Issuu on Google+

Club News

The monthly newsletter from the Tasting Club

Issue 1212

“You do what?” It seems that members have all sorts of ways of tackling their monthly tasting boxes. Have we covered you? Find out on page 7

You’re Going to Need bigger stockings...

Christmas stockings that is! Find out what’s on the menu for the festive celebrations. See pages 12 & 13

Baby pods and cocoa flowers growing as a result of skilful hand pollination at the Pankese research centre

what’s new at

Pankese?

Cocoa research is important to Ghana – its economy depends upon it! Which is why Terry visited the cocoa research centre at Pankese during his recent trip and here’s what he found out.

1212NL

In fact, this was the second time both Terry and Adam had visited the cocoa research station – Terry having been in 2005 and Adam in 2010. This time they were accompanied by Robert and Isaac from our partners in Ghana, the Green Tropics Group (GTG). Cocoa is the only agricultural crop that still receives research funding from the government – not surprising when the annual production figure is 1 million tonnes... continued on page 8...

Ghana Appeal Target:

£45,000 If you would like to contribute to the Appeal to fund the Osuben Medical Clinic (CHPS) please send a cheque for whatever amount you can give made payable to the Cocoa Farmers’ Fund and send to CTC Ghana Appeal, FREEPOST ANG10659, Royston, SG8 5YD

Current Amount:

£3,480


Letter from the

Editor

C

ocoa research is extremely important to Ghana, whose economy depends on cocoa! At its forefront is the Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG), which has been looking after cocoa development since independence in 1957. And dotted across the cocoa producing regions are 28 satellite stations that help with this research. I’ve been to a couple in my various trips to Ghana, but by far the most memorable is Pankese – a beautifully tranquil place where green overall-wearing workers walk quietly in the wide groves of trees. So I’m pleased read in our main article this month about some exciting research being done there and I look forward to return visit in the near future.

Whenever we return, as we always do during every trip, we are greeted by friendly, smiling faces, hands to shake and genuine warmth.

And finally, you’ll also find a follow up to our recent ‘How Do Eat Yours’ article on page 7 – it seems there are a few other types of taster out there we may have missed! Until next month, happy tasting!

Simon Thirlwell Club News Editor The latest Christmas Selection is on page 4

Send your letters to The Chocolate Tasting Club, Mint House, Royston SG8 5HL, or simply email me on simon@hotelchocolat.co.uk or via our website: www.chocs.co.uk We are waiting to hear from you! Club News Editor: Simon Thirlwell; Contributors: Simon Thirlwell, Terry Waters.

2

© The Chocolate Tasting Club plc 2012


What exactly is a

mocha

N

owadays, if you were to say ‘mocha’

to somebody it would almost certainly bring to mind a drink made with a blend of chocolate and coffee. However, that is only part of the story. Mocha is in fact a type of Arabica coffee bean native to Yemen and Ethiopia, named after a port on the Red Seas coast of Yemen from which it was shipped. Mocha, the port, became a major coffee marketplace as early as the 15th century and continued to be so for 200 years. It’s said that Marco Polo encountered the mocha coffee bean and

returned to Europe with it, although that remains unsubstantiated. What is known is that the mocha coffee bean was prized for its fine, distinctive flavours, as it still is today. How and when mocha became more usually associated with a mix of chocolate and coffee is lost in the mists of time, although it would most certainly have been as a result of European influence – the place where both chocolate and coffee drinks became popular at around about the same time in the 17th century.


Winners

This month’s Prize Draw

Classic Selection Prize draw winner is Mrs J Helmore from Penzance who wins a Classic Signature Collection. Next month’s prize is a Munch & Nibble Selection.

LAST call for…

Dark Selection Prize draw winner is Mrs A Ellender from Sheffield who wins an Extreme Dipping Adventure. Next month’s prize is a Serious Dark Fix Selection.

Elements Selection Prize draw winner is Ms S Dunn from Newcastle who wins a Cookie Choc Chip Giant Slab. Next month’s prize is a Triple Chocolate Wham Bam Giant Slab.

Purist

Selection

Prize draw winner is Ms M Perris from Cheltenham who wins a Rare Collection. Next month’s prize is a Super Boosters Desk Pot.

All Milk

Selection

Mrs E Stewart from Uckfield who wins a Dipping Adventure. Next month’s prize is Oysters & Champagne.

Don’t forget

4

WHAT’S oN YOUR CHRISTMAS LIST? Whatever kind of Christmas you’re dreaming of, you’ll find something gorgeous in our range of Christmas special editions for under your tree, in your stocking, or simply to pass around and share. The time for celebrating with friends, for the gathering of families and for giving and receiving is fast approaching – which is exactly why we’ve brought together some of our favourite festive special editions that are great to have around the home at Christmas and they make rather exclusive gifts too! Just turn to pages 12 & 13 to see all of the festive luxuries we have in store for you. And if you have a few gifts to buy this year, or you’ve got a full house, then watch out for our ‘Multi-Buy’ offer leaflet, where you’ll find some great Christmas Bundles on offer – also available online at www.chocs.co.uk/ membersonly To check yours is reserved please go to www.chocs.co.uk/CHRISTMAS or call 08444 933 933.

– score by post or online at www.chocs.co.uk and you’ll be automatically entered into this prize draw.


DON’T MISS OUT ON OUR COSIEST SPECIAL YET

Winter Puddings

Winter Puddings is our deliciously cosy special edition inspired by the puddings we know and love – from crumbles and cobblers, to steamed puddings, brownies and more. Including 30 gorgeously comforting chocolates and a set 10 exclusive specially created recipe cards that will have you wishing for the chilly weather to arrive sooner! Reserve yours now for delivery in November for just £18 (plus £3.95 P& P) at www.chocs.co.uk/winter or call 08444 933 933


ROAST+CONCH wins ‘Best in Europe’

design award We’re delighted to announce that Hotel Chocolat has won the grand prize at this year’s Retail Week Interior Awards – the Retail Interior of the Year – for its flagship Roast+Conch store in Covent Garden.

T

his jewel in the industry’s crown took place on 27th September at London’s Park Lane Hotel, where 700 top retailers and designers gathered to hear the results. Roast+Conch is Hotel Chocolat’s new Covent Garden store that encompasses all the company does under one roof – with daily cocoa bean roasting and ultra fresh, small batch chocolate making in a theatre kitchen, as well as a café menu and Hotel

Boucan Has the X-Factor We all know that Boucan Hotel & Restaurant, set on Rabot Estate in Saint Lucia, has a certain ‘je ne sais quoi’… but recently they had a little bit more of that x factor…

You’ll find Roast+Conch at 4 Monmouth St, in the Seven Dials area of Covent Garden

Chocolat’s exclusive brewed cocoa drinks. Hotel Chocolat CEO (and Club Founder) Angus Thirlwell said, “Roast+Conch Covent Garden takes our design ethos to another level – being a restful sanctuary for our guests, while also strongly reflecting the fact that we are one of the world’s few cocoa growing chocolatiers. We are absolutely delighted that our vision has been recognised with such a high profile award.”

A

nd if you’re a fan of X Factor, then you’ll know already what we’re talking about. Because, as the competition nears its closing stages, different groups of contestants head off with their judge’s and this year the ‘girls’ jetted off to Saint Lucia with their pop star judge, Tulisa. Naturally, they wanted to visit the island’s oldest cocoa plantation and most stylish hotel – so how could we say no! They all took part in the Tree-to-Bar Experience, which explains all about how cocoa grows, and then they all had a go at making chocolate and tasting chocolate – which they seemed to enjoy by all accounts! You might have seen them having a great time on the Xtra Factor on ITV2.

All lined up and ready to taste – ‘the girls’ of X Factor in Boucan Restaurant

6


How do you eat yours? The members reply! A few months ago we posed the question, how do you go about eating your monthly tasting box? We even suggested that years of ‘research’ had revealed four distinct groups of tasters – The Conformists, The Nibblers, The Anarchists and The Beauticians. It seems we might have started something… The Beautician I am definitely The Beautician. But the first thing I do when opening my box of chocolates is to draw a deep breath to inhale the tantalising aroma! Then I make a lingering survey and sometimes refer to the menu before taking my first choice – always a difficult decision! Best wishes Celia THE SCORER When it comes to eating my lovely box I read all the bits that come with it, then open and have a lovely sniff and a look to see what beautiful designs and patterns are there to be enjoyed. I usually try to have just one after lunch, but don’t always succeed – and curiosity gets the better of me. Then I work out from the list, which I am most likely to give a 10 to, and which might come lower – so I start with the ‘doubtfuls’ and then work upwards. I get some surprises that way. Then, I go back again and eat from my list from the bottom scorers upwards so I can end with my favourite one(s). Mrs P Elliott THE ANARCHIST, THE CONFORMIST AND THE BEAUTICIAN! We couldn’t have a better description than ‘Anarchist’ for my husband. It describes his tasting experience exactly. My experience is a bit different as I fall into 2 categories – The Conformist and The Beautician. I always look at the menu first to see what is in the box (By this time my husband has already eaten 3 and is telling me all about them) and then I look into the box and see just which one takes my fancy. Best Wishes Maureen Wood

The Planner Whilst I applaud the research done into how people eat their tasting boxes, I feel you have missed out an important group, one I would consider myself part of; the planners. When I get my box the menu is scanned and descriptions read. Then an order is formed, complimentary chocolates will be consumed together (don’t want to follow something nice and light with a “blow your socks off” liqueur one now do we?); ones are marked for first and last consumption (usually saving the best until last – or a bad day at work, whichever comes first); the ones I can have for a cheeky chocolate hit while I’m cooking dinner; the ones to have after dinner. The meals I need to make to perfectly compliment the after dinner chocolate! Your chocolates are an art form so the way that they are consumed must be too! Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a new box to organise... Jen Reynolds The MIXTURE I’m a mixture! I always consult the menu first, look carefully at them all and then pick something I fancy at the time. Also, I try to save one of each kind until I’ve tried them all. What does that say about me?! Jill Wilson

Do you have anything to add? Let us know at simon@hotelchocolat.co.uk 7


1

2

3

4


cover story – continued

What’s New AT

Pankese? “ ”

These improved strains of cocoa produce a greater number of pods, a larger bean and they are more resistant to pests and disease

... and at the typical market price of $2,500 per tonne means it earns Ghana $2.5 billion in exports. In fact it will be a somewhat higher figure than that as Ghanaian cocoa is considered to be higher quality than average and receives a premium – which is due to research stations like Pankese. The main purpose of the research stations is to produce ever more productive strains of cocoa and sell the beans and seedlings to cocoa farmers, thereby enhancing the national crop. Indeed, GTG typically buys 30,000 beans a year from Pankese to grow into seedlings as part of our ongoing seedlings programme. These improved strains of cocoa produce a greater number of pods, a larger bean and they are more resistant to pests and disease. The process of producing them at Pankese involves lots of hand pollination and meticulous record keeping to identify the results over many years as the trees bear fruit. On this trip, there were two aspects of the research which were particularly interesting. Firstly, they had started to use finer Trinitario cocoa cuttings for grafting, whereas previously at Pankese they had used the hardier Forastero strain. This would indicate a move to improve the quality of the cocoa and not just the quantity. Secondly, the method of grafting was different – it involved taking a piece of Trinitario bark about 3cm long, cutting a similar shape out of the host Forastero plant about 6cm up the stem from the ground and binding

it in position to cover the exposed area. The seedlings are checked after a week or so and as soon as a new shoot has grown from just above the binding, the stem above it is cut leaving only the new shoot. The resultant tree will have the characteristics of the Trinitario bark rather than the Forastero rootstock. Also of interest at Pankese are the 4-way drying tables, which slide out north-eastsouth-west to maximise the usage of a single roof. And another demonstration of Ghanaian efficiency occurred when our driver, James, collected some nettles for soup while waiting for us (nettle soup being a great favourite in Ghana), wrapped them in a large leaf, then tied it with some binding from another plant – totally biodegradable packaging! As we walked through the meticulously kept grounds at Pankese we saw another example of sustainability in the coffee bushes growing at the edge of the cocoa groves. Coffee thrives on more marginal land than cocoa and it is grown at Pankese as a cash crop – to provide income for the research station and save taxpayers’ money. Additionally, there were several fields of maize, which is grown purely to feed the research staff. Two ideas that the British government would do well to consider – although we can’t quite see it happening!

Clockwise from top left – Terry observes hand pollination at Pankese; The entrance to Pankese Research Station; Step-by-step grafting technique; The four-way drying tables; Husband and wife team at Pankese; Labels pinned to pollinated flowers to identify the parentage; Hand pollinating; Adam and Robert get the grafting know-how; James with his ecologically wrapped nettles; Fermentation boxes.

9


scores

Classic Selection – D152 No. Chocolate Name

Chocolatier

10/10

Average

1

Crème Brûlée

E Desmet

37%

8.5

2

Raspberry Romp

R Macfadyen

34%

8.1

3

Grand Marnier Truffle

R Macfadyen

30%

8.2

4

Costa Rica Coffee

O Nicod

29%

8.2

5

Caipirinha

R Macfadyen

28%

8.0

Chocolatier

10/10

Average

Crème Brûlée

DARK Selection – K85 No. Chocolate Name 1

Crème Brûlée

E Desmet

33%

8.5

2

Grand Marnier Truffle

R Macfadyen

32%

8.6

3

Raspberry Romp

R Macfadyen

28%

8.2

4

75% Dark Tasting Batons

The Tasting Club

27%

8.4

5

Whisky Truffle

G Pereira

27%

8.4

Crème Brûlée

Elements Selection – S63 No. Chocolate Name

10/10

Average

1

Caramel Milk Chocolate

Chocolatier The Tasting Club

46%

8.7

2

Costa Rica Coffee

O Nicod

32%

7.9

3

Neapolitan

The Tasting Club

31%

8.2

4

Raspberry Romp

R Macfadyen

25%

8.1

5

Light Bite

G Pereira

21%

8.1

10/10

Average

Caramel Milk Chocolate

purist Selection – p17 No. Chocolate Name

Chocolatier

1

100% with Golden Raisins Bûche

The Tasting Club

50%

8.9

2

Vanilla Praline & St Lucia Nibs

The Tasting Club

36%

8.8 8.8

3

70% Chuao & Ginger Dark Chocolate

The Tasting Club

23%

4

75% Los Vasquez Dark Chocolate

The Tasting Club

20%

8.4

5

66% Sambirano Dark & Almonds

The Tasting Club

20%

8.3

10/10

Average

100% with Golden Raisins Bûche

ALL MILK Selection – M07 No. Chocolate Name

10

Chocolatier

1

Grand Marnier Truffle

R Macfadyen

35%

7.9

2

Light Bite

G Pereira

27%

8.6 8.3

3

Velvet Bites

K Kalenko

27%

4

Caipirinha

R Macfadyen

27%

7.2

5

Costa Rica Coffee

O Nicod

19%

8.1

Grand Marnier Truffle


feedback

Your Tasting Comments! Caipirinha – Classic This is the one for me, a whole crate load would not go amiss. Lauren Seymour, Farnham

Bouquet

Crème Brûlée – Classic Creamy, dreamy. Rather than marking others down this was a 12. Karen Newland, Portsmouth.

Bouquet

Bouquet 75% Dark Batons, Dominican Republic – Classic I found that these tasted better ‘just out of the fridge’ – the snap and crunch were that much better ‘cold’ and the flavours came through when it melted on your tongue! Leanore Jack, London

Caipirinha – Classic Victory Vs and Benilyn mixed. I need enjoyment not medication! Pam Livesy, Bolton Spiced Banana – Dark On description thought this would be my least favourite, but it blew my socks off! Best chocolate I’ve tasted in years. Sarah Kimberley, Hinckley

Brickbat

Bouquet

Bouquet Summer Cider – Dark Superb Summer Cider! Please sell these in your shops – I live 70 miles away from your nearest shop but would go there for these! Lauren Seymour, Farnham Brickbat Spiced Banana – Elements These flavours may have worked as a dessert, but I don’t think it’s a success as a chocolate. Angela McAllister, Ayr

Velvet Bites – Dark Short on chocolate and misnamed – should have been called micro-bites. Sandra Lunt, Cambridge

Brickbat

Neapolitan – Elements I loved how the flavours blended in so lovely together. Three fantastic flavours individually and fabulous together as well! Anna Banton, Crawley

Bouquet

Raspberry Romp – Elements A lovely, summery, raspberry zing tempered by the light creamy finish. David Chaproniere, Ashford

Bouquet

11


! ble

av - bu aila y

Ulti sa vingsM

Look what’s on the menu

this Christmas

Christmas isn’t just a season full of gorgeous flavours and aromas, it’s also a time for celebrating and entertaining with friends and family, as well as for giving and receiving. Thankfully, you’ll find everything you’ll need for a blissful Christmas in our array of Christmas boxes – you just might need some bigger stockings to stuff them into this year!

Christmas Collections CLASSIC collection A stunning Christmas feast full of festive colours and flavours with something for everyone in 38 filled chocolates, 4 solid chocolate shapes and 2 mini Yule logs – from Christmas classics like Mulled Wine, Eggnog and Gingerbread; and our twist on Christmas Cake and the Alternative Mince Pie; to mellow Fig & Honey, sparkling Champagne Truffle and more.

Illustration much reduced. 436mm x 219mm. Total Net Weight: approx 550g.

All Milk – full of nothing but mellow milk chocolate with an irresistible Christmas twist. Featuring 38 filled chocolates, 4 solid chocolate shapes and 2 mini Yule logs full of festive flavours.

Dark Collection – specially created for those who love the deeper flavours of dark chocolate. Featuring 38 filled chocolates, 4 solid chocolate shapes and 2 mini Yule logs full of festive colours and flavours.

Elements Collection – our alcohol-free collection that is bursting with Christmassy flavours and festive colours. Featuring 2 chocolate slabs, 4 solid chocolate shapes, 2 mini Yule logs and 24 filled chocolates. Members-only price – just £28.95 each (including delivery)


Special Editions Classic Excellence for Christmas By popular demand we’re releasing a special batch of Classic Excellence for Christmas – our annual best of the best collection. Last year’s special remake sold out, so if you’d like one to enjoy with the family, or as an exclusive gift – please reserve as soon as you can!  28 best of the best chocolates and 6 winning batons  Special release for Christmas  Available by PRE-ORDER only  Members-only price – just £18.95 (including delivery) Illustration much reduced. 340mm x 178mm. Total Net Weight: approx 390g.

The Fortified selection Don’t miss the next delicious instalment of this quarterly selection devoted to premium liqueurs, alcohols, fortified wines and more, perfect for enjoying with your feet up – including fine Tawny Port, Highland Whisky Truffle, Mojito Cocktail, warming St Remy Brandy and exclusive Kaszebe Vodka and more.   28 of our booziest recipes   Featuring premium alcohols and liqueurs   Includes a set of exclusive Provenance Cards   Members-only price – just £19.95 (including delivery) Illustration much reduced. 432mm x 178mm. Total Net Weight: approx 330g.

Winter Puddings Our cosiest collection to date is just made for the crisp days and chilly evenings of Christmas and features the most comforting recipes inspired by a whole host of puddings we know and love – from crumbles and cobblers, to custard, steamed puddings and more.   30 chocolates (3 each of 10 recipes)   Specially created for winter warming   Plus an exclusive set of 10 recipe cards   Members-only price – just £21.95 (including delivery) Illustration much reduced. 340mm x 178mm. Total Net Weight: approx 330g.


scores

SAY HELLO TO… A few issues back we challenged members to name this poor little Steiff bear and win him – as he has lost his certificate and is therefore not a collectible bear anymore. But he’s clearly still wanted, because we were inundated with entries and quite a few of you were thinking along the same lines, as you can see from our top 10 suggestions below. There were 10 Angus’s suggested, Simon was suggested three times and Terry was the choice of one member – they’ve all drawn their own conclusions from that! But there can be only one winner and that is MR TRUFFLES. We thought it suited him down to the ground, so congratulations to the very appropriately named Miss B Luck of Saffron Walden – Mr Truffles is on his way to you …do let us know how he settles in! There were nearly 500 entries in the Name the Bear Competition and these were the top 10 most popular. No. 1 2

14

Bear Name Cocoa Coco

Number of Entries

PLANETS SCORES We boldly went where no chocolatier had gone before and the results speak for themselves – it was clearly an out of this world experience! Thank you to everyone for taking the time to spend in your scores and comments, hopefully to the soundtrack of the limited edition Holst’s Planets also included. As you can see, it was the planet of love that stole your hearts – or perhaps it was the splash of champagne and dash of orange juice in the Buck’s Fizz Truffle…?

No. Chocolate Name

Chocolatier

10/10

Average

1

Venus

G Pereira

35%

8.4

2

Earth

O Nicod

34%

8.5

3

Mars

E Desmet

31%

8.6

4

Jupiter

R Macfadyen

30%

8.5

5

Pluto

K Kalenko

29%

8.4

6

The Sun

The Tasting Club

27%

8.2 8.3

28

7

Neptune

R Macfadyen

26%

21

8

Uranus

T & R Gysi

22%

8.1

Saturn

G Pereira

18%

8.3

K Kalenko

18%

6.8

3

Chocky/Choccie

19

9

4

Truffles

18

10 Mercury

5

Chocolate

15

6

Nibs

14

7

Choco/Chokko

13

8

Theo/Theobromine

11

9

Angus

10

10

Charlie

8

Venus

Earth

Mars


news

With prices for some cocoa beans reaching $6,000 per tonne thieves are now targeting even small farmers.

Cocoa bandits Recent reports from madagascar have highlighted a brand new and very dangerous problem that cocoa farmers are facing – bandits. As reported recently in The Sunday Times, soaring demand for premium chocolate has fuelled a huge price increase for fine cocoa in the last few years. Some traders are paying ten times the average market price for these premium beans. Unfortunately, the money at stake in Madagascar has now attracted bandits, who are raiding cocoa stores and hijacking deliveries of these sought-after beans. They then sell the beans on to exporters – a truckload of this fine flavour cocoa can be worth as much as £22,000. In recent weeks, there have been fatal clashes between farmers and bandits in Southern Madagascar, something the resource starved police can do little about. Some farmers have banded together to form their own defence units, but with the price of their cocoa at such a high, the temptation to steal it is also high. We hope that the Madagascan police can respond and gain control, in the meantime, we will continue to ensure that our chocolate and cocoa come from only responsible suppliers and ethical sources. Ghanaian cocoa, although of a high standard, is predominantly Forastero cocoa and therefore not classified as ‘fine’. This, and the centralised buying system in place, means that theft is thankfully not a problem in Ghana. However, some does disappear over the border to Ivory Coast from time to time.

SHORTLISTED FOR WORLD CLASS MANUFACTURING AWARD Our chocolate manufactory IN Huntingdon is a shortlist finalist for the Manufacturer of the Year Awards 2012. Hosted by the leading trade journal, The Manufacturer, the annual awards cover many categories and attract entrants from across the spectrum of businesses of all sizes. The World Class Manufacturing Award will be given to the manufacturing company or plant that, in the opinion of the judges, best demonstrates that it is trying to achieve world class manufacturing standards. Hotel Chocolat has been nominated alongside other businesses such as Herman Miller and Molson Coors Brewing Company. The judges will be looking for ‘evidence of benchmarking against best practice’ and will examine measures like lead times, customer returns, work content, labour minutes per unit, inventory levels and cycle times, as well as checking that action has been taken for continuous improvement.’ We hope they’ll also be tasting some of the chocolates too! The awards will be held in London on 21st November – fingers crossed! 15


Sarah Maingot PHOTOGRAPH BY

Welcome to the

Season of Wonder Shop the complete Christmas Collection at hotelchocolat.co.uk 08444 93 13 13


Club news D156