Duffy’s Newsletter June 2017
It’s the General Election tomorrow, in case you haven’t noted. I have no advice other than “please vote”. I say this even though I realise that on no occasion has the candidate I voted for ever won.
Summer seems to have arrived – some sun, more rain – and the Chocolate Studio is finally finished! We are still deciding on how to “dress” the space but the building work is done, the new kitchen installed, walls built, floor painted. Lindsay – aka Spire Chocolates – has moved in. We shall have a proper opening in the next few weeks after we have done trial-runs of some of the classes we will be offering. We’ve put some pictures up too. Swing by if you are in the area and knock on the door to 2E if 2D isn’t open.
There will be demonstrations, tastings, master classes, fun classes and parties. You’ll be able to learn how to make chocolate from bean to bar, how to make ganaches and truffles and how to temper chocolate. You can come and decorate chocolate lollies with the kids, make Xmas decorations or pair wine and chocolate. Keep an eye on the Duffy’s Chocolate Facebook page for details:
We’ve entered three competitions so far this year but none have yet released their results. We’ve entered the Moccachino milk chocolate and Oak-smoked salt and cocoa nibs milk chocolate in the UK-round of the International Chocolate Awards and in the Academy of Chocolate Awards. We’ve also entered the Nicaragua Chuno 70% and Oh Chuno 45% in both Awards – these beans and the bars we make from them are even better this year than they were when I last had them in 2014. No need to wait for somebody else to tell you how good they are you can take my word for it.
Matt Lindley has decided to write a book about the UK bean-to-bar chocolate makers. Like most people I thought there were about 10 of us here but Matt has been in touch with over 40 so far. The fine-chocolate movement is clearly starting to build and develop. He called in this week and we chatted chocolate, gossiped chocolate and tasted chocolate for an enjoyable couple of hours. Matt hopes to have the book written this year so when it comes out I will let you know. He’s already realising how nice the people in this business seem to be.
He even managed to find the factory as there is a sign outside the Chocolate Studio. Only taken me 7 years….
Of course 20 minutes after he left disaster struck. Sat here writing an email I heard a change in the noise coming from the conch room and ran to see what was happening. Too slow! The conch was still turning like a demented cement mixer – but it was facing backwards. About 20kg of chocolate ended up either on the floor or splattered across the conches, wall, filing cabinet or myself. What a waste! Interesting patterns of milk chocolate on a white wall though.
We have two large orders due to go out this week. One is a bunch of small bars made for the RSPB to publicise – and help fund – the work they are doing to protect the threatened wildlife in the Gola rainforest in Sierra Leone. The RSPB arranged to get the cocoa beans to me from Sierra Leone and I turned it into a 70% dark and a 50% milk chocolate. The chocolate had been made, moulded and wrapped and the bars will go out this week.
The RSPB are supporting the Goleagorbu Cocoa Producers Organisation and look to protect this biodiversity hotspot. They are helping 2000 farmers with training, equipment and technical support. If you see the chocolate buy it and if you want to support the project by Gola Carbon Credits at:
The other is a very large order going out to the great on-line shop and subscription service at Cocoa Runners.
They want a pile of Ecuador 43% milk chocolate bars. Luckily we’d finished moulding them and didn’t need the chocolate that ended up on the floor. And the walls, cables, white coats, shoes etc.
Two of our bars – the Nicaragua Chuno 70% and the Ecuador 83% have been reviewed by a new blog - I think she liked them both.
As usual I have picked a name out of the hat this week (Ray; he has been contacted) and he will get these bars. The Nicaliso deserves more attention than it gets and is a good, fruity comparison to the liquorice-notes Panama bar. Another bar of the Moccachino will also go out – now on the website.
The Nicaragua Nicaliso 72% dark chocolate
The Café Collection “Moccachino” 45% milk chocolate
The Panama Tierra Oscura 72% dark chocolate