Bean to bar chocolate – Easter treats

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Bean to bar Chocolate and Chocolate Chip and Almond Cookies

Bean to bar chocolate is the subject of the first of series of ‘Easter Treats’ posts with Easter just around the corner. The post photo features artisan bean to bar chocolate from Doble & Bignall and a chocolate chip and almond cookie from James ‘Bob’ Parkinsons Deli and Restaurant Made by Bob.

Bean to bar chocolate is a food trend of the year which “we’re all going mad for”, say the Telegraph, but what exactly is bean to bar chocolate? Put simply, it is chocolate beans taken from the people that grew them then using the beans to make a chocolate bar from that one type of cocoa bean.

At one time, Cadbury’s was the only company making its own chocolate from cocoa beans in the UK. Today the picture is quite different. Possibly the easiest to get hold of is Willie’s Cacao which is stocked in supermarkets including Waitrose, though other brands such as The Grenada Chocolate Company, Doble & Bignall (shown in post photo) or Åkesson’s can be bought at farmers’ markets or from online specialists such as Chocolatiers. You might remember hearing about Devon’s Willie’s Cacao after the Channel 4 Documentary Willie’s Wonky Chocolate Factory, a play on the title of the Roald Dahl classic book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

If you prefer to shopping at smaller boutiques and not supermarkets, Åkesson’s might be of interest. The Swedish born chocolatier Bertil Åkesson takes the bean to bar concept one step further. Åkesson’s have their own farms in Brazil, Indonesia and Madagascar where they plant cocoa sourcing beans for the bean to bar chocolate sold in their own boutique in Notting Hill, London. Åkesson’s also sell cocoa beans from the plantations. Worth a try if you fancy experimenting with making your own chocolate in downtime over the Easter break.

Doble & Bignall are “missionaries of ‘real chocolate'”. The artisan bean to bar chocolate makers are based in the Gloucestershire Cotswolds and produce hand made bean to bar chocolate using beans sourced from small producers around the world. They were first inspired to make bean to bar chocolate after listening to BBC Radio 4’s Good Food Show. The photo shows the Doble & Bignall Raven bar which is made from Puerto Cabello Beans sourced from Venezuela. Their chocolate is sold at farmers’ markets as well as online.

The cookie shown is from Made by Bob, a deli-restaurant in Cirencester. Made by Bob is a straight-up place serving straight-up food from star chef Bob Parkinson.

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