• Jul 02

    Summer and Chocolate…

    By Cocoa Runners  ·  Uncategorized

    Summer has finally arrived! We’ve been loving the sunshine and warm weather here at Cocoa Runners, but there’s nothing worse than discovering your favourite chocolate bar has melted in the heat…

    Here are some key tips about what to do when your next subscription box or order pops through the letterbox.

    It may seem like the fridge is the safest place for your bars, but putting chocolate in the fridge will lead to chocolate bloom! Chocolate bloom has occurred when the bar has a white layer on the surface. The texture of the bar also changes and becomes brittle. This is because the sudden change in temperature causes the chocolate to crystallise to a lower-quality internal structure.

    The bottom line is that chocolate should be stored in a cool, dark place. We recommend hiding your bars away in a dark cupboard on a low shelf, as heat rises.

    Dark chocolate is less susceptible to summertime melting than milk and white, so why don’t you use these summer months to try out some new dark bars?

  • May 13
    Levy Bars

    Introducing Levy

    By Cocoa Runners  ·  Site News, Uncategorized

    From the Northern Land that brought us Moomin, we are pleased to welcome Levy, “the tiniest and most uncompromising chocolate factory in Finland”.

    Founder Tom Jakobsson, stumbled into the world of single estate chocolate by a happy accident. In 2010, while working in advertising and graphic design,  he came across a video online about Brooklyn-based chocolate makers Mast Brothers. Inspired by what he had seen, he realised you didn’t need a huge factory and multimillion pound machinery to make truly delicious chocolate. In fact quite the opposite is true – in chocolate, as in life, simplicity is often best. Levy’s chocolate contains only two ingredients: organic cocoa beans and organic cane sugar.

    In 2011 Levy was born, and its first bars released in the summer of 2012 – for as any of our makers can tell you, it takes time to create great chocolate.

    The dried and fermented beans are transported to Levy’s factory in Helsinki. Here, Tom and his team hand clean the beans in Finland before roasting. For each batch of beans, they carefully adjust roasting temperature and time according to bean type, origin and desired outcome, to ensure the beans release their full potential flavour.

    The beans are then cracked and winnowed to separate the husk and nibs (the part used in chocolate). The nibs are then ground in a granite grinder. It is at this point that Tom adds in his chocolate’s only other ingredient – organic cane sugar. The combined nibs and sugar, known as cocoa liquor is then conched for up to three days. Then to further enhance the flavour the solidified chocolate is aged for one to three months.

    The result of all this hard work? Levi’s Madagascar 71%

    Levy Chocolate Madagascar 71This marvellous Madagascan bar is quite distinctive.  Instead of the waves of berries you may expect from Madagascan cacao, we discovered something quite different.  Break off a piece and let it melt on your tongue.  An earthiness emanates, with rich liquorice notes rising through the bar.  You’re transported to an exotic faraway island with bursts of banana and then an almost tropical, fruity finish.

    Try it today >>

     

     

     

     

     

  • Apr 30
    Pralus Barre Infernale

    Ces barres, ils sont infernales…

    By Elizabeth  ·  Site News, Tastings

    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 >>

  • Apr 17

    Vintage and Beans

    By Cocoa Runners  ·  Site News, Uncategorized

    Vintage and Beans header

    One of the great pleasures of single estate chocolate is the way that different makers and farmer can coax out so many flavours from their beans. It’s the antithesis of mass produced chocolate where the aim is – to be kind – uniformity and sameness. Single estate is all capturing the essence of the bean. It’s about craft and art.

    But it has to start with the bean. From the soil conditions and climate to the fermentation, drying and roasting processes; every small difference will subtly affect a bar’s final taste. The craft makers are determined to showcase the unique flavour notes of each harvest’s beans, rather than masking the differences with artificial flavourings. These little inconsistencies are one of the great things about small batch chocolate: no two batches, even of the same bar, will ever taste exactly the same.

    To demonstrate these differences in taste we’ve curated a Vintage and Beans box. This collection lets you discover Cocoa Runners’ first two vintage bars. Both 70% bars are made exclusively from Trinitario beans produced on the Roxborough Estate, Tobago by Duane Dove. Harvested from the same single estate, fermented and dried in the same facilities – and then crafted to the same recipe in the same factory and in the same machines. Both have won awards galore. Yet they taste very different.

    A single year’s difference has a huge impact on the taste of these two bars. 2014 is smooth and rich with malted, almost biscuity notes – we detected molasses with just a small hint of tobacco. 2015 is still smooth and rich, the initial flavour is far sharper and sweeter and we think is more citrusy before giving way to dusky, earthy notes. Just like wine (and cheese), you can taste the “terroir” and you can also enjoy the subtleties of different harvests

    Having grown up on a small cocoa estate on Tobago, Duane Dove always aspired to make his own chocolate from the cocoa beans he helped grow. Duane got the idea of establishing his own cocoa estate in 2003. But the process of producing a chocolate bar from the beans he found – what he endearingly calls getting from ‘bean to belly’ – was harder than expected. Nevertheless, Duane persevered. Staggeringly, it took ‘5 years, 150 people, 1600 days and 56000 hours’ to make his very first chocolate bar.

    For Duane, quality is the very top of his priorities. After deciding from day one that he wanted to create the very best artisan chocolate, he collaborated with friend and chocolatier Francois Pralus who is not only a chocolate expert, but understood the hard work needed to produce the very best chocolate. With these two bars, we can’t help but feel Duane’s incredible hard work really is paying off.

    So in this box we’ve picked two very different bars made from the same Madagascan beans from Bertil Akesson’s plantation and his 2014 harvest. Both are amazing. Both have won awards galore. Both have distinct similarities. But they are also very, very different in the way they bring out the beans’ flavours.

    The first is Bertil’s own signature Madagascan bar, crafted in France. Bertil is one of the true heroes of the bean to bar market; over the last decade he pioneered the direct sale of his single estate beans to newly emerging chocolate makers. This bar has much more of the typical rich and fruity taste of a great Madagascan bar.

    The second, from Icelandic maker Omnom, has a balance between acidity and jammy notes that you would expect from Madagascan beans. However, we detect a slight sharpness with hints of cherry instead of the more familiar sweet red berry notes. These more unusual notes reflect the maker’s originality, also apparent in the bar’s stunning packaging. Omonom is Iceland’s first small batch artisan chocolate maker, and has one of the quirkiest chocolate making spaces we know of – a converted petrol station.

    The Vintages and Beans Collection

    Vintages and Beans

     

  • Mar 30
    Amedei Chocolate Cocoa Runners

    Ciao Amedei!

    By Elizabeth  ·  Site News

    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 >>

  • Mar 30

    Cocoa Runners on Sunday Brunch

    By Elizabeth  ·  Site News, Tastings

    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)
  • Mar 27

    Velkomin, Bienvenido, Welcome!

    By Olivia Parker  ·  Uncategorized

    As the small batch, artisan chocolate revolution sweeps the planet, a new wave of chocolate makers is emerging.  Here at Cocoa Runners, we’re always looking for new makers to add to our ever expanding chocolate library.

    We take the time to taste hundreds of bars from dozens of makers each month.  And whenever we strike gold, we always love to give our Insiders the very first look…

    Today we bring you two fantastic new additions to our chocolate library: Omnom from Iceland and Hoja Verde from Ecuador.

    Please join us in welcoming Rick, Michael, Erin and the rest of their team to the UK – and get 10% off any bar from either maker until midnight on Sunday.  Just enter the code WELCOMEMARCH at the checkout*.

  • Mar 27

    Cocoa Runners Named One Of The Best Food Subscription Services

    By Elizabeth  ·  In The Press, Site News

    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.

  • Mar 06

    Mother’s Day At Cocoa Runners

    By Elizabeth  ·  Site News

    Delight your mum this Mother’s Day with this gorgeous gift of artisan chocolate.

    As she opens the beautiful foil embossed gift sleeve, she’ll discover eight carefully crafted chocolates from five small batch chocolate makers nestled inside tissue paper. She’ll also find detailed tasting notes to let her unwrap the story behind each bar.

    This collection is a wonderful tour of the very best the world of artisan chocolate has to offer. With milk chocolate from Madagascar to dark chocolate from Vietnam, there really is something for everyone…

    IMG_7002-small

    First she’ll try a contrasting pair of bars from Marou.  Made in the same factory using a consistent process, the difference in taste between these two bars arises from the fact that the beans hail from slightly different regions of Vietnam.  While the Ba Ria is wonderfully rich, bar that just bursts with berry notes, the Lam Dong is powerful and intense.

    IMG_6981--SMALL

    Then take a bite of the Jordi’s and the TCHO.  Whilst the bar from San Francisco based TCHO is fabulously smooth, rich and almost fudgy, the nibs in the Jordi’s bar give it a definite crunch.  This combination is particularly hard to resist, and we find it almost impossible to have just one piece.

    IMG_6997---small

    Finally, she’ll discover the Original Beans Mini Bar Collection.  Piece by piece she’ll discover the full spectrum of chocolate intensity, from the melt in your mouth milk chocolate of the Esmerelda’s Milk to the citrus notes of the deliciously dark Piura Porcelana.

    INSIDE THE BOX

    • Five beautifully packaged artisan chocolate bars from around the world.
    • Bars from TCHO, Original Beans, Marou and Jordis (please note that the Marou bars are slimline bars)
    • Tasting notes to share the stories behind each bar.
    • “How to taste card”

  • Feb 27

    Grenada Chocolate Company Is Back In Stock

    By Elizabeth  ·  Site News, Tastings

    IMPORTANT NEWS: All the sensational bars from the Grenada Chocolate Company, are now back in stock!

    This chocolate has an amazing journey. Back in 1999 Mott Green established the Grenada Chocolate Company, one of the first companies to make chocolate in a chocolate growing country.

    Along with his partners, Mott worked with small cocoa farmers and as many as 50 factory employees during peak operations, all of whom earned the same salary, and helped launch the “bean to bar” movement.

    Sadly Mott passed away almost two years ago, but thanks to heroic efforts at the factory and the support of Chantal Cody (founder of Rococo), Grenada Chocolate Company bars are now once again available.

    The factory is run by solar power, and the bars are transported by means including sail boat and bicycle. And not only are they some of the most ethical chocolate bars in the world, but they are completely, and utterly, delicious.

    Celebrate with us by saving £5 on the new Grenada Chocolate Company Collection today, by using the code GRENADA* at the checkout.  Order before 6th March to take advantage of this offer.

    Read more about the inspiring story of the late Mott Green and his wonderful company here.

    The Grenada Chocolate Company Collection

    Grenada Chocolate Company Collection