We are officially now in the run up to Christmas. It’s less than three weeks until the Royal Mail’s last delivery for the UK (and see HERE for other parts of the world).
And it’s less than a week until our next Canopy Market. We’ve tastings and talks covering seasonal flower arrangements, craft chocolate pairings with coffee, whisky and wine (not all together!), panettone masterclasses and Happy Endings‘ award winning ice creams. Plus Duffy’s, Bare Bones, Pump Street and ourselves will have stands full of great craft chocolate gifts for Christmas. Please do come and explore, and see HERE.
Those of you who follow our Instagram account will also know that we’ve kicked off our own ’12 days of Christmas’ with competitions, prizes and special offers every day.
And for this week, we’re also moving into seasonal gear with a bunch of bars crafted with seasonal ingredients to create amazing flavour combinations.
Craft chocolate is all about celebrating and revealing flavour. Just as in fine wine and speciality coffee, craft chocolate makers pride themselves on discovering the finest single estate beans. And for the most part they craft these beans into single estate bars. Makers concentrate on sourcing these heirloom beans and then roasting, conching and crafting these with minimal added ingredients.
Added flavourings, fruits, nuts, additives etc. are eschewed and left to mass produced bars and confectionery. Craft chocolate makers are often sceptical about bars with too many additives, flavourings and ingredients for good reason; all too often additives and flavourings are included to hide the fact that in mass produced chocolate the cocoa just isn’t that good. And sugar, salt and fat are used to make you scoff via the bliss point. Come to one of our ‘taste and flavour deep dive’ virtual tastings to find out more, and discover why some craft chocolate at the end of a meal really does aid digestion (yes, there really is such a thing as the second stomach).
However, at Christmas some delightful experimentation is on offer from craft chocolate makers. They experiment with seasonal spices to bring out the flavours of the season. They aim to enhance and highlight the natural flavours and tastes of the cocoa beans. So this year we’ve sloe gin and mince pie infused truffles from Chocolarder (along with a white chocolate bar flavoured with roast chestnuts, and Chocolarder’s classic gold, frankincense and myrrh bar). Then from Taza we’ve a seasonal gingerbread special bar and also an eggnog treat. Omnom have produced a trio of winter favourites in some award winning packaging. And Pump Street have not only their Father Christmas milk chocolate figure but also inclusion bars featuring both panettone and nutmeg (and they’ll be exploring how to bake panettone at our tastings and talks at Canopy Market). See below for some highlights of other events.
In addition, we’ve Cocoa Runners’ ‘craft chocolate collections‘ made with Jordi’s chocolate, coating ginger, coffee beans and cocoa beans.
And given that the weather is now definitely ‘wintery’ (the Hampstead Ponds are now below 5 degrees, so it’s ‘ice mile’ territory), why not try some drinking chocolate from Original Beans and Menakao? And do read up our guide on how to make like a pro.
We’re lucky to have sourced a small number of these Christmas treats, and we don’t expect them to last long (Omnom’s bars are already sold out on their site!). So we’d recommend purchasing these bars fast if you are interested in trying them.
We hope you enjoy!
P.S. One further Christmas treat and bit of upfront planning: The media has been awash with stories of there not being enough turkeys this Christmas. So I’d STRONGLY recommend that you consider placing an order with our favourite poultry provider, Fosse Meadows, as soon as possible! I’ve been buying their turkeys (and chickens, eggs and more) for over a decade, and they are AMAZING. And they’ve offered 10% to all Cocoa Runner’s Insiders with the code COCOA. See HERE for more.