• Sep 16

    Just Landed – Brand New Bars, Direct From Portugal’s Hottest Craft Chocolate Maker

    By Elizabeth  ·  Uncategorized

    This week we are delighted to say Welcome!, Yokoso and Bem Vinda toTomoko-san and Sue of our first Portugese Craft Chocolate Maker, Feitoria doCacao.

    The genesis of Fetoria do Cocao is a combination of travel and cooking. Sue Tavares has a long career as a chef, and Tomoko-san and she met whilstTomoko-san was exploring Portugal as part of her singing career. A few yearsafter meeting, they went on an epic adventure, involving changing planes multiple times, to visit Sao Tome and find out more about cacao growing andvisit cacao plantations. The were blown away by what they saw.

    Sue and Tomoko-san travelled all over the island, met local farmers and were humbled by the day to day challenges these farmers overcame. They also experienced the wonders of freshly harvest cocoa beans and were fascinatedby the different flavours that local farmers could coax out of the beans throughdifferent fermentation and drying techniques.

    Returning to Portugal they determined to build Portugal’s first craft chocolate company. In the years since they first saw cocoa growing in Sao Tome, theyhave spent every spare moment learning as much as they could about crafting fine chocolate bars – corresponding with makers in the UK, Japan, the US, Germany and indeed all over their They have made it their mission to become connoisseurs of craft chocolate, tasting bars from a huge range of makers tohelp develop their palates and hone their craft.

    Initially they experimented out of their kitchen, and then a year or so ago they opened a small story, with a craft factory in the basement, in their home town of Evora – described by the Portugese as the “Venice of Portugal” thanks to its canals and seaside geography. Evora is a short train ride from Oporto – and we were lucky enough earlier in the year to visit them, taste some of their new bars and see their operations first hand.

    Since then we’ve caught up with them again in London when they visited to collect their well deserved awards from the the Academy of Chocolate, and weare now delighted to be able to offer you some of their bars.

    Tomoko-san and Sue hand craft all their bars from small batches of beans. Their bars are, as far as we know, impossible to find out outside of Portugal –and Sue and Tomoka sell almost all of their bars straight from their factory assoon as they are made. It took nearly six months for us to persuade them to sell us an allocation of bars, so we would warmly encourage you to try them while you can.

    Visit our Chocolate Library to taste these amazing bars today!

    We hope you love these bars too!

     

  • Sep 10
    Welcome Qantu

    Welcome Qantu: a brand new, award-winning maker from Canada

    By Elizabeth  ·  Uncategorized

    Meeting a new craft chocolate maker and tasting their bars is always exciting. Meeting a new craft chocolate maker who has already won a host of awardsand tasting bars that make your jaw drop is pretty special.

    At the Academy of Chocolate Awards this year we had the pleasure of meeting Maxime & Elfi of Qantu. Having only launched Qantu in February of this yearthey had flown over especially from Montreal to collect an award for every barthey entered (two Golds & one Silver) as well as a special New Chocolate Maker Award.

    Quantu’s first three bars all use Peruvian beans and are classic, simple, andwonderful bars that just contain cocoa mass, cocoa butter and some sugar. The depth and balance of flavour in each iss remarkable. Qantu has nowadded a fourth bar to its collection: a 100% crafted from Peruvian Chuncho beans with a fantastically smooth, deep profile.

    The pair attributes Quantu’s chocolate achievements to years of chocolate eating. A few years ago their gourmand hobby even led them to visit a farm inSan Martin in Peru, which planted the seed of their future endeavours.

    When Maxime & Elfi decided to turn their long term passion into a life it wassimple to decide where they would start looking for beans. They traveled toPeru, where Elfi was born and raised, and where the couple first met. Thename Qantu also reflects these roots. Qantu or Cantuta is the national flowerof Peru (and, confusing, also for Bolivia).

    They are currently working with two different farmer co-operatives: one inPiura and one in Ayacucho. Qantu buy and import directly from the co-opsthemselves without any middlemen.

    They are currently working with two different farmer co-operatives: one inPiura and one in Ayacucho. Qantu buys and imports directly from the co-opsthemselves without any middlemen. Once the beans arrive from Lima, Elfi andMaxime can start crafting their bars. The time it takes to get from bean to bar varies, as the pair adjust roast and conche times for each of their chocolates. When asked the secret to their chocolate making process, the answer wassimple, ‘Just a lot of love!’.

    They hand craft every bar. They’ve been delighted by the way their bars havebeen received – and have struggled to craft bars to meet growing demand intheir local home market. We’ve persuaded them to let us have a very small allocation for this year – so if you want to be on the few to try these amazing bars this year, we strongly suggest you order them now and “love them” thesame way Max and Elfi have enjoyed crafting them!

    Try the bars from Qantu today.

    We hope you love these bars too!

  • Aug 11
    Chocolate Tasting

    Chocolate Tasting Evenings With Cocoa Runners

    By Cocoa Runners  ·  Tastings

    New dates announced for our ever-popular craft chocolate tasting evenings.

    While the sun might be shinning at the moment, Autumn is sneaking round the corner.

    Once the weather begins to cool, we always find ourselves yearning for the comfort of a little extra craft chocolate. So we invite you to join us at our new series of craft chocolate tastings, held at Prufrock Coffee.

    You will be able to taste around 14 different craft chocolates while also learning more about the cocoa origins, crafting process, and industry as a whole. This the perfect opportunity to ask the questions you’ve always wanted to and meet like-minded craft chocolate lovers.

    Our chocolate tastings are fun and informal events, generally designed around a particular theme. From passionate craft chocolate insiders, to those just discovering ‘bean-to-bar’ chocolate, we welcome a range of guests at our events. This is seated tasting, accompanied by a presentation and guidance

    And if you want to treat a friend, you can also purchase a pair of tickets that can be used at any relevant tasting in the next 6 months.

    See below for a full list of upcoming tastings:
    Tuesday 12th September 2017

    Cocoa Runners Craft Chocolate Tasting
    7pm – Prufrock Coffee

    Tuesday 10th October 2017

    Cocoa Runners Craft Chocolate Tasting
    7pm – Prufrock Coffee

    Tuesday 14th November 2017

    Cocoa Runners Craft Chocolate Tasting
    7pm – Prufrock Coffee

    Tuesday 5th December 2017

    Cocoa Runners Craft Chocolate Tasting
    7pm – Prufrock Coffee

     

    Tickets cost £25 each or £45 for a pair. All tickets include a small glass of wine on arrival and water will of course be provided.

    We hold our tastings at Prufrock Coffee, 23-25 Leather Lane. Events start at 7pm so we advise you arrive a few minutes beforehand. If you have any allergies or intolerances please let us know in advance and we will do our best to accommodate you.

    We hope to see you soon!

  • Aug 05
    Omnom Caramel Milk

    Omnom & Reykjavik Pride 2017

    By Cocoa Runners  ·  New Products

    [vc_row type=”in_container” full_screen_row_position=”middle” scene_position=”center” text_color=”dark” text_align=”left” overlay_strength=”0.3″][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ width=”1/1″ tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default”][vc_column_text]We think that all craft chocolate is magical. It tastes like nothing else, the simple ingredients mean its better for you, and open, sustainable supply chains means its better for farmers.

    But sometimes craft chocolate can be even more magical.

    This year Omnom is sponsoring Reykjavik Pride. For the festivities Omnom has whipped up 2000 bags of its rainbow Omnom Popp – a special popcorn coated in chocolate and available in five colourful flavours.

    If you’re unable to attend the festivities then never fear! Omnom has distilled a little Pride magic into a limited edition batch of its Caramel + Milk flavoured Pride bar. As we’ve come to expect from Omnom, this bar is a feast on they eyes as well as the tongue. The beautiful packaging features prancing unicorns and of course a rainbow background. But this is just the start – open the packet to discover the delicious chocolate beneath.

    Omnom will be donating all the proceeds from Omnom Popp and the Caramel + Milk bar to Reykjavik Pride. We are delighted to fly the flag and support our Icelandic friends.

    And whether you’re on Brighton Beach or at home, you can taste some of the magic yourself. We’ve a very few of the limited bars for you so we recommend you grab yours while you can (rainbow unicorns are famously hard to catch).

    OMNOM – CARAMEL + MILK 2017

     

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    Save[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row type=”in_container” full_screen_row_position=”middle” scene_position=”center” text_color=”dark” text_align=”left” overlay_strength=”0.3″][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ width=”1/2″ tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default”][image_with_animation image_url=”92420″ alignment=”” animation=”None” img_link_large=”yes” box_shadow=”none” max_width=”100%”][/vc_column][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ width=”1/2″ tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default”][vc_column_text]

    A joyful celebration of diversity, Icelandic unity and pride.

    The sweet chocolate uses Omnom’s fudgy, malted-tasting Nicaragua Milk as a base.

    Enhancing the caramel notes in the chocolate, the bar’s surfaces is sprinkled with caramel pieces that have been coated in even more milk chocolate.

    As you unwrap the bar you might just discover an extra bit of sparkle…[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

  • Jul 16

    New Bars We’re Enjoying this Month

    By Cocoa Runners  ·  New Products

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    Five of The Best New Chocolate Bars

    Every month, we allow you to discover four new chocolate bars with our monthly subscription. The chocolate world is a big one, with makers sourcing beans from all around the world from Peru to Africa to Papua New Guinea and the Dominican Republic. We’ve tasted chocolate from every corner of the globe and we love to try new bars, whether it’s dark chocolate or milk. Each bar tastes different in its own unique way and it’s surprising how different each bar cam taste and it’s all dependant on the beans used and how the bar has bean created from the tree to the shelves.

    Here at Cocoa Runners, it’s our job to discover the world’s best chocolate bars. We have tried thousands upon thousands of chocolate bars; some we’ve disliked, some we’ve liked and some we cannot live without. We have carefully rounded u our favourite new chocolate bars that we think everybody should try.

    [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row type=”in_container” full_screen_row_position=”middle” scene_position=”center” text_color=”dark” text_align=”left” overlay_strength=”0.3″][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ width=”1/2″ tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default” column_link=”https://cocoarunners.com/shop/georgia-ramon-r-a-w/”][image_with_animation image_url=”86458″ alignment=”” animation=”Fade In” box_shadow=”none” max_width=”100%” img_link=”https://cocoarunners.com/shop/georgia-ramon-r-a-w/”][/vc_column][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ width=”1/2″ tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default”][vc_column_text]

    GEORGIA RAMON

    R.A.W

    This special addition bar is made with unroasted Trinitario cocoa beans from Peru, and at maximum temperature of 55.55° C, it tastes incredible. This chocolate gives notes of fruity acidity with the aroma and taste of an earl grey tea with a hint of orange.

    There is no definition of raw, there is no get hold of raw. How are the fermented beans? That’s handiwork and the temperatures can be very high. How the beans are dried, that there is quite a difference, or it is on a concrete slab in the burning sun, or on grates in a tunnel with shade cloth. And if cocoa butter is added, this component is by definition not raw.

    [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row type=”in_container” full_screen_row_position=”middle” scene_position=”center” text_color=”dark” text_align=”left” overlay_strength=”0.3″][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ width=”1/2″ tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default” column_link=”https://cocoarunners.com/shop/morin-lait-jamaique/”][image_with_animation image_url=”86461″ alignment=”center” animation=”Fade In” box_shadow=”none” max_width=”100%” img_link=”https://cocoarunners.com/shop/morin-lait-jamaique/”][/vc_column][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ width=”1/2″ tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default”][vc_column_text]

    MORIN

    LAIT JAMAÏQUE MARAVIA MILK

    Jamaican beans have a history of being one of the first cacaos to be imported to the United Kingdom, though at the time chocolate was primarily a drink rather than a bar for eating.

    These beans from Jamaica carry natural flavours such as fruit, nutty hints and sometimes, even an earthy tone all at the same time. A relatively hard to get hold of origin, the beans are primarily Trinitario. This classic milk chocolate has a fresh cream quality and a gentle pannacotta note which deepens into caramel with every bite.

    [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row type=”in_container” full_screen_row_position=”middle” scene_position=”center” text_color=”dark” text_align=”left” overlay_strength=”0.3″][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ width=”1/2″ tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default” column_link=”https://cocoarunners.com/shop/fruition-corazon-quinoa-crunch/”][image_with_animation image_url=”86463″ alignment=”center” animation=”Fade In” box_shadow=”none” max_width=”100%” img_link=”https://cocoarunners.com/shop/fruition-corazon-quinoa-crunch/”][/vc_column][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ width=”1/2″ tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default”][vc_column_text]

    FRUITION

    CORAZON QUINOA CRUNCH

    This bar made by Fruition is limited edition. Using beans from San Martin and Maranon in Peru. Fruition have created a truly delicious milk chocolate bar with a surprising crunch. With every bite, you will notices notes of passion fruit, berries and lime salt.

    Fruition is a small batch bean to bar chocolate workshop located in the Catskill Mountains of New York. With tremendous attention to detail, they slowly roast and stone grind carefully selected cocoa beans to accentuate their inherent flavour. Sometimes being a perfectionist really pays off when the chocolates tastes this good.

    [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row type=”in_container” full_screen_row_position=”middle” scene_position=”center” text_color=”dark” text_align=”left” overlay_strength=”0.3″][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ width=”1/2″ tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default” column_link=”https://cocoarunners.com/shop/duffys-dominican-republic-taino-65/”][image_with_animation image_url=”92591″ alignment=”center” animation=”Fade In” box_shadow=”none” max_width=”100%” img_link=”https://cocoarunners.com/shop/duffys-dominican-republic-taino-65/”][/vc_column][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ width=”1/2″ tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default”][vc_column_text]

    DUFFY’S

    DOMINICAN REPUBLIC TAINO 65%

    This bar is made from fine organic “Hispaniola” cocoa beans. The cane sugar and cocoa butter are also completely organic, with the latter coming from the Dominican Republic. When Duffy’s are making this chocolate the whole factory smells of pineapples!
    Duffy’s produce single origin artisan chocolate bars made from cacao sources for various different regions located all over the world. Duffy’s have complete control of their roasting and processing of the cocoa beans they use because they do it all themselves in Lincolnshire.

    [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row type=”in_container” full_screen_row_position=”middle” scene_position=”center” text_color=”dark” text_align=”left” overlay_strength=”0.3″][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ width=”1/2″ tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default” column_link=”https://cocoarunners.com/shop/damon-buffalo-milk-blend/”][image_with_animation image_url=”86468″ alignment=”center” animation=”Fade In” box_shadow=”none” max_width=”100%” img_link=”https://cocoarunners.com/shop/damon-buffalo-milk-blend/”][/vc_column][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ width=”1/2″ tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default”][vc_column_text]

    DAMSON

    BUFFALO MILK BLEND

    Before founding Damson in 2015, Dom Ramsey was a prolific chocolate blogger, as well as a founding member of Cocoa Runners. In between crafting bars in Islington, Dom managed to find time to write his own book. Simply titled Chocolate, the book covers everything from the history of cacao to how you can craft your own. This bar combines cocoa beans from Ingeman in Nicaragua, Akesson in Madagascar and buffalo milk from Laverstoke Farm in Hampshire.

    This bar gives rich dark milk notes with sweet flavours of dark caramel and fudge. There is also a subtle hint of red berries which adds depth.

    [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ width=”1/1″ tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default”][/vc_column][vc_row type=”in_container” full_screen_row_position=”middle” scene_position=”center” text_color=”dark” text_align=”left” overlay_strength=”0.3″][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ width=”1/1″ tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default”][image_with_animation alignment=”” animation=”Fade In” box_shadow=”none” max_width=”100%”][/vc_column][/vc_row]

  • Jun 09

    Father’s Day Competition

    By Cocoa Runners  ·  Uncategorized

    To help you celebrate Father’s day this year, we are excited to announce a special Father’s Day giveaway for you. Together with a few of our favourite small businesses, we have created the ultimate Father’s Day gift bundle for you to win.*

    Included in this prize are host of wonderful goodies to delight your dad.

     

    Quiet Rebbellion SocksQuiet Rebellion Socks

    First for the fun yet fashion conscious father, we’ve three pairs brushed cotton socks from Quiet Rebellion. Quiet Rebellion puts colour back into the soles of office workers around the world! Office attire needs to look professional but this often feels dull. Quiet Rebellion injects fun into your weekdays through socks hidden patterns so you can still look serious yet feel mischievous!

    Pushkin Press BooksPushkin Press Books

    If your dad’s a bit of a bookworm, he will love Pushkin Press’ beautifully bound books. Pushkin Press publishes the world’s best stories, to be read and read again, and they’ve got the ultimate reads for any dad this Father’s Day. From Sand, a darkly sophisticated literary thriller from a star of the German literary scene, Clinch, a visceral, compulsive read about a boxer on the run that packs a punch and will leave you reeling, to 1917, a collection of passionate voices from the Russian Revolution and finally, Stefan Zweig’s exquisite Montaigne, an account of the French philosopher’s life which asks how we ought to think, and how to live.

    Honest Brew BeerHonest Brew Beer

    And since Father’s Day is a celebration, it seemed only right to add in a tipple or twelve. In this prize we’ve also included Honest Brew’s 12 Beer Mixed Case for Father’s Day. This super gift box includes a selection of the world’s finest, freshest and most delicious craft beers, an official HonestBrew glass, an extremely handy bottle opener, and an exclusive Father’s Day card designed by London-based illustrator HATCH. No nonsense, no naff novelty, just great beer and gifts.

     

    Cocoa Runners HamperCocoa Runners Hamper

    Of course, no Cocoa Runners giveaway would be complete without chocolate! The lucky competition winner will also receive a Cocoa Runners Chocolate Lover’s Hamper. The wooden hamper is bursting with the finest artisan milk and dark chocolate bars. What more could your dad ask for?

     

     

    How To Enter

    In order to enter our giveaway, simply click on the button and fill out the form. We will contact the winner on Tuesday 13 June so make sure you check your emails. Good luck!

     

    ENTER NOW

     

    *Terms & Conditions apply. One entry per person. You must be 18 or over to enter. Prizes can be sent to UK addresses only. Entry closes at midnight Monday 12 June and a winner will be notified by email before 10am on Tuesday. The winner will have 24hours to contact us or we will redraw a new winner on Thursday. By entering, you are agreeing to receive marketing materials from all companies, but are welcome to opt out of mailing list at any time.

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  • Jun 06

    Five of the Best Dark Chocolate Bars

    By Cocoa Runners  ·  Uncategorized

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    Five of The Best Dark Chocolate Bars

    By Cara Curtis

    There’s something about dark chocolate that makes everyone indulge slowly a piece at a time. It’s more of an experience than a midday snack, whether the dark chocolate has fruity and citrusy notes or if it’s more smokey and earthy treat. It all depends on the bean quality, the skilled maker and the process the bar goes through from starting as a bean to then being shipped around the world.

    Here at Cocoa Runners, it’s our job to discover the world’s best chocolate bars. We have tried thousands upon thousands of chocolate bars; some we’ve disliked, some we’ve liked and some we cannot live without. We’ve travelled from one side of the world to the other to bring you the best chocolate of the world from exotic places such as Madagascar, Peru, Dominican Republic and many more countries.

    We have carefully rounded up our favourite 5 dark chocolate bars so take a look and let us know what you think – have you tried them before?

    Here’s our picks from our Chocolate Library of some of the best dark chocolate bars:

    [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row type=”in_container” full_screen_row_position=”middle” scene_position=”center” text_color=”dark” text_align=”left” overlay_strength=”0.3″][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ width=”1/2″ tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default”][image_with_animation image_url=”83055″ alignment=”” animation=”Fade In” box_shadow=”none” max_width=”100%”][/vc_column][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ width=”1/2″ tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default”][vc_column_text]

    BLANXART

    72% DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

    This Dominican Republic bar is quite remarkable and completely incomparable. It’s as if the bar melts on your tongue and you’re suddenly met with wave after wave of chocolatey pleasure. This bar, made by the Spanish chocolate maker, Blanxart have nailed the art of dark chocolate in this bar alone. It gives notes of cream and intense chocolate. It’s simply a must-try.

    [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row type=”in_container” full_screen_row_position=”middle” scene_position=”center” text_color=”dark” text_align=”left” overlay_strength=”0.3″][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ width=”1/2″ tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default” column_link=”http://eepurl.com/E6WDD”][image_with_animation image_url=”83057″ alignment=”center” animation=”Fade In” box_shadow=”none” max_width=”100%” img_link=”https://cocoarunners.com/shop/akessons-brazil-fazenda-sempre-firme-dark-milk-55/”][/vc_column][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ width=”1/2″ tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default”][vc_column_text]

    MENAKAO

    SEA SALT AND NIBS

    Whilst we are normally purists when it comes to single estate dark chocolate, we make an exception for this Menakao dark chocolate bar. This is an example of chocolate with inclusions done exactly right. This bar is jam-packed with fruity and berry notes that work perfectly alongside the intense chocolate flavour. The added salt serves for double purpose, whilst adding texture with the crunchy nibs, the sale also brings out the roasted fruity and raisin notes whilst reducing the bitterness. It’s simply perfect.

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    PUMP STREET BAKERY

    SOURDOUGH AND SEA SALT

    This bar is an intriguing dark chocolate treat, with the sourdough adding an interesting inclusion and a gently crunch with a pleasant yeasty taste. It surprisingly works like a dark chocolate dream. It easily surpassed our expectations and earned itself a rightful place in our top five dark chocolate bars because of it’s unique yeasty and salty flavour which leaves you wanting more and more and … more.

    [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row type=”in_container” full_screen_row_position=”middle” scene_position=”center” text_color=”dark” text_align=”left” overlay_strength=”0.3″][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ width=”1/2″ tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default” column_link=”http://eepurl.com/E6WDD”][image_with_animation image_url=”83059″ alignment=”center” animation=”Fade In” box_shadow=”none” max_width=”100%” img_link=”https://cocoarunners.com/shop/duffys-honduras-mayan-red-milk/”][/vc_column][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ width=”1/2″ tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default”][vc_column_text]

    OMNOM

    MADAGASCAR

    This deliciously fruity, dark chocolate bar is the perfect example of what a Madagascan bean can do. This bar has a perfect balance between fruity and jammy notes which give for a sweet treat which is common for Madagascan bean bars. But, this bar didn’t make the 5 best dark chocolate bars for just been the best of its kind, it’s deserved its place by the slight sharpness of the cherry hints that break through the bar with every bite. For this, it has been awarded a Silver at the International Chocolate Awards 2015. Alongside this success, it also took home Bronze at the Academy of Chocolate Awards 2015.

    [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row type=”in_container” full_screen_row_position=”middle” scene_position=”center” text_color=”dark” text_align=”left” overlay_strength=”0.3″][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ width=”1/2″ tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default” column_link=”http://eepurl.com/E6WDD”][image_with_animation image_url=”83060″ alignment=”center” animation=”Fade In” box_shadow=”none” max_width=”100%” img_link=”https://cocoarunners.com/shop/fruition-brown-butter-milk/”][/vc_column][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ width=”1/2″ tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default”][vc_column_text]

    BONNAT

    SELVA MAYA

    This bar uses rare cacao from south-eastern Mexico which gives it a distinguished and unique taste. With every bite, there are floral and creamy notes that gives for a delicious and smooth mouthfeel. But we’re not the only ones that love this bar, the Chocolat Bonnat Selva Maya bar won World Gold at the International Chocolate Awards 2016 World Final, in London.

    [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ width=”1/1″ tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default”][/vc_column][vc_row type=”in_container” full_screen_row_position=”middle” scene_position=”center” text_color=”dark” text_align=”left” overlay_strength=”0.3″][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ width=”1/1″ tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default”][image_with_animation alignment=”” animation=”Fade In” box_shadow=”none” max_width=”100%”][/vc_column][/vc_row]

  • May 19
    Chocolate Tasting

    Chocolate Tasting With Lucocoa

    By Cocoa Runners  ·  Tastings, The World of Chocolate, Uncategorized

    On Tuesday 16th May we hosted our monthly Chocolate Tasting Evening at Prufrock Coffee. This time we did something a little different. Lizzie from Cocoa Runners invited Ama of Lucocoa to share the stage with her and talk about her experiences of chocolate making.

    Among the guests was Terese Weiss. Terese is as keen about bean-to-bar chocolate as we are and is currently on the Teacher Training Programme at the International Institute of Chocolate and Cacao Training (IICCT). If you’ve taken one of the IICCT’s courses in the UK you might just have had the good fortune to have been taught by Terese.

    After attending the event, Terese was kind enough to write an account the evening, which we are delighted to share with you below.

    A ‘Hakuna Lucocoa matata’ kind of chocolate event

    An evening of learning, tasting and a meeting a chocolate maker – 16 May 2017

    When was the last time you met the maker and personality behind a product you eat pretty much daily?  Living in a big town like London, that in itself is rather uncommon, even in a time when specialty and craft are increasingly celebrated.  That is what made the most recent Cocoa Runners’ ‘meet the maker’ event so enticing and intimate: to hear and taste the story with the maker – in this case Lucocoa, aka team Ama and Andy.

    To make an unusual start, let me tell you that as a professional interpreter, this would be my favourite kind of assignment.  What’s there not to like?  A relaxing yet informative evening with guided tastings of 14 quality chocolates and peppered with entertaining titbits.  (Who by the way knew that the UK chocolate market is bigger that the book and music industry combined!). But why is that relevant to interpreting – and how is that the reason the Cocoa Runners’ gig is one to keep looking out for.  Well, hear me out.

    Interpreters are often regarded as semi androids, a hidden button somewhere is switched on, A language goes in, B language comes out.  Not quite so.  Language is just the top of the iceberg.  We look below and listen for meaning, intention and delivery – how well they align… or not.  I have interpreted many good and not so good presentations, so I can tell you: Cocoa Runners’ event was aligned, like a string of cocoa beans.  They speak fluent chocolate, no interpretation needed.

    The evening was mainly hosted by Cocoa Runners’ staff Lizzie who did a deft job in giving sizable insight into the world of chocolate.  Although we covered a lot, (beyond the tasting itself – recognising quality, ingredients, the surge of the craft bar, how it is made and personal stories about every sample and maker, the size, shape and make up of the industry as a whole – and much more), I didn’t feel overwhelmed.  And that on a hot Tuesday evening after a long day’s work.  It takes a skilled and knowledgeable presenter to do that – and probably some of the most visual and entertaining slides I have long seen, which kept the evening light and engaging.  Who would have thought that a picture of chicken nuggets or a baby donkey could perfectly exemplify just about anything chocolate.  If you don’t believe me, go see for yourself!

    Lizzie was seconded by Ama in a gentle duet, partly to hear Lucocoa’s story, partly to get a maker’s perspective.  If you don’t know Lucocoa, they are London’s first bean-to-bar maker, having set up in 2014.  She and Andy still juggle day jobs and have turned their spare room into a small chocolate factory, (doesn’t that sound like pure bliss), although plans to upscale elsewhere are on the horizon.  Ama’s background as a nutritionalist and the couple’s discovery of the Amazonian ‘super food’ lucuma fruit, (looks like a cross between a tennis ball and a granny smith) gave birth to Lucocoa’s name and signature ingredients: coconut sugar and lucuma powder.

    There was something quite disarming in Ama’s ‘down to earth-ness’ and admittance of the teething problems she and Andy went through as new kids on the chocolate block.  Like how they leaned the hard way to navigate import and export, having travelled and found the beans they wanted to buy from a local woman in Belize and thinking it would just be a small matter of shipping them back to the UK.

    We tried 4 of Lucocoa’s bars from Belize, the Dominican Republic and Guatemala showing us a fan of different flavours – and a delicious ‘natural blonde’ white bar.  However, for Ama it seemed more important to tell the story behind the bars, about the 3 different women, (Minni, Idelsa and Yasmira), who grow the beans, how they met and their relationship.  Aptly, the range is called ‘celebrating our women farmers’.  The direct trade and connection is, as summarised by Lizzie, exactly ‘what we love about craft chocolate’ namely ‘that you get really close to the individual farmer’.  The emerging availability of beans from these and other unique origin growers is also what is making the craft market and Cocoa Runners’ library boom these last few years – and what you get a select taste of at their events.

    Listening to Lizzie and Ama it mostly felt like a couple of friends were sitting me down and telling me about their jobs and area of expertise.  There was no lecturing, no sleek marketing spiel, just nice people and a good atmosphere, with a pile of fine chocolate samples.  Indeed, what is there not to like?!

     

    You can find out more about Lucocoa’s chocolate here.

    You can find out more about the ICCTT here.

  • Mar 07
    Craft Chocolate London

    Craft Chocolate Makers in London

    By Cocoa Runners  ·  Uncategorized

    The London craft chocolate scene is booming.

    When Cocoa Runners started in 2013 there were no small-batch craft makers in London. Back then you could pretty much count all of the UK’s bean-to-bar craft chocolate makers on one hand.

    Fast forward less than four years and London has now got a growing handful of dedicated and talented craft chocolate makers. While fantastic small-batch chocolate makers are also appearing in cities such as Manchester and Sheffield, London truly is the capital of British craft chocolate.

    More and more artisan makers are appearing in London. Each of these makers has a unique style but they all share a desire to craft the best possible chocolate straight from the bean.

    In small workshops spaces, or even their spare rooms, they use the smallest number of ingredients possible to make chocolate with distinct flavours. The focus is not on flavourings or novelty ingredients but on the complex characteristics of the cocoa beans.

    Discover the incredible pioneers crafting small-batch chocolate in London…

    Lucocoa

    ama andyThe first maker to officially launch in 2014 was North London’s Lucocoa, founded by Ama and Andy. As they recently told the Times, Ama and Andy have two objectives. First they want people to eat purer, better chocolate with good simple ingredients, and to that end their bars never contain anything more than five ingredients: cacao beans, cocoa butter, coconut sugar, milk and lucuma (a Peruvian superfood). More than that, Lucocoa is trying to encourage people to savour chocolate as one would a fine wine.

    For International Women’s Day this year, Ama from Lucocoa has created a series of chocolates celebrating the achievements of female cocoa farmers and growers. We’ve partnered with her to bring you her International Women’s Day Limited Edition Belize dark chocolate bar.

    The special wrapper depicts Minni Forman, Managing Director of Maya Mountain Cacao in Belize. Minni is key to all aspects of Maya Mountain’s operations. She oversees everything from Maya Mountain’s research farm to its post-harvest facilities and relationships with local farmers. Ama has used beans from Minni and Maya Mountain to craft this special bar.

    DISCOVER LUCOCOA

    Damson

    Damson ChocolateNext is a maker very close to our heart. Before launching Damson Chocolate, Dom Ramsey was a prolific chocolate blogger and founding member of the Cocoa Runners team. In his very first year, Dom received two awards for his chocolate at the Academy of Chocolate Awards, as well as a prestigious ‘One to Watch’ Award.

    Based in Islington’s Chapel Market Damson describes itself as ‘fanatical about quality’. Crafting bars in its modest Islington kitchen, every stage – from roasting the beans to wrapping the bars – is carried out with meticulous attention to detail. In celebration of the local area Dom even created a special dark chocolate, the Angel Bar.

    DISCOVER DAMSON

    Land

    Land ChocolateBased in Bethnal Green, Land is London’s latest exciting chocolate arrival. Land was founded in 2016 by Phil Landers. Phil was previously a radio producer, but looking for a change, he went travelling around Central America where he discovered cacao.

    Returning to London with his new-found passion, Phil trained with well-known chocolatier Paul. A. Young and then American chocolate makers Mast. Branching out by himself Phil is now crafting his own beautiful single-origin bars in an old furniture maker’s workshop. Currently a one-man show, he does everything himself, from hand-sorting his beans to hand-wrapping his bars.

    His packaging is as stylish as it is informative. On the back you can discover exactly where the beans for each bar have come from. Focusing on South and Central America, Phil is keen to explore lesser-known origins and create bars with more unusual profiles.

    DISCOVER LAND

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  • Jan 09
    How to taste chocolate

    How To Taste Chocolate

    By Angelica Ottaway  ·  The World of Chocolate

    We believe chocolate and wine have a lot in common. As with the finest wines, in order to really get the best out of our craft bars you need to know how to taste chocolate properly. It’s not just about  satisfying your sweet tooth, but uncovering the complex flavours of the cocoa beans that have been lovingly coaxed out by the artisan chocolate maker.

    Just as the altitude, climate and soil will affect the grapes in a fine wine, the same factors can affect the flavour of the cocoa beans in your chocolate bar. Combined, these different environmental factors are known as the ‘terroir’. The finest wines are created when the finest grapes are in the hands of a talented vitner (or wine maker).  And the same is true for chocolate. When the best cocoa beans are given to a skilled maker who takes the time to hand craft every stage from bean to bar, you find yourself with a chocolate that deserves to be savoured. And in order to truly savour these fine bars you first should learn how to taste chocolate!

    There’s just one problem for the chocolate aficionado in training. While whole books have been written about how best to enjoy a fine wine, very little has been written about how to enjoy a bar of chocolate.  Most of us reach for a chocolate bar for a mid-afternoon pick me up and end up eating it without much thought.  But when a maker has taken the time to directly source their beans, and painstakingly draw out their flavours, we think the same care should be taken when eating it.

    Here at Cocoa Runners, we spend our lives running around the world, trying to find the very best chocolate bars. We have tasted a ever-growing number of chocolate bars. Of the thousands we’ve tasted we only choose the very best to put on our site. So after years of practice we wanted to share our top tips on how to taste chocolate.

    Before you read on remember, eating chocolate should always be a pleasure and never a chore. We want to help you get the most out of your fine craft chocolate, but don’t overthink it!

    1. Look at the bar. Carefully take the bar out of its packaging and take a long hard look. Is it shiny and glossy, or does it have a dusty white powder on the surface?  The white powder is the fat in the bar, that has risen to its surface.  This normally happens when a bar has melted and reset, and is a sign that it hasn’t been properly stored.  This is particularly true of dark chocolate. While a little bloom on the surface shouldn’t affect the flavour, you might need to let it melt in your mouth for a little longer.
    1. Break off a piece.  What sound does the bar make and how does it feel when you break it? Does it break with a nice clean snap, or does it crumble?  As well as a wonderfully glossy finish, a well tempered bar should break with ease. A snap that is either too brittle or too soft again suggests that bar either wasn’t stored at the correct temperature or the bar wasn’t properly tempered. Tempering is the process by which chocolate is melted and then set into a chocolate bar at just the right temperature.
    1. Hold the bar for a second.  Does it start to melt?  Artisan chocolate bars contain cocoa butter, and this melts quickly at body temperature.  Most mainstream bars start to crumble and flake into a sticky mess instead of melting smoothly.  This is because of a trick used by many mainstream chocolate makers. They separate the cocoa powder from the cocoa butter and sell it off to the cosmetics industry for use in moisturisers, lipsticks, etc, then replace it with cheaper fats that don’t have the same wonderfully smooth melt.
    1. Smell the bar.  Can you smell citrus, berries, nuts or something else?  As we’ve said, tasting chocolate is like tasting a fine wine. When tasting wine, its standard practice to swirl you drink round in your glass before inhaling deeply.  A good proportion of the flavours in any food or drink comes from their aroma.  A wealth of aromas are released the moment you unwrap a craft chocolate bar. In the same way that swirling your wine helps to release the aroma, holding the piece in your hand (see above) will begin to heat the chocolate slightly, releasing it smell.
    1. Put a piece on your tongue and let it melt, taking care not to chew.  As it melts, different layers of flavour will reveal themselves.A rich Dominican bar might start with a roasted, chocolate ganache note that develops to leave an earthy finish. Or the initial berry notes of a Madagascan chocolate transform into a citrus note.
    1. Enjoy. Eating chocolate should always be a pleasure. These tips on how to taste chocolate should help you get the most out of your artisan chocolate. If you can’t taste the flavours other people have described then don’t worry, as taste is subjective. And remember, the more chocolate you taste, the more your palate will develop.

    All told, there are over 400 distinct flavour compounds in chocolate, more than enough to keep even the keenest cocoa bean interested. Not only is taste extremely subjective,  it’s influenced by everything you’ve eaten and drunk throughout the day.  The same chocolate eaten by itself will taste very different when it is matched with a suitable fine wine.

    Now you know how to taste chocolate, take a look at how artisan chocolate is made. See our page about it here.