I can still remember sitting in my first year flat at uni watching a program about a eccentric English guy who’s ambition it was to make the best chocolate in the world. He travelled to Venezuela in search of the finest cacao beans and his brand ‘Willes Cacao” was born. My flat mates and I really enjoyed the program and I remember laughing at him putting chocolate into every recipe he made (although now I’m with him on that one!). I saw his brand in a store not long after but being on a student budget and preferring to save my money for shots and lager I never tried any and forgot all about the program. So it was a lovely blast from the blast to find a bar in my flavourly box delivered this month! A 50g Ginger & Lime Cuban Baracoa 65%.
Fast forward 6 years and I now consider myself a bit of a chocolate connoisseur ;). Having worked in a high end chocolate shop for nearly 2 years I have tried lots of different chocolates and can even recognize some single origin chocolate just by tasting. So here is my review of Willies Cacao!
Appearance – The packaging is a lovely box with an expensive looking design but in my opinion a bit excessive for a 50g bar. Willie’s Cacao logo is engraved on the chocolate and looks premium. Good shine to the chocolate and no bloom at all.
Aroma – (Best to smell your choccie just after you snap it) The ginger overpowers any aroma of the chocolate at first but then you do get a rich, fruity chocolate smell coming through.
Snap – Good Snap, especially considering the thickness of the chocolate bar.
Taste – (when tasting dark chocolate it is always best to take a piece and let it melt in your mouth to taste it properly. This may sound really pretentious and over the top but by doing this the cocoa butter melts in your mouth and lets you taste all the amazing flavours. If you just guzzle it down dark chocolate can just taste bitter and flavourless).
Really smooth obviously high quality chocolate. A very fruity chocolate which tastes of berries initially then the lime oil comes in followed by the ginger. The aftertaste left is the fiery ginger and the chocolate has a really good finish.
Overall – I’m happy to say I’m not disappointed at all. Delicious chocolate that works well with the ginger and lime pairing without being over powered. The rest of his range is on my to try list!
Product Review – Coco Gourmand Coconut Brittle
I am a big fan of nut brittles and have tried all different types. On of my favourite recipes is a peanut brittle cheesecake (which I will post next time I make it). I have never seen coconut brittle before though so I was intrigued to try Coco Gourmands home made offering. According to the back of pack it is inspired by a traditional Guadeloupe confection called ‘Dentelle de coco’. The ingredient list shows it is simply made with just sugar, butter, spices and lots of coconut!
Appearance wise it is a lot darker then you would expect from a caramel and looks almost chocolatey. It smells lovely though like spiced toffee. The texture is good, its hard (but not teeth shattering/trip to the dentist so) and melts into your mouth without any pieces sticking to your teeth.
The initial taste is the dark molasses caramel with a hint of warm spice coming through. Then comes the sweet and subtle coconut, which works really well. Caramel and coconut is definitely a flavour combination I’m going to use in my baking. This is a must try for any coconut fans out there.
Product Review – Barrettsridge Beer Bread
Happy belated Valentines everyone! I got an extra special Valentines delivery, even better then flowers. My Flavourly box. Flavourly is a company that ‘deliver deliciousness’. If you sign up you get sent a box of random foodie items every month. I’ve had all sorts from maple and bacon popcorn, to raspberry salad dressing. The boxes can be a bit hit and miss (Januarys seasonal ‘health kick fruit bars’ left a bit to be desired) but on the whole it’s a great mix of products and a brilliant way of keeping up with new food trends.
Amongst the goodies this month was an olive and rosemary beer bread mix by Barrett’s Ridge. I’m not usually one for instant mixes (as lets face it they usually don’t rise and taste like cardboard) but having being very pleasantly surprised with a cranberry and white chocolate muffin mix in a previous box I had quite high hopes.
Firstly it couldn’t be easier to make. You empty the mix into the bowl and add a 330ml bottle of beer. It fizzes up in a very satisfying way and smells amazing. A quick mix and you scrape into a loaf tin and pop straight I the oven for 45 minutes (no kneading, no proving). I also melted a little butter and brushed over the top, which I’m glad I did as it came out a lovely golden colour and made a better crust.
We had the bread warm from the oven with a generous slab of butter. Admittedly it looked a little flat and very ‘rustic’ but I would still be happy to show it off. First bite it tastes incredibly salty but that dies down as the other flavours come through. You get a slight background note of rosemary but nothing too overpowering which is good. It’s a very rich in flavor and slightly dense in texture so one slice is enough (even for me – the queen of carbs). I loved it but I can imagine it could be too salty for some people. I couldn’t really taste the beer, which is a shame as it did give an amazing aroma.
It is incredibly easy, and mess free to make. I was quite boring and just added the beer and made a loaf but if I bought a packet I would add nuts and seeds and make mini loaves or muffins. They also do a range of flavours such as chilli and garlic or Italian cheese. It is expensive at £6.95 but if you want fresh, warm bread with no hassle this is a great product.