All posts tagged: chocolate

Tree to Bar Experience, St Lucia 

One of the many reasons I was excited about our stay at Boucan hotel in St Lucia was the ‘Tree to Bar’ experience. I’ve always appreciated good chocolate (I mean, who doesn’t?!) and learned a bit about the chocolate making process when I attended a class at Bake with Maria earlier last year. So to be able to get to experience it in the flesh in St Lucia was incredible! As I mentioned in my first post about Boucan, the hotel is owned by Hotel Chocolat and is located on the historic Rabot Estate. As you walk around the grounds, you’re constantly surrounded by cocoa trees, adorned with pretty red, yellow and purple pods, which will soon be made into chocolate. We were given a tour by our expert guide Merle who was incredibly knowledgeable, walking us through the whole process from planting the trees and their maintenance on the estate, through to sorting the beans and making the choccie! We were shown how to carefully pick the pods from the trees, making sure the …

The Chocolate Show, London – My Top 5

Last month I paid a visit to The Chocolate Show in Kensington with my friend Laura. A whole show full of chocolate? Surely it can’t get much better than that?! There was so much to see and so many different types of chocolate that it would be impossible to write about it all. So I thought I’d give my highlights through a Top 5. Here we go, in no particular order… Paul A Young  I’ve been a fan of Paul A Young’s ridiculously amazing chocolate for a while now, as Tim has bought me an Easter Egg from his shop in the City for the past few years. It’s not the cheapest chocolate by any means, but it’s definitely worth it. I was excited to see the man himself at the show, and he and his team were making delicious gooey brownies which you could smell from far away. We were pretty much lured over by the divine scent! You can find out more about Paul A Young here. 2. Marou Vietnamese Chocolate They say …

Win Tickets to The Chocolate Show in London!

Chocoholics – ASSEMBLE! The Chocolate Show is taking place at London’s Olympia National Hall from 16th-18th October 2015 and I’ve got a pair of tickets to give away! Bringing the UK’s ‘Chocolate Week’ to a close, the show will bring together over 60 British and international participants all under one roof: artisans, iconic brands, chefs and cocoa experts, sharing their passion for chocolate and demonstrating their favourite chocolate recipes. Highlights will include the Bean to Bar Factory, a children’s area hosted by the award-winning musical Charlie & The Chocolate Factory, as well as a pop-up dessert bar hosted by renowned French chocolate maker Valrhona, and cocktails with a patisserie twist from Cosy. The best chocolate companies from the UK and around the world will also be exhibiting, such as Hotel Chocolat, Paul A Young, Rococo, Willie Harcourt-Cooze and many more. You can find out more about the show on the website here. I’ll be attending and I just can’t wait!! To be in with a chance of winning, enter in one of the following ways: Facebook: …

Mississippi Mud Pie for 4th July

For the past few years, I’ve always made some kind of pudding to celebrate 4th July. Yes, I know I’m British, but a lot of my friends and ex-colleagues are American. And hey, any excuse to make a cake, right? This year I thought I’d have a go at a Mississippi Mud Pie. But I have to confess. This ended in disaster… I haven’t had a baking disaster for a while, so it was extremely frustrating! I followed a recipe from The Telegraph, with the exact ingredients, measurements and so on. However, after over 40 minutes of being in the oven, I could tell that the inside was still quite wobbly. I left it to cool for 20 minutes but could tell it was clearly undercooked. I put it back in the oven for another 15 minutes but the inside was still gloopy! At this stage I was running out of time and didn’t really have a choice, so I took it out and as expected, the thing completely fell apart. The issue is clearly …

Inside The Factory – TV Review

When I saw some fellow foodies talking about BBC’s ‘Inside The Factory’ programme on Twitter, I knew I’d have to watch it. Especially as they mentioned that one episode would be about the Nestlé factory in York. I used to live near it, and knew a few people who worked there. But I’m also very aware of the ethical controversy surrounding the company and I wondered if this would be mentioned. ‘Inside The Factory’ is a BBC documentary-style programme, presented by Gregg Wallace and Cherry Healey. Each of the three episodes focuses on a different kind of factory – bread, chocolate and milk, respectively. It seemed like quite an odd choice of subject matter for a documentary given the current focus on fresh, healthy food ‘straight from the field/farm’. Seeing the raw products being delivered to the factory fresh and then going through hundreds of processes, it made the bread, chocolate and milk feel extremely ‘manufactured.’ That’s not to say that the processes were harmful or any nasties were being added to the products, but seeing them …

All Things Chocolate At ‘Bake With Maria’

Now I’ve always loved chocolate (who doesn’t?) and I’ve cooked with it many times, but I have to admit that I didn’t have a great understanding of the whole chocolate making process. So when I was invited to attending a chocolate class at ‘Bake With Maria’, I was really excited to expand my knowledge of this area. The class was held at a baking lab based in St John’s Wood, owned by Maria Mayerhofer. The lovely Maria explained how she started out teaching people how to bake bread at her home (shutting her partner away in the bedroom while the classes took place!) and the popularity of these classes led to her opening the Baking Lab in 2011. They have just introduced chocolate-making classes, hosted by Annamarie Jones, a pastry chef and chocolatier, originally from San Diego. Here she is, introducing us to her very own (albeit slightly tired!) cacao tree, Corky. To begin with, Annamarie explained where our chocolate comes from. The Forastero tree yields around 70% of the world’s chocolate, found in the …

Cakes at Violet Bakery, Hackney

My lovely friend Ceri let me know about a bakery in Hackney, fairly close to where I live, that she thought I’d like. She works in publishing and they recently published the cookbook for it – ‘The Violet Bakery Cookbook‘. I was lucky enough to be given a copy, which I’ll be giving away as a competition prize on my social media channels early next week, so keep your eyes peeled! I was planning to meet my friend, Laura, for lunch today, so we thought we’d check out the bakery. It was a stunning day today, barely a cloud in the sky, so it was the perfect day to visit.     The Violet Bakery is situated on a side street (Wilton Way) parallel to the main road between Dalston Junction and Hackney Central overground stations. And you could easily miss it, with its neutral white walls and small entrance… if it wasn’t for the massive queue leading out of the door, and the groups of people dotted around it! This was clearly a popular …