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New Craft Chocolate As Seen On Channel 4’s Sunday Brunch

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On Sunday 10 October, Cocoa Runners co-founder Spencer returned to Channel 4’s Sunday Brunch to share four of the newest & most exciting craft chocolate bars in the Cocoa Runners Library. Click here to buy the full collection or read on to explore the individual craft chocolate bars for yourself.

 

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Original Beans – Cru Udzungwa 70%

Original Beans Cru Udzungwa

First is a brand new addition from Original Beans. Its Cru Udzungwa dark chocolate has been crafted using beans from the edge of Udzungwa Mountain National Park in Tanzania. Locals grow the cacao trees in special village gardens. This gives locals a good source of income and thus supports local communities and their stewardship of Udzungwa National Park which is home to a number of endangered species, including African elephants.

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Georgia Ramon – Philippinen 80%

Philipinen Black 80

 

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Next is a Georgia Ramon’s Philippinen 80% bar. Cocoa Runner’s first German maker, the company was founded by Georg Bernadini and his partner Ramona Gustman. Georg has worked in the chocolate industry for over 20 years and has now put his years of knowledge and experience working for others to good use. The beans are sourced directly from the Puentespina family in the Philippines.

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Luisa Abram – 70%

Luisa Abram 70%

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Then travel to the Amazon with Luisa Abram’s 70% dark chocolate bar. Luisa and her father Andre travel up through the Brazilian rainforests and up the Amazon river looking for rare cocoa beans and long-forgotten or undiscovered varietals. They buy their beans directly from the local communities who harvest, ferment and dry the beans. These are then shipped down-river to Luisa’s workshop where she transforms the precious cacao into incredible chocolate!

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Chocolat Bonnat – Javan Dark Milk

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Finally we have a decadent Chocolat Bonnat Javan Dark Milk from one France’s oldest chocolate makers. Chocolat Bonnat has been crafting chocolate in Voiron, France for over 130 years. The company is currently headed by the sixth generation of Bonnat chocolatiers Stephane Bonnat. Javan cacao has a particularly fine flavour and the island’s cocoa trees are believed to trace their roots all the way back to Venezuela.

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Click here to buy the full collection or discover the individual craft chocolate bars for yourself.

AoC 2016 winners

Academy of Chocolate Awards 2016

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Since its foundation a decade ago, the Academy of Chocolate has been at the forefront of the single estate artisan chocolate revolution. From day one, its founders have been committed to recognising high quality, ethically sourced chocolate from around the world.

Now taking place for the eighth time, the Academy of Chocolate Awards is one of the most highly anticipated events of the chocolate year. The results were released in May 2016 to much fanfare, and we were delighted to see many of our makers receiving much deserved recognition.

Among the dark chocolate bars that were recognised were Akesson’s Madagascar 75% Criollo and Bali 75% Trinitario Cacao bars.  Amedeii’s Porcelana bar was awardsd a Gold, as were Dick Taylor’s 72% Madagascar Sambirano bar and Duffy’s Guatemala Rio Dulce 70% bar.

Askinosie’s 72% Mababu, Tanzania Dark Chocolate Bar was also recognised by the judges, as were Duffy’s Honduras Indio Rojo 72% and Marou’s Treasure Island bar.  We were so pleased to see that relative newcomer Metiisto’s Madagascar 72% and Nicaragua 70% bars were both awarded a Silver medal in the dark chocolate class.

Elsewhere, Dick Taylor’s 76% Ecuador, Camino Verde and 72% Belize, Toledo dark chocolate bars were recognised, as was Lucocoa’s 70% Dominican Republic and  Zotter’s Labooko Colombia 75% bars.

At the Academy, dark chocolate bars with an intensity of 80% and above are quite literally in a league of their own.  Amongst those awarded gold were Akesson’s for its 100% Madagascan bar, and Pump St Bakery for its 85% Ecuadorian bar.  Elsewhere, Chocolat Madagascar’s Organic 100% and Hoja Verde’s 80% Esmeraldas were also recognised.

In the milk chocolate class, several dark milk chocolate bars took home awards. It has been fascinating to see the rise of this particularly intense type of milk chocolate – normally over 50% cocoa content – where the chocolate takes its sweetness more from the milk powder included than from added sugar.  Duffy’s Honduras Mayan Milk 61% was awarded a Silver award, as were Metiisto’s Madagascar dark milk 56% and Honduras dark milk 60% bars.

Although relatively few white chocolate bars received awards, we were so happy for Akesson’s and Chocolat Madagascar, both of which picked up awards for their Madagascan White Chocolate bars.

The Flavoured Chocolate categories judge both flavoured bars, and those which use cocoa nibs as an inclusion.  Akesson’s bars with Pink, Wild and Black peppers were all recognised in this category.  We were pleased to see that Chocolat Madagascar’s Dark Chocolate Bar with Cocoa Nibs was a winner here, and we were delighted for Dom that his Damson Cafe Brasil bar – made in partnership with NOTES coffee – was also recognised.

To honour some of the outstanding makers in the world of chocolate at the moment, we’ve brought together a collection of four delicious and diverse chocolate bars, each of which was a winner at the 2016 ceremony.  You can buy this collection for a very limited time only here…

Sunday Brunch April 2016

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

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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 >

Craft Chocolate With Inclusions On Sunday Brunch

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If you were up bright & early this Valentine’s Day you might have seen Cocoa Runners co-founder, Spencer making his third appearance on Channel 4’s Sunday Brunch. This time he was talking to Simon, Tim about craft chocolate bars with inclusions.

As Spencer explained on the show, when we talk about “craft chocolate bars with inclusions” we don’t mean adding a bunch of whacky flavourings to create sickly chocolate confectionery. This is not about covering up cheap chocolate with artificial flavours.

This about using great singe estate, craft chocolate and adding to this carefully chosen ingredients that bring out nuances and flavours that aren’t otherwise apparent. Think strawberry and balsamic vinegar, tomatoes, salt and olive oil, maple syrup and bacon, espresso and vanilla ice cream (affogato), rum and raisin, apples and cheese or gin and tonic. Think 1+1 to make 5.

For those of you who missed it or want to learn more, here we give our detailed notes on why each inclusions bar works. If you want to try the bars for yourself, you can buy the collection by clicking here.

Menakao – Sea Salt & Cocoa Nibs 63%

Menakao - 63% With Nibs & SaltThe chocolate is full of the typical berry notes of Madagascan cacao. The added cocoa nibs (what the chocolate is made from) give a powerful crunch, bursting with fruit and tannins.

The hint of sea salt serves a double purpose. It opens the palate, helping you to get the full flavour of the berries and red fruits. At the same time, the salt cuts through some of the nibs’ intensity, revealing their roasted fruit and raisin notes while reducing the bitterness.

The sea salt or ‘Fleur de Sel’ comes from the salt marshes of Morondava in South West Madagascar. It forms naturally on the surface of the clay basins as sea water evaporates. You don’t collect the Fleur de Sel, you pick it in small quantities. Naturally very pure it has a delicate taste, which makes it perfect for bringing out the cacao’s fruit without overpowering the chocolate.

Rózsavölgyi Csokoládé – Venezuelan Dark Chocolate with Cardamom 77%

Rózsavölgyi Csokoládé Dark with CardamomVenezuelan cocoa has a naturally creamy and rich profile, with a delicate aromatic edge. Their flavour is best described as ‘chocolate pudding’ but with just a hint of subtle spice. The bar’s deep chocolatey notes provides a perfect base for the Cardamom. The butteryness also helps to absorb some of the spice so the flavour doesn’t overwhelm the palate.

At the same time, the Venezuelan beans’ own scented aroma mixes with the cardamom, subtly altering the spice’s flavour. The spice has been so well conched in that the bar’s texture is incredibly smooth without any graininess.

Because of the strong and vibrant flavours of many beans (e.g. Peru & Madagascar) it can often be hard to find beans that will carry the strong flavours of the inclusions well. Rózsavölgyi Csokoládé have achieved just the right balance.

Zotter – ‘For Those In Love’ Ecuador Dark 60% and Raspberry White Chocolate

Zotter For Those in LoveA delicious double treat. The first bar is a single origin dark from Ecuador. Smooth with a quick melt, the bar has a hint of the vegetal flavours typical of Ecuador with more sweetness – think pumpkins rather than asparagus.

The second bar is a white chocolate. It’s still made from cocoa beans but just from the cocoa butter (the natural fat in the beans). The cocoa mass (the chocolatey part of the bean) has been removed and replaced with finely ground raspberry powder.

The result is intensely fruity and sweet with a deep pink colour. The bar’s flavours, mostly come from the tart and vibrant berries. It’s a great example of how chocolate can be used as a base to create incredible confections.

Akesson’s – Brazil Fazenda Sempre Firme Plantation with Coffee Nibs 75%

Akessons Brazil Dark Chocolate With Coffee NIbsA classic combination – this bar came about because Bertil so enjoyed having a piece of his chocolate with his morning coffee. The chocolate has light tropical fruit aroma but is dominated by stronger roasted flavours, with woody notes and a hint of tobacco on the finish.

The bourbon Arabica coffee beans have a light roast to bring out the subtleties of the bean. The coffee’s roasted flavours blend with those of the chocolate. A whisper of fruit in the coffee provides an intriguing undernote for the stronger flavours. The crunchy coffee bean pieces release bursts of flavour into the smooth chocolate.

Made in France from Brazilian cocoa & coffee beans. In April 2009, Bertil Åkesson and his Brazilian partner Dr. Angelo Calmon de Sa, purchased the historic Fazenda Sempre Firme in Bahia, Brazil. The coffee is from a neighbouring plantation in Bahia Brazil, so both ingredients were grown under similar conditions (soil, climate etc.)

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Choc-Box

Cocoa Runners Named One Of The Best Food Subscription Services

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Wow!  Thank you to the Telegraph for naming us one of the best food subscription services!  It’s so great to find ourselves amongst such esteemed company as Turntable Kitchen and Pact Coffee.  Check out the full run down here.

Join The Club

Our subscription service combines top quality chocolate with excellent value.  For the first three months you embark on a chocolate masterclass, tasting four fantastic bars each month and learning about the impact the origins and intensity of cacao have on the final flavour of a bar.  You’ll also get to grips with the role played by inclusions and flavouring.

Once you’ve completed this course, you’ll receive a curated selection of four incredible bars each month.  You’ll be amongst the first to try the newest makers to join our library, and the latest bars from more established Cocoa Runners brands.  Each month’s membership is always less than the individual price of the bars, so you always get to try the best bars for less.

What’s more, you’ll be one of the first to hear our latest news, offers and more via our Cocoa Runners Insiders emails.

For the latest chocolate news, offers and more