Ladies and Gentleman, we have arrived in chocolate heaven………
Willie’s World Class Cacao chocolate is the best we have ever tasted. No mincing our words here, its the best. Hands down. The champagne of the chocosphere, you know it’s the best by its ‘bite’. One crisp, crack and you instinctively know that good things are going to happen in your mouth.
No cheese, ho booze, no coffee, no sweat. No chocolate, well that’s an existence you can count me out on. As Willie says “Coffee is a poor mans cacao” and I tend to agree.
Yes, we are eating chocolate again, with great relish and delight. We have thrown ourselves back into the world of those fabulous brown chunks with gusto and started right at the top with a Willie’s chocolate tasting session. We lined up some lumps of quite amazing cacao and gave our taste buds a real treat. For moments, we had died and gone to chocolate heaven.
Passion is infectious and Willie has it in giant spades. I remember seeing him in Selfridges (big posh shop in London) being animated and charming about all things chocolate and the very finest cacao. Willie has a mission in this life and its very chocolaty. I liked him straight away, its rare to see anybody so consumed and charged by something, the fact that this something was chocolate, only made me warm to him more.
I then watched the documentary style TV programme that followed him to his hacienda and cacao farm in Venezuela where he seemed to be a one man army, defending us all against the abomination of substandard cacao. Willie was so driven to succeed against all odds and many wild and wonderful set backs. The story of this chocolate is to follow your dreams, no matter what gets in your way or what they may be. Don’t waver and have faith. In chocolate! This definitely adds to the flavour!
Willie has scoured Latin America looking for the finest cacao trees to re-plant and discovered a small plantation, surrounded by coffee trees, that had not cross pollinated with the newer types of cacao trees (some of those high yield, low quality varieties that modern farming is dominated by). He took them back to his hacienda and ended up planting 10,000 of them (told you he is driven!).
Cacao is great for us and Willie uses only the finest cacao and a little sugar and thats it. No hidden nasties in there or chemicals at all. He also sells the cacao pure, 100%, that is best used in cooking or hot chocolate (it is a little on the bitter side).
He brings all of these beans back to this little grey island and feeds them into his collection of old chocolate making machinery (slower than the modern machines, but better for taste).
Willie’s chocolate is not the cheapest, you wouldn’t expect it to be, but if you are looking for the best, I think its probably worth splashing out the extra .50p on something truly amazing!
If you don’t believe any of these claims, check out Willie’s brilliant website. You’ll find a real feast for the eyes, it a stunner, you’ll also find many recipes for cooking with chocolate and not just desserts either. Savoury dishes with the 100% cacao. We’ll be giving some a go soon, so keep your eyes peeled.
My first taste of chocolate in a savoury dish was in Mexico, up a mountain somewhere south, lost and hungry. It was actually raining as well. A kind hearted lady opened her front room for us and begin to whip up something that looked like a chocolate and banana sauce, mixed with a casserole. My first Mole Poblano and I will never forget it. Dark and rich, with the bitterness of the chocolate, sweetness of banana and the potent chilli punch, it was a rare taste explosion. A combination and sensation that cannot be repeated in any dish.
Back to chocolate as we know and love it, here are Jane and I’s tasting notes for the chocolate frenzy/tasting:
Indonesian (Javan Light Breaking)
Lee – Love that crack and crunch, gorgeous (this was repeated many times during this tasting), light flavour, lighter than most chocolates with a lovely caramel-ness to it.
Jane – Tastes like caramelised treacle, so, so smooootthhh.
Venezuelan Gold (Hacienda las Trincheras)
Lee – Rich, really rich, wow, a real full flavour that goes on and on…..more intense than the Indonesian and super velvety. Gorgeous (again!)
Jane – More chocolaty, more flavour and complexity, super luxury chocolate, super rich.
MMMMMMMMmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm (eyes closed and slightly erotic noise).
Madagascar (Sambriano Superior)
Lee – Really, wow, very, very nice. Thats amazing. Very nice. Fruity, a little blackcurranty and was that a raspberry!
Jane – Fruit, yes fruit, delicate flavour, no words (just noise of delight)
Ginger Lime (Sierra Leone)
Lee – Reminds me of Christmas, I prefer the other, unadulterated stuff. Still very, very fine and zesty.
Jane – A bit like ginger nuts! Heavenly.
Peruvian (San Martin)
Both – AMAZING CHOCOLATE!!!! (dumbstruck looks and lost for words……)
(Due to intense chocolate overload, at this stage the tasting turned into a giant scoff/ farce and we lost track of which was chocolate went with which wrapper. Meaning the other bars tasted all get a 9.96 out of 10 and a big thumbs up from us.)
Lee – Has to be the Indonesian, maybe because it was first to be tasted. I loved the sweet caramel flavours and the general lightness of the chocolate, something really different and not achieved completely naturally. I would also like to visit Indonesia one day soon.
Jane – Venezuelan. The richness, so, so dark and packed full of flavour. The loveliest and purest flavour. REAL chocolate.
This was only a small taster of the full range which you’ll find a doorway to here.
Enjoying Willie’s chocolate makes you part of a very special adventure; one mans dream, now boxed up by old clanking machines and available on supermarket shelves. This is our kind of food success story. Chocolate is important and Willie’s is chocolate at its most inspiring and delicious best.