There is something about Wimbledon that brings a smile to everyone’s face. Maybe it’s the rollercoaster of emotions watching our favourite players on court, the quintessentially British traditions or the chance the sun might just shine long enough for a thrilling five-setter. We think it’s probably all three.
This week, as Cocoa Runners HQ cheers on Andy Murray (first match, straight sets, phew!) we take a look at the perfect bars to add to your Wimbledon watching – whether you’re on Murray Mount or on the sofa at home. Chocolate and strawberries together is not an astonishingly new concept, but picking specific bars to complement your fruit is something we’ve really enjoyed exploring as a team. We’ve got something for every palate – even the white chocolate fans out there. Let’s celebrate the perfect pairing of chocolate and tennis at Wimbledon 2014!
Lizzie, our newest member of the Cocoa Runners team has recently enjoyed discovering a whole new world of fine milk chocolates. She particularly relished in discovering that one of her favourite bars, a Michel Cluizel bar from Papua New Guinea, is a great match for berries this summer. Settle down in front of the television this evening and allow the sweet, creamy and fruity flavour soothe you through those tense match point moments.
Our chocolate tasters have even detected notes of strawberry and blackberry in the bar– so you know it will be perfect, especially as it’s won awards around the world, including a gold medal from The International Chocolate Awards. If this bar was a Wimbledon final, it would be that Federer vs Nadal final. (2008, in case you’re wondering). Read more about this bar today >>
Spencer prefers a slightly less creamy chocolate bar. During our experiment we discovered that berries and citrus flavours are very happy bedfellows, so we begun to delve into some of our zingier bars in the Library. It was a tough contest but we came to the decision that Fresco’s 222 Papua New Guinea should be placed as top seed. Featuring a light roast and no conch >> this is a truly special bar that evokes so much flavour from only three ingredients such is the quality of the cacao.
At first, you are quietly seduced by the aroma of raw beans, as if fresh from the pod. That’s wonderful enough. But when paired with strawberries, the bar comes alive bursting with the taste of summer; oranges, lemons, pineapples, plums and just a hint of sweet, fresh tobacco to take the edge off. It’s the Sampras vs Agassi of chocolate pairings – so exciting! Try this tempting bar today >>
Gen is a Wimbledon veteran, so she knows that any true fan will be accompanying their strawberries and cream with a glass of champagne this fortnight! This added dimension initially proved tricky to find a perfect match for, but we cracked it by adding a hint of something exotic – Menakao’s Combava & Pink Pepper.
With an added floral dimension carrying notes of rose and lemongrass, it is a quirky choice that will dazzle and delight. Far from being overwhelmed by the fizz of the champagne, it powers through – the Maria Sharapova of chocolate bars. Sophisticated and hard hitting. Learn all about this bar >>
If you fancy something slightly different to complement those summer berries, try a white chocolate – a controversial choice, but one Simon in the office insisted we try. Because Fruition’s Toasted White is reminiscent of Dulce de Leche and brown butter it really caught our imagination and soon we were all sneaking contraband bars home to melt down and use as an alternative to cream. A modern twist on the most traditional of tennis tournaments. Try this deliciously different bar now >>
Of course, we couldn’t let a Wimbledon round up go by without looking at the Best of British, the man upon which our Wimbledon hopes rest; Andy Murray. To do justice to his talent, we couldn’t pick a bar that was anything less than champion-worthy. After much consideration, the team decided that Andy’s style of play would be perfectly balanced with the equally intense and just a little bit fruity Peruvian 80% from the great Scots at The Chocolate Tree.
With Andy’s eyes firmly set on retaining his title this year, we think this bar could also be the ideal pick – just in case he forgets to thank his mum again this year! (Don’t worry Andy – you could always buy her our Thank You Gift box ).
Let’s celebrate the start of summer! We’ve had a busy week pairing chocolate with drinks for your favourite summer events (all in the name of research of course!)
This week sees Ascot take it’s position on the UK’s sporting stage. So whilst clad in your top hats and finest dresses, you could be forgiven for drinking the inevitable – a cool glass of Pimms! This fruity drink is the epitome of classic British summertime, so we thought it only fair to match this legendary beverage with a multi award winning, smooth and glossy English bar. To compliment Pimms’ sparkle, we recommend trying Duffy’s fruity Indio Rojo. Made in Cleethorpes, this chocolate was awarded the “Golden Bean” award for the best bean to bar dark chocolate in the world at the 2011 Academy of Chocolate Awards.
Of course, we couldn’t miss out the World Cup! Settle down this evening with some Cachaças – this Brazilian spirit has a very earthy, slightly grassy taste, so Chief Chocolate Officer Dom thinks it will be evenly matched by Rózsavölgyi Csokoládé’s Rio Caribe Superior 76%. This Hungarian bar has an unusually intense, botanical flavour note, making it our odds on favourite to take on the mighty Cachaças.
For our foodie fans, we’ve got some equally robust suggestions. It seems everyone is talking about beer and food pairings recently, so this weekend, why not take a trip to Hackney’s Summer Brew Fest? Here, we think you could best accompany your craft beer with a few squares of San Francisco’s Dandelion Mantuano Venezuela. Rather than overpower your brew, this bar will compliment your drink with strong flavours of hops and barley. The added hint of spice will be a welcome addition for cutting through your microbrewery samples as you sip from day to night.
However, if you’re planning on relaxing at home with a barbecue over the next few days, we’ve got just the bar for you too. Get everyone involved with Mast Brothers’ Papua New Guinea bar – its smokey notes from clever roasting are phenomenal when paired with summery charcoal flavours. 100% love at first bite guaranteed.
Last night the Cocoa Runners team were invited to do a private chocolate tasting at Reed Smith, a large law firm with offices around the world. That’s exciting in itself, but their London office is on the 33rd floor of one of London’s tallest buildings and has these spectacular views of the city.
We’ve done many chocolate tastings, but this was certainly one of our most unusual venues!
We think it’s great when people want to learn about real chocolate, and Reed Smith wanted the big picture. Around 50 staff stayed after work to spend a couple of hours finding out all about the bean-to-bar chocolate movement and tasting eight different bars that we’d specially chosen to illustrate the different ways in which modern chocolate makers work.
As well as tasting the chocolate, our new friends got to see how chocolate is made from the bean and found out about chocolate’s complex history.
We love doing these tasting, and always get a kick out of sharing great chocolate, as well as hearing about people’s favourites.
Do you love great chocolate? Would you like Cocoa Runners to come and do a tasting at your office? Why not get in touch to see how we can work together!