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Lizzy Cuddy

Fresh From Sunday Brunch: Bars That Go The Extra Mile…

By | In The Press | No Comments

On Sunday, Spencer returned to Sunday Brunch to taste some very special bars.  Bars from Chocolat Madagascar, The Greneda Chocolate Co, Forever Cacao and Seaforth.

These makers have all gone the extra mile to craft chocolate that is good for both people and planet without compromising on taste. Not satisfied with simply relying on certification, they build direct relationships with their farmers and suppliers.

Together farmer and maker work towards a common goal: better beans and therefore better chocolate. Makers collaborate with and educate farmers who are motivated to produce higher quality beans.

We’re delighted to bring you a collection of the four bars featured on Sunday Brunch, for a very limited time only. This collection celebrates the incredible work being done by craft chocolate makers around the world.

The bars in this box were all made using cacao bought via direct trade at above Fairtrade prices. Inside are three dark chocolate bars and one milk chocolate bar from Seaforth, Forever Cacao, The Grenada Chocolate Company and Chocolat Madagascar.

Buy the box today >

Welcome, Damson

By | New Makers | No Comments

We are delighted and honoured to introduce you to Damson Chocolate, a new maker crafting bars in the heart of Islington, London.

Damson founder Dom Ramsey has an illustrious career in chocolate. Ten years ago he started his “chocablog” and since then he’s been a key force in promoting the small batch, craft chocolate movement – and, full disclosure, was a Cocoa Runners founding team member.

In addition to judging, writing and advising chocolate makers, Dom has now climbed another mountain: he’s started to craft his own chocolate. In his workshop Dom crafts delicious bars that are infused with passion and enthusiasm. From classic darks to unusual milks and from innovative inclusions to rabbit shaped bars, Damson has something for everyone.

Damson is going from strength to strength it has three Academy of Chocolate Awards (2015) already, including the ‘One To Watch’ award. And we are truly delighted to be selling Dom’s bars – including his latest Brazilian Notes Coffee Bar which we are also selling at this weekend’s Coffee Show at the Old Truman Brewery (if you are at the show, do come and say hi – we are on Stand B 18)

View the whole range here >>

Say ‘Bonjour!’ to Chapon

By | New Makers | No Comments

Patrice Chapon has lived a fascinating life. The Frenchman spent his early days in hot pursuit of a career in architecture, dreaming of constructing buildings not bars. Alas this was not to be, and he found himself at a loss as to what career to pursue.

Luckily for us, Chapon turned his attention to food, training as a chef. He attained a level of international renown that eventually led to his appointment as ice cream and sorbet maker to the Royal Court at Buckingham Palace.

As with many of our makers, his initial forays into chocolate were conducted in the dead of night, in the cellar of his family home. Chapon dedicated every spare moment he had to crafting fine chocolates, which he then sold to local Parisian confectioners.

While Chapon initially earned a reputation for crafting fine truffles and bon bons, he was not satisfied.

In 2010, Chapon set himself a new challenge. He wanted to craft his own chocolate directly from the bean. To him this meant more that just the best quality quality chocolate and a guarantee of the product’s sustainability (although both of these were important considerations).

More than anything, Chapon felt that for his creations to truly represent his own creativity and personality they had to be entirely his own.

These bars are exceptionally tricky to track down outside of his native France, so we are delighted to be able to welcome Chapon to Cocoa Runners today. Members of our Craft Chocolate Tasting Club have already enjoyed his 75% Ecuador bar, and today we’re introducing our edit of some of the finest bars of Chapon’s range.

Brazil, 70% | £7.95

Chapon Noir Origine BrazilHere Chapon has crafted a rich and indulgent dark bar. This smooth bar has a ganache-like quality and deep notes of dark cocoa. Hints of roasted coffee and cream infuse the chocolate.

The decadent flavours remind us more of a Dominican or Venezuelan bar. Wooded notes have been replaced by treacle and muscovado sugar. We also detected spiced molasses and a touch of liquorice on the finish.

Try It Now >>>

Fortunato Peru, 70% | £8.95

Chapon Black Fortunato Peru
This dark chocolate is made using rare cocoa beans from the Maranon valley of Peru. Patrice Chapon has crafted some spectacular and unexpected notes from these beans. This thin bar has a silky texture and a smooth melt that reveals striking flavours.

A lightly smoked aroma discernible throughout. As the bar develops, we discovered spicier hints and some dried fruits. These notes mixed with the smoke, creating an almost floral aroma.

Try It Now >>>

Rio Caribe Venezuela, 100% | £7.95

Chapon Rio Caribe Venezuela 100
A smooth and intense chocolate, this bar definitely pack more of a punch than fellow countryman Pralus’ 100%.

The high cocoa butter means that the flavour is initially released slowly. As you let a small piece melt, notes of raisins and dried fruits are revealed. We detected a wooded notes mixed into the thickly textured bar.

Try It Now >>>

 

Meet The Pigeonhole: Serialised, Social and Interactive.

By | Partnerships, Site News | No Comments

Charles Dickens once said “There is nothing better than a friend, unless it is a friend with chocolate.” Here at Cocoa Runners, we would like to add a small addendum to this statement: “There is nothing better than a friend, unless it is a friend with chocolate … and a good book”.

Sharing stories is key to the human experience. For generation after generation, sharing stories in their various forms has helped to foster a sense of community. For thousands of years before the conception of the printing press, the oral tradition of storytelling was one major hallmark of the human experience that transcended cultural and technological boundaries.

In time, the increased availability of printed works helped to solidify the narrative of many stories, in reality, books were expensive and comparatively inaccessible. As a consequence, publishers sought alternative ways to bring their authors’ works to the public, and alighted upon serialization in newspapers and periodicals as more accessible media.

This steady release of staves allowed readers around the world to enjoy new works from authors such as Leo Tolstoy, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Alexandre Dumas and Charles Dickens himself. It allowed them to read stories day by day, week by week or even month by month alongside their friends.

Its easy to see how the measured release of stories would lead to early versions of ‘water cooler moments’, with people eager to share their thoughts on every twist and turn of the plot as it came.

As books became more affordable, and publishers started to move away from this format. And the water cooler moments were instead owned by visual media. But in the past year or two something has changed. Streaming services started to provide whole seasons at once for us to binge watch over a weekend.

And it started to feel that in this age of instant gratification, the art of patience, and the thrill of anticipation may be lost to us forever. It seemed that bitesize story telling looked set to become a lost art. The recent growth in popularity of podcasts that tell stories week by week and month by month, has brought about a resurgence in serialisation. And we understand why.

Much like a bar of carefully crafted chocolate, a good book deserves to be savoured. While cheap chocolate bars are designed to be devoured and leave you wanting more, a just a square of a top quality bar will leave you sated. Each time you carefully wrap the bar up, knowing that it’s there to look forward to, at the same time tomorrow. By the same token, while it’s tempting to plough though a whole book over a rainy weekend, it can be just as enjoyable to savour it a chapter at a time to brighten up a dreary commute.

Here at Cocoa Runners, we believe that great books, like great chocolate bars, deserve to be shared. As voracious consumers of stories in their many forms, we often share tips as to the latest must read book. Indeed, there have been times when our admiration for a certain book as been so ardent that we rush in of a morning, desperate to share our thoughts on the latest twists and turns of a story over a square or two of a fruity Madagascan bar.

But there are times when disaster strikes. One of us has a habit of leaving their books in cafés, and another all to often breaks the code of honour and reads several chapters ahead… Which is why the discovery of The Pigeonhole was so fortuitous. This nifty app – currently one of Apple’s ‘best new apps’ – allows you to set up a group with your friends, choose a book, and read it together in bite sized instalments. We were a little concerned that we wouldn’t be able to fold corners and bookmark our favourite parts as we went along, but we needn’t have worried. The app allows you to save off your favourite parts, and actually add your notes as you go, so that fellow readers can chime in and see if they agree.

The kind people at The Pigeonhole have a special offer for Cocoa Runners subscribers this Mother’s Day. If you buy the Mother’s Day Collection, you will receive a digital book from The Pigeonhole for free.  You can use the code for any book in their library, but if you’re reading along with your mother, The Pigeonhole recommend Angela’s Readman’s Don’t Try This At Home – a collection of some of the best short stories you’ll ever read. Designed to be savoured a stave at a time, they’re the prefect accompaniment to a square or two of craft chocolate.

Visit The Pigeonhole Today >>

Introducing The 2016 Limited Edition Cocoa Runners Valentines Collection

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

Today we’re introducing a very special gift.  It’s our 2016 Valentine’s Day Collection.  Please note, that this is a highly limited edition gift – there is only a handful of Cacaosuyo’s Lakuna bars still available, and once they’re gone, this gift will no longer be available…

Valentines Blog Product

This Valentine’s Day, we invite you to treat your Valentine to a tasting flight of four distinctive bars from exceptional makers. As they unwrap the Femmes De Virunga bar from Original Beans, they’ll discover one of the world’s finest dark milk chocolate bars. This intense bar marries the power of a dark chocolate bar with the silky sweetness of a classic Swiss milk chocolate. Next they can move on to the superbly spicy dark chocolate bar from Vietnamese maker Marou. Made exclusively from cacao from the Ba Ria province of Vietnam, this bar not only tastes wonderful, it is also wrapped in a beautifully paper, inspired by its country of origin.

Finally, they’ll enjoy a pair of bars made with Peruvian cacao. Italian maker Domori is well known for its efforts to encourage the cultivation of near-extinct cacao varietals, such as the rare cacao in this bar, grown in the valley of the Apurimac river. Then they will taste the delicate Lakuna bar from Peruvian maker Cacaosuyo. Made from rare beans grown deep within the Peruvian jungle, this is a bar that impresses from the outset. As they unwrap the bar, they will be instantly greeted by sweeping floral scents. And once it starts to melt on your tongue, these quickly build, with lavender notes leaping forth. We detected just a little bergamot too, which quickly gave way to hints of honey that lingered to give a lasting sweetness. A truly exceptional bar, that provides a unique end to an ideal Valentines gift.

This gift is priced just £24.95, and can be sent directly to chocolate lovers around the world, wherever they may be.

 

Buy Now

Cyber Monday at Cocoa Runners

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

We’re bringing chocolate lovers across the world fantastic savings this Cyber Monday.

For one day only, you can take 10% off our 3 Month Gift Tasting Course and 6 Month Gift Tasting Course. Send that special chocolate lover in your life the gift of four craft chocolate bars each month. They’ll also receive tasting notes to share the stories behind the bars, and access to the members area of our site.

What’s more, you can save 10% on our 2015 Christmas Collection. Inside this unique gift you’ll discover five carefully crafted chocolate bars, made by artisans the world over. With milk chocolate from the USA, white chocolate from the Dominican Republic and dark chocolates made in Vietnam, Madagascar and Spain, this is a wonderful introduction to the world of craft chocolate.

Just enter code CYBER at checkout to claim your discount today.

Cocoa Runners Craft Chocolate Collection

Introducing the Craft Chocolate Collection

By | New Products, Site News, Uncategorized | No Comments

We are delighted to introduce the Craft Chocolate Collection.  Commissioned by Cocoa Runners, and hand crafted by artisan chocolate maker Jordi’s, this collection just goes to show that combining the finest ingredients can deliver a truly exceptional experience.

We bring you walnuts, coffee beans, cocoa beans and crystallised ginger, wrapped in rich dark chocolate.  Each piece is enrobed in a generous coating of top quality craft chocolate by hand.  This chocolate is a blend of the finest Madagascan and Colombian cacao.

The Madagascan cacao is sourced directly from world renowned cacao farmer Bertil Akesson.  Over the past decade, Akesson has worked to break the cacao monopoly that blocked the direct trade of cocoa beans from Madagascar.  He now sells his beans to chocolate makers of all sizes around the globe.  In 2015, his Madagascan cacao has earned recognition at both the International Chocolate Awards and the Academy of Chocolate Awards.  The signature flavour of Madagascan cacao is that of ripe, jammy berries.  Occasionally, Madagascan cacao also has a certain sharp, tart finish, but it is generally considered to be one of the lighter cacaos.

It is widely known that Colombia is well known for its coffee beans.  Colombian coffee often has a fruity base, with top notes of spiced cocoa.  Its caramel sweetness and nutty undertones are beloved by coffee lovers the world over.  What is perhaps less widely known is that Colombia also produces some wonderful cacao.  However this is a growing venture, with over 35,000 farmers now earning their living on cocoa production.

The Colombian cocoa in the coating for our Craft Chocolate Collection hails from the deep valleys of the southwest province of Huila.  This province was awarded the top prize in Colombia’s first National Cocao Contest.  Its cocoa boasts an exotic quality, with a mild aroma and a fruity flavour.  It has a remarkable intensity, which makes it the perfect counterpoint for the light, berry like notes of Akesson’s Madagascan cacao.

At 65% cacao content, it is a wonderfully well balanced blended craft chocolate; bold enough to stand up to the flavours of the fillings, yet not to intense so as to overpower them.  The finishing touch is a light dusting of cacao powder, added to ensure an intensely rich experience, from the very first bite.

Made exclusively for you in the Czech Republic by artisan maker Jordi’s, these delicacies are presented in an elegant chocolate brown drum.  We hope you’ll agree that they make a delicious gift that’s almost too good to share…

Chocolate Covered Cocoa Beans

An original twist on the classic chocolate coated coffee bean. Whole Madagascan cocoa beans are coated in Jordi’s signature dark chocolate blend and dusted with a fine layer of cocoa powder. An intense chocolaty experience with a delicious crunch from the fruity beans.

Chocolate Covered Ginger

Beneath the powdered surface are bite-sized chunks of crystallised ginger. The smooth and sweet dark chocolate perfectly balances the spicy intensity of the Chinese ginger. These warming treats are the perfect partner for a hot mug of cocoa tea.

Chocolate Covered Walnuts

Locally sourced Czech walnuts are coated in Jordi’s smooth dark chocolate. The earthy crunch of the walnuts acts as a perfect foil to the sweetness of the chocolate. As the walnuts crumble, they mix with the rich chocolate in an almost irresistible combination.

Chocolate Covered Coffee Beans

This classic combination is raised to new heights by the finest quality ingredients. Brazilian and Colombian coffee beans have been roasted by a local Czech roasters according to Jordi’s own recipe. The mellow dark chocolate gives way to an intense coffee flavour.

Pralus Barre Infernale

Ces barres, ils sont infernales…

By | Site News, Tastings | No Comments

This week we say ‘Bonjour’ to three fantastic new arrivals from across the channel…

While a special part of our hearts will always belong to single estate chocolate bars, we have a confession to make.  We’re always intrigued by new and unusual ways to enjoy artisan chocolate. From Original Beans’ Chocolate Buttons to Favarger’s Hot Chocolate,  Friis-Holm and Svenningson’s Co-Creation to our own After Dinner Rounds, there are so many wonderful ways to enjoy the best chocolate in the world.  And moreover, so many of these lend themselves to sharing the world’s finest chocolates with friends.

Which is why we were particularly thrilled to discover Barre Infernale from Pralus.  Something of a cult classic in the chocolate world, these bars have been one of Pralus’ best kept secrets for some time.   Weighing in at a mighty 160g each, they look more like a gold bar than a traditional chocolate bar.  And once you unwrap the wrapper, you’ll discover so many layers of texture and flavour.

Pralus-Barre-Infernale-Grid

Each bar has a crisp artisan chocolate shell made from Pralus’ chocolate.  While the brave (and hungry!) may take a bite, we recommend slicing the bar for a striking surprise.  As beneath their artisan chocolate surface, there lies an unexpected treat.

At the heart of each bar is a rich praline centre with whole hazelnuts set within.  As one of France’s oldest chocolate makers, Pralus has a strong tradition in making both chocolate bars and filled chocolates.  For us, Barre Infernale unites the best of both worlds.  So let’s meet the Barres…

Barre Infernale Lait

 Barre-Infernale-Lait

Creamy, rich and sweet; this is the Barre Infernale for those who like their chocolate a little sweeter.  Beneath the 45% shell, lies a nutty surprise.  The nuts that lie within the smooth praline centre add a fantastic crunch to this otherwise silky bar.  This has proved to be a firm favourite for many within the Cocoa Runners team – we find it almost impossible to have just one slice of this incredibly tempting bar from Pralus.  

Try it today >>

 

 Barre Infernale Noir

Barre-Infernale-Noire

Barre Infernale Noire is anything but a typical dark chocolate bar.  Barre Infernale Noire has the distinctive fruitiness of Madagascan cacao, with a rich intensity.  Beneath the smooth surface of the dark chocolate outer lies the praline centre that gives this bar its decidedly nutty finish.  The team found this to be the most intense of the Barre Infernales.  It has a flavour that lasts and lasts and most of us enjoyed just the one slice.  We think that a piece of this Bar Infernale Noire would be perfect with a glass of red wine, or perhaps after a hearty steak supper.

 Try it today >>

 

Barre Infernale Orange

Barre-Infernale-Orange

Smooth, intense, fruity, nutty; this bar has it all.  As you cut through the dark outer shell you’ll be greeted by a flash of orange.  But don’t let the bright colours deceive you – this praline centre is an intriguing combination of citrus fruit and nuts that we find very hard to resist.  The Barre Infernale Orange is as striking as it is delicious and would make for a fabulous conversation piece after a meal.  Weighing in at 160g, it’s certain a bar that’s crying out to be shared with good friends.

Try it today >>

Amedei Chocolate Cocoa Runners

Ciao Amedei!

By | Site News | No Comments

Since the launch of Cocoa Runners, we have received requests that we stock one particular ever-so-popular Italian maker.  With super sleek packaging and incredibly smooth chocolate to boot, it’s easy to see why Amedei is such a popular maker both in its native Italy and around the world.

And now we’re thrilled to welcome this iconic maker to Cocoa Runners.  The arrival of Amedei to the Cocoa Runners library marks not one, but two firsts for Cocoa Runners.  As well as being the first Italian maker to join the library, Amedei is our first maker in the chocolate library to be headed by a woman.

Tuscan maker Amadei embodies true excellence in the world of chocolate.  After extensive training in France, Belgium and Germany, Cecilia Tessieri returned to Italy to found Amadei, a chocolate maker with a singular focus on quality.  In line with this founding vision, Amadei seeks out the finest beans available from around the world.  It then brings them to Italy where they are transformed into the most delicious bars in the heart of the rolling Tuscan landscape.

If you like your chocolate smooth and silky, you should definitely check out Amedei’s bars.  Its chocolate is incredibly smooth and rich.  And with bars across the full spectrum of intensity from sweet milky bars to astringent dark chocolate, there really is something for every palette.

Check out Amedei’s bars today >>

Cocoa Runners on Sunday Brunch

By | Site News, Tastings | No Comments

We were delighted to accept Channel 4’s invitation to spread the word about small batch, single estate chocolate on Sunday Brunch this weekend.  Spencer appeared on the show to talk about four fantastic bars from the world of small batch, artisan chocolate.  He took Simon and Tim on a tasting journey, taking in bars made in USA, UK, Iceland and Ecuador with cacao from around the globe.

Four Fantastic Bars

We shared four fantastic bars with Tim and Simon on Sunday Brunch.  First off was Omnom’s Papua New Guinea bar.  Made by this quirky company in a disused petrol station on the outskirts of Reykjavik, this bar has much of the smokiness that you’d expect to find in a Papua New Guinean cacao.  This is counterbalanced by a lingering sweetness that reminds us of a super sticky barbecue sauce.

Next up was a pair of bars made from Bertil Akesson’s fruity Madagascan beans.  First, the bar from Mast Brothers.  Originally making chocolate in Madagascar, this innovative new maker is now crafting bars in Shoreditch.  With the signature coarse texture of Mast’s bars, this bar is sure to please those who love their chocolate to have a little crunch.  In contrast, Pump Street’s 72% Madagascan bar is incredible smooth and creamy in strict contrast to it’s distinctive tang.  Finally, they tasted a raw chocolate from Pacari.  This maker ensures that the temperature of the beans never rises above 42 degrees during the chocolate making process.  The resulting chocolate is wonderfully grassy and packed full of antioxidants.

Try Them Today

Great news!  We’ve brought these four bars together into a gift collection that you can buy for just £24.95.

Missed The Show?

You can watch it right here until 30th April: Watch Now (It’s about 61min in.  Please note: Flash Player required)
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