Choc-tastic news for confectionery in the UKCultureFood & Drinks
The arrival of March denoted not only the start of Lent, but also the unveiling of millions of Easter Eggs. At a time when chocolate overload is welcome and expected, it’s gratifying to find the nation’s favourite confection dominating not only our supermarket shelves, but also our newsfeeds.
The 1st Annual Hot Chocolate Festival
We may be a nation of tea and coffee drinkers but there’s only one soothing cuppa that it as indulgent as it is delicious: hot chocolate. Whether you like yours milky, flavoured or laced with an alcoholic pick-me-up, a steaming mug of chocolate is the ultimate comfort drink. Developed by the Mayas 2,000 years ago, the luxurious beverage has only now been awarded the prestige it deserves: the first annual Hot Chocolate Festival has finally launched in the UK.
Café proprietors have spent the past 12 months enjoying the enviable task of creating and perfecting a range of exclusive recipes especially for the festival. Running from 26th March until 6th April, offerings range from Chilli & Cherry to Lavender, Matcha & White Chocolate, and even Popcorn!
The festival’s promoters, Kokoa Collection, specialise in the preparation of “real hot chocolate” – pure, cocoa-rich chocolate melted into a smooth lava. There are almost 100 cafés taking part, all using Kokoa Collection’s award-winning products. A full list of participating venues can be found on their website, with locations as far afield as Edinburgh, Dorset, London, Birmingham, Leeds and Cumbria.
Paul A Young Launches “Bean to Bar” Chocolate – with a twist!
It’s not just liquid chocolate that’s inspiring innovation: the next big trend in chocolate-making is set to go beyond flavour combinations and limited edition ingredients. Chocolatier Paul A Young has defied convention by adding the shells of cocoa beans into his renowned confections.
He is the first chocolatier in Europe to produce a “bean to bar” without wastage: the shells are typically removed in a process called “winnowing” – a simple exercise with the machinery of major confectioners, but highly labour-intensive for artisan chocolatiers working with small batches.
It took Young several months to perfect his method, which blends three whole beans from Menakao in Madagascar – Criollo, Trinitario and Forastero – with the unusual ingredient of Demerara sugar. The resulting bars, a 73% and a 64%, have wonderfully nutty, fruity overtones and are now on sale in his London stores.