelgänger. Cocoa beans change colour as they ferment, andthe point where 80% of beans in a batch have changed from purple to brownis often viewed as the ‘ideal’ point for a ‘well fermented’ batch of beans. Incontrast, the fermentation for this batch has been stopped when only 25% ofthe beans have changed colour which gives the bar an altogether livelier character than its more traditionally fermented counterpart.
After fermentation, Mikkel is perhaps best known for his love of cacao genetics. He has pioneered research into the genetics of the Nicaraguan Cacao. As part of this work, he delights in crafting single bean type bars. And todaywe present The Barba, the first of Mikkel’s Single Bean bars to arrive in ourLibrary. It is an exceptionally rare bar, with only around 100 trees growing thisheritage cacao in Nicaragua.
Finally, we present two playful new bars from Friis Holm. Mikkel is perhaps best known for his smooth, creamy chocolate bars, but today marks the arrivalof two of his bars with cocoa nibs. We were lucky enough to taste early prototypes of these bars when we visited the Friis Holm factory in Copenhagenin February. We were sworn to secrecy at the time, and we’ve been countingthe days until we could share these bars.
We caught up with Mikkel and his team when they recently visited London andin Paris. And were delighted to see his bars again win so many awards, including two special awards for his Chuno Triple Churned bars.
We hope you love these bars too!