The Mast brothers, Rick and Michael, are pioneers of the American craft chocolate movement, and have chosen Shoreditch, London to open their first ever factory and store outside of their Brooklyn home.
Their new site on Redchurch Street is not only somewhere you can get a glimpse into how single estate, small batch chocolate is roasted, winnowed, conched, aged and tempered. Even better you can toast your tour with a chocolate beer, or a sensational bar. We really could not be more excited.
Please join us in welcoming Rick, Michael, Erin and the rest of their team to the UK by trying our Mast Brothers Collection today.
Discover some of the Mast Brothers finest dark chocolate bars in this gift collection.
We have the sensationally moreish Sea Salt bar, the perfectly crunchy and intense Nibs, the fruity Belize, and finally the infamous smokey Papua New Guinea.
The equally gorgeous packaging of these bars make them an effortlessly perfect gift.
There’s nothing quite like being in love. Having someone who knows you and your taste inside and out. Someone who books tickets to see that film you’d been wanting to see and who knows just which section of the Sunday paper when it lands on the doormat. Somebody who knows exactly how you take your tea and who always lets you have the last square of your favourite chocolate bar.
We’d all like to think we know that special someone very well, and Valentine’s Day is the perfect occasion to show them just how well you know their tastes. But when it comes to choosing a personal gift that shows exactly how attuned to their tastes you are, so many presents are sadly lacking.
Which is where our Taste Test comes in. Answer our quick questions with your Valentine’s tastes in mind and we’ll find you a gift that shows how well you know them.
Think about your loved one. Do they love or loathe asparagus? Do they take their orange juice smooth or with juicy bits? Are they sweet on strawberries or do raspberries leave them in a sour mood? It takes less than five minutes and once you’ve taken the test, we’ll share four bars that we think they’ll absolutely love. What’s more, if you order them today, you’ll receive 10% off the bars we recommend.
Here at Cocoa Runners, we know there is only one thing better than curling up with a good book, and that’s curling up with a good book and an amazing bar of chocolate. So we’ve joined forces with Pushkin Press to create the perfect series of gifts for book-worms and chocolate-lovers alike.
The Pushkin Collection is a beautifully designed, wide-ranging series of 20th century classics from around the world. The collection invites English-speaking readers to discover – or rediscover – authors from across the globe. The elegant series style, designed by David Pearson and Clare Skeats, is a beautifully crafted arrangement of the modern and traditional.
Each pairing has been lovingly crafted – with a book to be enjoyed forever, and one bar (or two!) that might not last quite as long…
…tells the tale of a taxi-driver in 1930’s Vienna, who impersonates a murder-victim with sinister consequences.
Zotter ‘For Those in Love’ is a selection of two smaller bars. One 60% single origin dark chocolate from Ecuador, which is slightly sweet with an intense chocolatey flavour. The second is made with a finely ground dried raspberry powder. The result is something deliciously fruity, sweet and beautifully deep pink in colour. Two entirely different, but beautifully complimentary bars.
…is a selection of Antal Szerb’s stories and novellas. Set first in a quasi-mythical past and then in the London and Paris of the Thirties, they provide an exhilarating guide to the writer’s development, from precocious beginnings to a masterful maturity.
In these unforgettable tales, Szerb displays his irrepressible love of life and the gentle irony that became his hallmark.
This book comes with two full-sized Rózsavölgyi Csokoládé ‘Kardamom 77%’ – a beautiful chocolate that looks almost as good as it tastes. Made with organic cane sugar and added cardamom for a wonderfully deep and gently spicy flavour.
…by Machi Tawara took the world by storm when it was first released, and has become something of a cult classic. It is written in Tanka poetry, and although light and accessible, Machi received multiple awards and international recognition for her writing. It is a book about the small events in life, and is as perfectly humorous as it is wonderfully touching.
This book comes with a full-sized bar of Jordi’s ‘Matcha’ – an unusual white chocolate made with Japanese green Matcha tea powder.
…by Paul Fournel takes a wry, affectionate look at the world of publishing, books and authors, and is a funny, moving story about the passing of the old and the excitement of the new.
This book comes with a full-sized Pralus ‘Melissa Milk 45%’ – A bar with a wonderful creamy and chocolatey flavour, and hints of banana, caramel and honey.
Here at Cocoa Runners we’re getting in the mood for Valentine’s Day. And we’re delighted to share some gift inspiration to suit every budget.
Valentine’s Day wouldn’t be the same without a selection of fantastic chocolate to share with the one you love.
Each bar in these collections has been hand picked for its quality, so you can be sure that this Valentine’s Day, that special someone will simply melt…
Our most decadent collection ever. Inside this beautiful woven hamper you’ll find the very best of the world of small batch single estate chocolate.
With bars from makers such as Mast Brothers and Fruition, crunchy chocolate covered cocoa beans from Czech maker Jordis as well as chocolate tea from Duffys and hot chocolate from Faverger, this sumptuous gift has it all.
Only available in the UK and Europe.
For our 2015 Cocoa Runners collection, we’ve chosen five great bars from Africa, Asia and South America.
We’ve created a romantic voyage of discovery, from the smooth milk bar of Menakao to the sensual deep notes of Marou via a hint of exotic heat from Akesson’s pink pepper infused bar.
Send your loved one a taste of some of the world’s finest chocolate with this Cocoa Runners Taster Box.
Small batch, single origin chocolate bars from Original Beans, Jordi’s and Menakao make this an ideal sweet treat for the one you love.
Not too long ago, we were fortunate enough to have the extremely lovely folk from Honest Brew along to Cocoa Runners HQ for a chocolate and beer tasting. Time flew by, plenty was consumed, and the Honest Brew Team very much proved that lovers of beer and lovers of chocolate are not, in fact, realms apart. They discussed and debated, and finally decided on an assortment of bars they felt were reminiscent of certain beers. Master Brewer Craig Wilmott explains to us their selection…
As brewers, sometimes we get a bit beer-centric. We obsess over grains, hops, water and yeast as if every crucial decision in our lives depended on them. In some ways they kind of do. When good old Valentine’s Day approaches, however, this reflex can sometimes get us into trouble. Our initial resort is usually to gift our amours with a nice rich chocolate stout – it’s a gift we’d love ourselves, something really coming from the heart. Until, that is, we crawl out of our beer-centrism and realise on proper reflection that not everyone is like us and wants beer for every gift-giving occasion.
So it is some consolation to know that there are others, not altogether unlike us, who are just as obsessed with the little details of another of life’s pleasures – chocolate. Enter Cocoa Runners; the bringers of damn fine bean-to-bar chocolate, and saviours of Valentine’s Day.
Recently team Honest Brew met up with the folks at Cocoa Runners to chat about our respective passions. We learnt about how cocoa beans differ from one country to the next which greatly affects the flavour of finished chocolate. Coupled with this is how the various processes which convert bean to bar – harvesting, fermenting, drying, roasting, winnowing, grinding, conching and tempering – also have their own influence on flavour and texture. It stands to reason then that bean-to-bar chocolate, like micro-brewed beer, will never be identical from one batch to the next. Subtle differences make life worth living (and gifts worth giving) right?
On that note, to help ourselves and you, fellow beer lover, with gift ideas this Valentine’s Day, we thought we’d have a crack at putting the two together. Beer with chocolate can work in certain divine ways – a black forest cake with a Kriek or smoked almonds and dark chocolate with an imperial stout for example – but here we’re talking more along the lines of “If you or your amour are fan of this beer, you’ll surely love this bar of chocolate.”
Team Cocoa Runners gave us several bars to try, each drastically – and deliciously – different from the last, and here’s what we came up with:
This is a rich, light and creamy chocolate which starts with nice dried fruit and finishes with a lingering dry citrus bite. We think it couples well with Beavertown’s 8-Ball Rye IPA.
The addition of cocoa nibs and oak-smoked sea salt makes this a real complex number. It’s only subtly salty, with creamy notes of caramel and a slight bitter finish thanks to the nibs. Give it a crack if you’re a fan of Bristol Milk Stout
Rich caramel-cream is really at the forefront of this chocolate. Hints of toffee and grain lead us to thinking a good beer to compare this one with is our Straight Up Amber Ale. Munich malt for the win!
Nothing short of ‘wow!’, it’s the method of drying the cocoa beans with open fires – unique to Papua New Guinea – that lends a powerful smokey flavour to this chocolate. It’s grainy, nutty and smokey qualities are comparable to Beavertown’s Smog Rocket Porter which is, oddly enough, a little sweeter than the chocolate itself.
Made by two French friends in the beans’ country of origin, this chocolate starts with a rich intensity followed by hints of dark red berries. The finish is grainy and bitter which, coupled with it’s intensity reminds us of Weird Beard’s Decadence Stout.
This is a pretty funky number, with the addition of pink pepper giving a very delicate hint of spice. Adding a touch of tart citrus, we reckon if you’re a fan of Wild Beer Co Shnoodlepip this chocolate will float your boat.
We’d like to thank Honest Brew once again for taking the time to come in and create their selection, and of course for educating us in the world of great craft beers.
You can now try four of these fabulous bars in one place, in our Honest Brew Collection. Curated by Honest Brew’s very own Beer Guru, Craig, this collection includes bars from around the world of small batch single estate chocolate. What’s more, each collection comes complete with tasting notes from Craig, sharing the flavours behind each bar, and the types of beers that also evoke these flavours.
If like us, you love exploring the world of incredible quality food and drink – join the world’s first personalised beer service with Honest Brew. Receive 12 different craft beers each month, matched to your taste profile.
How it works:
1. It starts with a library of unique beers from 50+ leading craft breweries. They’re brewers themselves, and know good beer.
2. They pick 12 different beers matching your taste profile – and your honesty box is born.
3. Free express delivery to your home or work. Discover new beers every month.
Save £10 off your first 12 beer Honesty Box with code: COCOABREW
That’s just over £2 a beer delivered to your door.
Visit honestbrew.co.uk/honesty-box to get started.
Chocolarder is a small, ethical, and wonderfully innovative bean to bar chocolate maker based in Cornwall, UK.
Once a pâtissier, Mike Longman founded Chocolarder in 2012, a bean-to-bar adventure that might not have seemed like too much of a deviation of professional interests. However, originally Mike began his gastronomic career as a part-time chef to pay his way through a degree in economics. Quickly realising that his passions were far stronger for food than maths, he consequently ditched his calculator for an apron, and enjoyed a successful career over several years as a respected pastry chef.
Crafting its chocolate in a Cornish valley concrete production space for many years, Chocolarder had a dream to build a proper chocolate factory that would be open to the public, of whom would be able to witness the process from ‘bean to bar’. The new space was to be a community hub for visitors to stay, be it sit in the cafe, or participate in a workshop, tour or tasting.
In April 2018, Chocolarder successfully raised £19,062 with 270 supporters to help build its proper chocolate factory and cafe!
Way back in 2015, in celebration of its arrival into our Chocolate Library, we were keen to ask Mike a few questions…
My road to chocolate making was a long and winding one. I initially started as a part time chef, in order to pay my way through an Economics degree, but when I finally graduated, I realised my passions had been for the food rather than the math. So I followed my instincts and applied for the nicest restaurant in the area and started the following day. I quickly got to grips with the basics, and under found myself running the hotels brasserie within the first six months. I progressed through the kitchen and eventually found myself in the pastry kitchen, having had a pretty one sided conversation with my very good friend and head chef, who let me know that one of us would have to be head pastry chef, and it wasn’t going to be him.
I loved everything about running a pastry kitchen, especially as I had free reign over any dish, any element, any strange fabrication, and so set to work making everything we could from scratch. Our attention eventually fell upon chocolate. And so I became transfixed, breaking numerous pieces of equipment until I had my first batch of chocolate. I had little idea what was the best approach, and so felted my way there until I had something truly special. But the more I did, the more I discovered to the world of chocolate, the flavour of different regions, different varieties, different roasts, different sugars, limitless possibilities, and all a million miles from the chocolate I knew from the high street shops. It was soon after my first batch of chocolate I knew where it was all going, and I’m glad I took the leap.
I don’t have a mission, just a strict level of ethics in making chocolate that seem to have been forgotten over the years, and its these ethics that are bringing back a revival in small bakeries, coffee roasters, breweries, this new artisan world.
Sourcing is very important, not only for flavour, but because the production of the raw beans is so labour intensive. The producers of cacao have been exploited to the level where they have no idea what cocoa beans make; they do not know the value of their crop. Taking care of the growers takes care of the flavour, and everyone benefits.
The ingredients in the chocolate are of course of major importance, and our aim is to use as few as possible, as a lot of the additional ingredients are often unnecessary. In our dark chocolates we only use the beans and raw sugar, and whole milk powder in addition makes our milk chocolate, all organic, all as pure as possible.
The packaging is the last of the big ethical problems we had, and that was the environmental impact of being a producer. Our packaging is now 100% recyclable, and made using recycled material.
I started Chocolarder on my own, in my kitchen, making a few bars to sell on local farmers markets and in my local delis. From the get go, it was a struggle to keep up with demand, partly as the equipment I was using was what I had found to work. A tiny coffee roaster I slowed the drum speed on, and a grinder I had taken apart, decided what I wanted to keep and what I wanted to change and rebuilt. Scaling up over the years has continued along this theme, everything is adapted and cobbled together, no duct tape but pretty close.
I have some amazing projects on the horizon this year, one of which is bringing my cocoa beans across the Atlantic via sail ship. The logistics of this are tricky, as the trip is a 2 month round trip. The crew of the ship use the voyage to educate about the environmental differences of zero carbon transport as well as bringing across freight. This is the absolute ideal way to transport cacao, and the way we hope to expand in the future.
We also have a cupboard full of sample bars of small batches of flavours, beans, and different sugars. My favourite of which is the 100% bar. It has been my aim from day 1 to make a 100% bar that I really enjoy eating. I’m very excited to let this one out and see what happens.
Sourcing is the most difficult part of chocolate making, and is an absolute minefield. The only way to source effectively is to form solid relationships with the growers themselves. Other chocolate makers, and friends who have travelled to South America have helped me massively along the way. I’m yet to set off on my first trip, but hope to be out in Ecuador later this year to go shopping and friend making.
The equipment used to make the chocolate is built to our needs from what we can get, and based on good old-fashioned science. Stripping machines down and building them back up to our needs has become commonplace – for us as well as a lot of other small scale chocolate makers. Our roaster is very interesting as it was born to roast chickens, but has since been fitted with a drum to roast cocoa beans. The melange had to be completely stripped down to have new granite pillar stones and a new motor fitted and the butter press was once a car jack. All of these pieces of art work perfectly to do the job they are needed to do, and makes working with them so much more personal.
I couldn’t possibly pick out a favourite chocolate maker, but there are many that I admire. Favourite food for me would have to be the crispy pork belly dish at The Langford in 5 heads, and to drink; any Merlot from Chile hits the spot.
Getting through January can feel like a challenge for those of us obsessed with chocolate. It seems almost impossible to recover from the overindulgence of Christmas whilst still enjoying a few sneaky bars. So you’ll be very pleased to hear that we have the solution: three delicious collections that will help you stick to your New Year’s Resolutions!
100% chocolate is made from only two ingredients: pure cocoa solids and a little cocoa butter – meaning it is completely sugar free. These ultimately pure bars are made from only the finest ingredients with absolutely no added nastiness.
And there’s no need to compromise on flavour. 100% chocolate is all about uncovering the more subtle flavours of the cocoa beans. A lack of sugar allows the raw cocoa flavour to come through at full throttle, making for a pure, dark, and thought-provoking taste. The strength of this flavour lends 100% chocolate to being slowly dissolved on the tongue – meaning that you’ll probably only need a square or two to satisfy a craving.
So those of you who aspire to a sugar-free January are in luck. We have two fabulous collections of 100% chocolate bars to get you through…
This box is perfect for easing into the world of 100%. To satisfy any moment of weakness, Madagascan beans are naturally fruity and typically sweeter than other varieties – so have a less sharp flavour. With varying amount of cocoa butter, the texture of these bars can be just as silky as their sugary counterparts.
This features four 100% bars from the very best chocolate makers around the world. Each has it’s own distinct flavour resulting from the various origins of the cocoa beans, and each chocolate maker varies has a different chocolate making process that can massively impact on the taste of their delicious bars.
Not sure if you’re ready to try 100% cacao just yet? There are penty of ways to Perhaps our Low Sugar Collection is the box for you. Every bar in this box has at least 85% cacao solids, so they’re low in sugar but still have a hint of sweetness. They’re just the ticket if you’re not quite ready for the bitter, almost savoury notes of 100% cacao chocolate.
Try Our Low Sugar Collection Today >>
So, don’t let your New Year’s resolutions deprive you of chocolate – it’s not good for the heart or soul!
We are delighted to announce the arrival of our After Dinner Rounds.
A distinctive and quirky way to sample fine artisan chocolate. These beautiful boxes of chocolate rounds offer a unique tasting experience. Each collection contains two different varieties of chocolate from a single artisan maker.
They’re a really great way to get to know the style of an individual producer. They’re also perfect for sharing with friends – ideal as an after supper treat.
From milky and fruity to rich and indulgent, these chocolate rounds are full of all the exciting and pleasing flavours you’d expect from Cocoa Runners.
In fact, we’ve made sure there’s something for everyone – from the beginner to the connoisseur.
Hand rolled for us in Scotland, these discs are a distinctive way to sample fine artisan chocolate.
They make an extra special gift too, so with this in mind we’ve designed a lovely box to keep them safe and add a touch of contemporary cool to even the most design conscious environments.
We’ve made our first collection of rounds with chocolate from Swiss maker Original Beans.
Esmeralda’s Milk is made from fine Arriba cocoa beans from Ecuador and a touch of sea salt. It’s a chocolate that’s difficult to put down with its creamy, sweet flavour and subtle fruity notes.
With notes of tropical fruits, honey and orange, Beni Wild Harvest is a fruity dark chocolate we think everyone will enjoy.
Brothers Rick and Michael Mast are the majestically bearded pioneers of the American craft chocolate movement. Mast Brothers’ chocolate is also known as much for its standout ‘wallpaper’ style packaging as for its unique flavour and texture.
Today, Rick and Michael Mast have given us a great Thanksgiving treat – taking over the Ace Hotel in Shoreditch for the next fortnight with a pop up store whilst they continue to work on their Redchurch Street factory and store due to open early next year.
To celebrate we’ve assembled a four bar collection that showcases the very finest these New Yorkers have to offer.
This selection contains two sumptuous single origin bars and two fantastically crafted inclusions bars, demonstrating the breadth of skill brothers Rick and Michael Mast are capable of. The Papua New Guinea has a wonderful natural smokeyness, a result of the beans being dried over open fires. In consequence if you love barbecues, or barbecue sauce, this bar should be perfect for you. In contrast the Belize bar has meets you with an explosion of natural fruit flavours, particularly prevalent are notes of blood orange, banana and plum.
Moving from sublime single origins to incredible inclusions bars. The ingredients for the Cocoa Nibs bar are cacao, cane sugar and cocoa nibs, incredibly simple, but the end result is delicious. With a slight bitterness that is counter balanced by the can sugar this bar also has a decisive crunch from the cocoa nibs making for a well rounded bar. Finally the Maine sea salt enhances the natural blackberry flavours of the Sea Salt bar bringing out some really interesting toasted breadcrumb flavours.
Why not bring it out after your Thanksgiving feast and enjoy your own all American chocolate tasting session? And during this holiday weekend you can use the code “THANKSGIVING” to get £5 off.
Christmas has truly landed over the past few days. In cafes and restaurants, the seasonal specials have taken over (let’s hope you like brie, cinnamon and stuffing), the John Lewis advert is out (and as forcibly heart-melting as ever), and when you hit the shops, you can’t escape the phrase ‘gift receipt’ no matter how mundane a purchase. There’s no doubt that the build up to Christmas is back, and bigger than ever.
Here at Cocoa Runners HQ we’ve been hard at work preparing our Christmas hampers. We’ve two hampers for Christmas 2014, the Deluxe Christmas Hamper (priced at £99.95) and the Chocolate Lovers Hamper (priced at £59.95) and we can’t wait to tell you all about them. Presenting the ultimate chocoholic fantasy, each contains a wondrous array of artisan chocolate treats including handcrafted bars, chocolate coated cocoa beans and a delightful chocolate tea to name but a few….
This is our most decadent collection ever showcasing the very best bars that our vast chocolate library has to offer. This sumptuous edit of our favourite bars from our chocolate library will take you on a comprehensive tour of the very best of the world of bean to bar chocolate. From the finest bars from American makers Mast and Fruition, to deliciously dark chocolate bars from Vietnam and show-stopping 100% chocolate from Madagascar, this gift has it all.
This wonderful gift provides a taste of the very best bean-to-bar chocolate the world has to offer. From American milk, to Vietnamese dark, and even 100% Cocoa from Madagascar, this hamper charts the full spectrum of flavour and intensity available in the chocolate loving world.
What’s more, in both hampers we’ve included our hottest new finds for you to sample. The hand coated chocolate covered cocoa and coffee beans made in the Czech Republic by chocolate maker Jordi’s are a crunchy treats that are a must for any true chocolate lover. You’ll also be one of the first to try a rather unusual chocolate tea from a chocolate maker closer to home. Made by Duffy in Cleethorpes, you’re sure to fall in love with this fabulous infusion at first sip. Lighter than a hot chocolate, for us this drink is a wonderful morning pick-me-up.
We’ve arranged this spectacular collection of artisan chocolate to come nestled into a beautifully presented woven hamper that will be used for years to come. This hamper will surely take pride of place under the tree… And not only are they wonderfully stylish, they’ve passed critical tests for practicality, and durability – and we’ll be using ours all the way through to picnic season (if they don’t make a fine toy-box for the little ones first).
So whether you’re shopping for a treat for yourself or others, these gifts will deliver a whole army of your nearest and dearest with enough chocolate to last throughout the whole of Christmas… and maybe even New Year!