Tosier chocolate, the creation of Deanna Tilston, offers both an education for your taste buds and an inside look at chocolate history.
Deanna currently sources her beans from four different estates and co-operatives: in Belize, Haiti, Bolivia and Colombia. Tosier focuses on crafting classic 70% bars in delicate and thin moulds. These moulds, combined with careful tempering, result in a smooth and fairly rapid melt that reveals distinct upfront tastes that give way to a cornucopia of different flavours. For example, the Bolivia starts with caramel notes before revealing honey and floral tones. By contrast, the Haiti, from the PISA Co-op, has a deeper cocoa flavour and delicately draws together bright fruity and soft floral notes. We strongly advise trying a couple of her bars in parallel so you can taste the difference.
Deanna has called her company Tosier after Thomas Tosier, the personal chocolate maker to George I and II. Thomas Tosier was so revered by both kings that he was granted a bedroom and a dedicated “Chocolate Room” at Hampton Court Palace to provide the King, upon awakening, “post haste” with his morning cup of chocolate.
Today we think of chocolate as something we eat, but for most of history we’ve drunk chocolate (the creation of the first chocolate bar for eating is traditionally credited to Fry’s in 1837). With cocoa crossing back with Columbus on his third voyage, by the end of the sixteenth century chocolate had become the go-to drink of Spanish and Italian courts.
Fifty years later, alongside the advent of coffee houses, a number of chocolate clubs and houses opened in London. In parallel, the British Hanoverian kings, starting with George I, developed a taste for chocolate. To satisfy his cravings, George I selected Thomas Tosier as “Personal Chocolate Maker to the King”, elevating him from the small chocolate house Tosier had established in Greenwich.
Thomas’ wife, Grace, continued to run and grow the Greenwich business with huge success even after Thomas died. By 1721 she expanded the chocolate drinking house to include a “Great Room” for dancing and her fame was such that her portrait was painted by the court painter (the work by Bartholomew Dandridge is now on display in the National Portrait Gallery).
We are delighted that Deanna is enjoying a similar success with her business, moving to new facilities (sadly not yet with a dancing room) while creating more tantalising tastes.