The monthly newsletter from the Tasting Club
Entertain YOU What’s got 80 chocolate pieces, 5 various nibbles and can keep up to 8 people deliciously amused for hours…? Find out on page 4
Don’t miss the
IN-STORE TASTING To celebrate National Chocolate Week there’ll be free tasting of two amazing chocolates in Hotel Chocolat stores all week! Details on page 6
The new borehole is now up and clearly running well – it has already helped raise 19,000 cocoa seedlings!
It has been a busy few months in Ghana’s Osuben Basin – what with our seedlings programme, reclaiming degraded lands, the new borehole and the new nursery project to name but a few...
So, we thought it high time we had a round up of news to see how we’re doing and we start with our longest running activity, the seedlings programme. This project allows farmers to replace their old cocoa trees and also expand their farms with more productive, new seedlings that we grow in nurseries across the region. We’re delighted to say that we’ve raised more seedlings this year than continued on page 8...
The Big Tasting
GIVEAWAY! We’ve got five fantastic tasting related prizes to give away, which will delight the foodie in you. See page 15 to enter
Letter from the
isiting the cocoa growing regions of Ghana, as we do on a regular basis, isn’t an easy trip by any means, but I do think that it is a real privilege. After all, there aren’t many people who have seen the manner in which 95% of the world’s cocoa is grown – on smallholdings just like those we see in Ghana. It’s even more of a privilege to see our Engaged Ethics programme in action and to be able to report back on its success. This year has been one of the most exciting we’ve ever had in Ghana, with a record number of cocoa seedlings being raised, the sinking of another borehole, the creation of brand new nursery, our mucuna project becoming self-sustaining and more. Plus, there’s an even more exciting announcement to come – but more on that in a couple of months time!
It’s even more of a privilege to see our Engaged Ethics programme in action and to be able to report back on it’s success.
Elsewhere in this edition you’ll find exciting news about what we’re up to for the up coming National Chocolate Week; there are details about brand new Hotel Chocolat stores opening (including the first Scottish store!); and we’ve got a great competition for you on page 15.
Until next month, happy tasting!
Is your Excellence Collection reserved? See page 4 for details
Simon Thirlwell Club News Editor
Send your letters to The Chocolate Tasting Club, Mint House, Royston SG8 5HL, or simply email me on firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
© The Chocolate Tasting Club plc 2011
Improve your chocolate knowledge
he rocher, or the rocher au chocolat to give it it’s full name, is a
traditional recipe with a hazelnut praline at it’s centre, covered in roasted hazelnut pieces and then enrobed in milk or dark chocolate. It is the crunchy shards of nut that give it it’s name – rocher being French for rock. It is thought to have originated in the Piedmont region of Italy, which is famed for its hazelnuts the world over. The word rocher has now been
somewhat hijacked by a certain foil-wrapped version, launched in 1982 and beloved of ambassadors everywhere… Here in the Tasting Club we have given the rocher our own special twist – concentrating solely on the crunch of the chopped nuts and combining them with one of two interesting additions, like chopped fruit, cinnamon or chilli – contrasted with the melt-away, yielding textures of chocolate.
This month’s Prize Draw
Winners D138 Classic Selection
prize draw winner is Mrs Sandra Bates from Henley-On-Thames who wins a Purist Pralines & Caramel Selection Next month’s prize is a White & Light Selection Sleekster Selection.
K71 Dark Selection prize draw winner is Mrs D Rose from Dorking who wins a Serious Dark Fix Selection.
Next month’s prize is a Signature Dark Selection.
prize draw winner is Catherine Fraser from Aviemore who wins a Cookie Choc Chip Giant Slab. Next month’s prize is a Purist Pralines & Caramel Collection.
P03 Purist Selection prize draw winner is Catherine Fraser from Aviemore who wins a Purist Collection.
LAST CALL FOR…
Excellence Excellence is our annual collection of the very best of the best – featuring nothing but the true chocolate superstars of the year. So get set for this dazzling display of chocolatier flair that is strictly a members-only affair.
rom Best Leading Chocolate and Fruity Creation to Most Moreish and Best Knock-Your-Socks-Off, there’s something in every Excellence category to delight… So get out the glad rags and prepare for the ‘Oscars’ of the chocolate world – it’s certainly not one to miss!
Most members are automatically eligible to receive The Excellence Collection and you will receive club update booklet notification before we send your Collection. To check yours is reserved please go to www.chocs.co.uk/ EXCELLENCE or call 08444 72 70 70.
Next month’s prize is a Purist Pralines & Caramel Collection.
– score by post or online at www.chocs.co.uk and you’ll be automatically entered into this prize draw
Entertaining with Chocolate
80 chocolate tasting pieces – serves up to 8
Three tasting adventures in one! Specially created to demystify the world of chocolate tasting – this ‘DIY’ tasting kit has all you need for a hugely enjoyable session of tasting and pairing. Featuring 10 different grades of chocolates and fascinating insider tips to have you tasting and pairing like experts. • Taste, compare and score 10 different chocolate grades like an expert • Draw out the flavours by pairing with salt crystals, nuts, fruit and cocoa nibs • Search for the ultimate chocolate and wine pairing with your wines (wines not included)
Available for £39.95 – including free delivery for Tasting Club members only
Order yours via Manage My Membership at www.chocs.co.uk/MMM or call 08444 72 70 70
There’ll be FREE tasting throughout Chocolate Week in Hotel Chocolat stores, as well as a special Tasting Event at the High Street Kensington store in London
Celebrate Chocolate Week As well as launching the take-home Chocolate Tasting Adventure, featured on page 5, Hotel Chocolat is celebrating National Chocolate Week with a range of exciting activities this year.
or those living within striking distance of London, there’s a special, one-off Chocolate Week Tasting Event in the High Street Kensington store on Friday 14th October. As one of the world’s few cocoa growing chocolate makers, Hotel Chocolat will also be appearing at Chocolate Unwrapped, which this year is being staged at Vinopolis in London on 15th and 16th October. Tasting Club Founder, Angus Thirlwell, will be there talking about the Engaged Ethics Cocoa Programme in Saint Lucia and there will be special video footage of cocoa farmers who have benefitted. But don’t despair if you’re nowhere near London, because every Hotel Chocolat store will be celebrating Chocolate Week with free tastings of two rather special chocolates. The first is the brand new 66% Rabot Estate dark chocolate made with the latest harvest from our own Saint Lucian cocoa plantation. The second is another 66% dark, but this one is made with cocoa from the legendary Sambirano Valley in Madagascar.
Angus told us, “I firmly believe that tasting chocolate should be a pleasure open to all, not just for those in the know, so I’m very excited about our new Chocolate Tasting Adventure. It provides everything one needs to start tasting like a pro – quite literally within minutes. I also see Chocolate Week as the perfect opportunity for us to help chocolate lovers further their knowledge – whether it’s via our take-home Chocolate Tasting Adventure, attending instore Tasting Events, coming to Chocolate Unwrapped, or simply by tasting our Rabot Estate chocolate in-store.” Happy Chocolate Week everyone! For more on Chocolate Unwrapped please see www.chocolate-week.co.uk/chocolateunwrapped For in-store Chocolate Tasting Events please see www.hotelchocolat.co.uk/ tastingadventures or call 08444 93 23 23
Summer Desserts RESULTS
Summer may well be long gone, but judging by your scores and comments, it was fun while it lasted! Not many of us chocolate lovers can resist a dessert, so when we combine both in our Summer Desserts collection, it’s utterly irresistible. So it proved with our top scoring chocolates beating even last year’s impressive scores. Perhaps the only surprise was that, with a menu full of absolute classics like Rhubarb Fool, Crème Brûlée, Tiramisu and more, it was Raspberry Mousse that scooped the top spot – and by quite a way. Then again, here in Britain you can’t get much more summery than the raspberry! 1. Raspberry Mousse by G Pereira 8.87 (42% scored 10/10) 2. Summer Berries by O Nicod 8.73 (34% scored 10/10) 3. Blueberry Bombe by O Coppeneur 8.68 (38% scored 10/10) 4. Rhubarb Fool by O Coppeneur 8.64 (34% scored 10/10) 5. Eton Mess by E Desmet 8.60 (38% scored 10/10) 6. Peach Melba by M Meier 8.59 (27% scored 10/10) 7. Raspberry Ripple by E Desmet 8.57 (43% scored 10/10) 8. Black Cherry Pannacotta by O Coppeneur 8.56 (35% scored 10/10) 9. Strawberry Trifle by E Desmet 8.56 (41% scored 10/10) 10. Crème Brûlée by O Coppeneur 8.55 (36% scored 10/10) 11. Tiramisu by E Desmet 8.44 (32% scored 10/10) 12. Neapolitan by K Kalenko 8.41 (28% scored 10/10) 13. Mango Sorbet by R Macfadyen 8.40 (28% scored 10/10) 14. Lemon & Passion Fruit Tart by R Macfadyen 8.22 (28% scored 10/10) 15. Chocolate & Orange Cheesecake by E Desmet 8.20 (22% scored 10/10) 16. Coconut Bombe by O Nicod 8.17 (24% scored 10/10) 17. Key Lime Pie by E Desmet 7.94 (27% scored 10/10) 18. Coffee & Hazelnut Ice by R Macfadyen 7.86 (20% scored 10/10)
1st RASPBERRY MOUSSE This extremely light and frisky recipe topped the score chart – with its creamy mousse cut through with zingy raspberry
2nd SUMMER BERRIES The quintessential flavours of a British summer helped Summer Berries scoop the runner-up spot
3rd BLUEBERRY BOMBE Made with lots of all-natural blueberries, it’s no wonder this one caused quite a stir with members! 7
continued from page 1
We’re delighted to say that we’ve raised more seedlings this year than ever before, a total of 163,700 to be precise. And the even better news is that there are only a few left...!
ever before, a total of 163,700 to be precise. The even better news is that there are only a few left, as we have just been through the rainy season – which is when farmers buy and plant out seedlings because they need lots of water in order to survive. Central to this record-breaking result is the success of our satellite nurseries, of which there are now 11, counting the three new arrivals this year. This network of smaller nurseries not only increases the number of seedlings that can be physically grown, but also means that they are much more accessible to farmers who do not live near the main nursery. This year we have also seen a continuation of the degraded lands scheme, whereby soil that has had all nutrients leached from it is made fertile once again. How is that done? By using mucuna bean plants that actually return vital nutrients to the soil – a tried and tested method that has been in use for centuries. This year eight farms were chosen and had their land cleared and planted with mucuna, which is then cut down before it flowers and allowed to rot. After that, we grew food crops on the land to prove to neighbouring farmers that it really did work! Mucuna beans, however, are relatively expensive and can be in short supply; which is why we have now established three mucuna farms on volunteered land that have already produced 200kg of beans for use on degraded lands – a fantastic example of a programme becoming truly self sustaining.
Just last month we broke the news that borehole number two was well under way on the equally exciting site of our brand new nursery centre on the main road near to Nkawkaw. Well, this month we can report that it is now up and running and has already proved its worth by helping to water 19,000 seedlings. Which, of course, means that our newest nursery is also up and running. During our last trip to Ghana, Stephen, Isaac and Bob (who are all part of The Green Tropics Group, our partners in Ghana) couldn’t wait to take us to show us this new site. Being on a major new road, they saw it as the perfect opportunity to reach even further with our seedlings programme and help cocoa farmers in other regions expand farms and replace old, unproductive trees. It seems they were right, because just about all of those 19,000 seedlings have been snapped up already. Finally, we’ll soon be trialling an innovative new way to reach cocoa farmers with advice and help – a weekly radio programme. We’ve already identified the most listened to local station, Oboama FM, and some of the most topical cocoa issues to cover in the first few shows. The first broadcast will hopefully happen very shortly, we’ll be sure to keep you updated on that and everything else that’s going on in Ghana in future issues.
Cocoa farmer Joseph (known as VIP man) watering seedlings; the new pump certainly looks hardwearing; VIP man with some new farming tools; the nursery site at Kwabenasasu; and a new nursery for this year in Praso village; cocoa farmers taking seedlings home; Osuben nursery manager, David, tests out the new borehole; filled bags waiting for cocoa beans at a satellite nursery. 9
Classic 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15.
Dark 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14.
Selection – D138
Double Cherry by JC Vandenberghe 8.82 (49% scored it 10/10) Honeycomb Praline by R Macfadyen 8.60 (32% scored it 10/10) Mango Mousse by E Desmet 8.51 (31% scored it 10/10) Piedmont Crunch by K Kalenko 8.46 (28% scored it 10/10) Soft Caramel by O Nicod 8.30 (27% scored it 10/10) Lemon & Passion Fruit by O Nicod 8.30 (33% scored it 10/10) Coffee Cheesecake by E Desmet 8.29 (33% scored it 10/10) Cookie Slice by R Macfadyen 8.26 (24% scored it 10/10) Feuilletine Milk Tasting Batons 8.24 (25% scored it 10/10) I ♥ Advocaat by R Macfadyen 8.23 (32% scored it 10/10) Margarita by K Kalenko 8.23 (31% scored it 10/10) Whisky Truffle by O Nicod 8.17 (34% scored it 10/10) Lychee Dream by O Coppeneur 8.11 (33% scored it 10/10) 50% Milk Tasting Batons 7.99 (17% scored it 10/10) Earl Grey by G Pereira 7.28 (11% scored it 10/10)
Selection – K71
Double Cherry by JC Vandenberghe 9.11 (48% scored it 10/10) Coffee Cheesecake by E Desmet 8.66 (27% scored it 10/10) Whisky Truffle by O Nicod 8.50 (44% scored it 10/10) Honeycomb Praline by R Macfadyen 8.49 (22% scored it 10/10) Piedmont Crunch by K Kalenko 8.45 (23% scored it 10/10) Cookie Slice by R Macfadyen 8.36 (25% scored it 10/10) Margarita by K Kalenko 8.35 (31% scored it 10/10) 71% Dark Tasting Batons, Mexico 8.34 (21% scored it 10/10) Lemon & Passion Fruit by O Nicod 8.31 (30% scored it 10/10) Mango Mousse by E Desmet 8.24 (18% scored it 10/10) Soft Caramel by O Nicod 8.12 (17% scored it 10/10) I ♥ Advocaat by R Macfadyen 8.05 (20% scored it 10/10) Lychee Dream by O Coppeneur 7.84 (18% scored it 10/10) Earl Grey by G Pereira 7.65 (13% scored it 10/10)
Elements 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.
Selection – S49
Piedmont Crunch by K Kalenko 8.62 (33% scored it 10/10) Feuilletine Milk Tasting Batons 8.59 (26% scored it 10/10) Honeycomb Praline by R Macfadyen 8.44 (33% scored it 10/10) Cookie Slice by R Macfadyen 8.34 (33% scored it 10/10) Neapolitan 8.14 (33% scored it 10/10) 50% Milk Chocolate 8.11 (23% scored it 10/10) Lemon & Passion Fruit by O Nicod 8.08 (41% scored it 10/10) Soft Caramel by O Nicod 7.81 (26% scored it 10/10) Earl Grey by G Pereira 7.39 (15% scored it 10/10) 71% Dark Batons, Mexico 7.20 (23% scored it 10/10)
Purist Selection results will appear in next month’s issue. 10
Have Your Say! Bouquet Lemon & Passion Fruit – Classic
Mmm! This one really stood out and packed a punch of gorgeous sharp, fruity, zesty zingy flavour.
Delia John, Bournemouth
Bouquet Soft Caramel – Classic The good news was that there were four of them. The bad news was that there were only four. I could have eaten a boxfull of them…
Gregory Hammond, Shrivenham
Brickbat Earl Grey – Classic I think I prefer my tea as it’s meant to be served. This didn’t work in my opinion.
Angie Wells, York
Bouquet Margarita – Classic Wow! Packs a punch but the orange shines through – perfect!!!
Gordon Smith, Machynlleth
Brickbat Margarita – Dark An extra shot of booze is sometimes a treat, but too much overwhelms the subtleties of the cocoa as in this case. After all, this is a chocolate – not a spirit – tasting club.
Jane Wright, London
Bouquet Cookie Slice – Dark I loved the combination of smooth praline and pieces of cookie. I must confess I didn’t share this one!
Jayne Baker, Woodbridge
Brickbat Soft Caramel – Elements Nice, but not in the same league as Salted Caramel!
Rachael Green, Suffolk
Bouquet Piedmont Crunch – Elements For me, the chocolate of the box. Wow. Wow. Wow. A fabulous combination.
Jennifer Hookway, Glasgow
Summer Desserts Comments This was my first special and my first go at scoring. What a way to break the ice. Fantastic on all fronts. Can’t wait for my next box! Carolanne Mason, Leeds I really enjoyed this selection, more than I expected as I’m generally a dark chocolate lover. It’s one of the best selections I’ve had from you. Julia Courtney, Barnet What an absolutely superb box of delights. All chocs were wonderful and were “ALL MINE”. Can you make another box as good as this one? I wonder. Thank you. Thank you. Patricia Faulkner, Fleet Strawberry Trifle – this was THE best chocolate ever tasted, my only regret is I didn’t try it first before handing the second one to my husband, he wouldn’t have got a look in if I’d known how divine this chocolate was beforehand. Mrs B Walker, Manchester Raspberry Mousse – mmmm... can’t believe a chocolate can be so fruity! Katie Mayhew, Ipswich
I’M DREAMING OF A... …whether you’re dreaming of a milk, dark or even a white Christmas this year, you’re sure to find your perfect match in one of the Club’s renowned collections.
hat’s because there are three sparkling collections to choose from this year – Classic, Dark and Elements. Each one is full of the festive flavours and seasonal colours that make it the must-have centrepiece for your Christmas table. With splashes of reds and greens on glossy shells and sparkling stars, glittering gold, a dusting of cranberry red and pure snowflake white… And featuring silky soft truffles with champagne and warming bourbon whisky; fruity ganaches with cranberries, mulled wine, plum and winter spices; meltin-the-mouth pralines; dreamy mousses, the crunch of nuts and more.
ALL DARK -The Dark Collection
NO ALCOHOL -The Elements Collection
It really wouldn’t be Christmas without it! For more information and to reserve yours now – www.chocs.co.uk/CHRISTMAS or call 08444 72 70 70.
You’ll never need to send another cheque to us when you use Easypay!
EASYPAY – Look what’s
The Benefits Using Easypay is exactly what it says – an easier way to pay for your Tasting Club chocolates using your debit or credit card. So if you haven’t already switched, here’s what you’re missing.
nce you sign up for Easypay, there’ll be no need to send us money or write and post cheques again – payment for the chocolates you receive will be automatic; which also means that you’ll never miss a box or have a delivery delayed through late payment. Plus, all of your Special Collections can also be charged to your Easypay account – and you can reserve multiple boxes too, without any up front payments. What’s more, switching to Easypay is also easy! Just go to ‘Manage my Membership’ at www.chocs.co.uk or call us on 08444 933 933.
It seems we’re not the only ones to have fallen for the exciting chocolates and the smart new look of our Tasting Club boxes…
otel Chocolat store managers have also been eyeing them up, and not just for their own personal consumption, they also wanted to have them in their stores which is why, by popular demand, you can now find the regular Tasting Club boxes in specially selected Hotel Chocolat stores, priced at £24. So why the difference between the store price and the Club price? It’s down to the way in which the Club works and the fact that we can achieve economies of scale and we pass on those savings to members, which just goes to underline the benefits of being a member! You can find Tasting Club boxes in these select stores – Bluewater, Birmingham, Cambridge, Gateshead, Manchester, Meadowhall, Milton Keynes, Moorgate, Norwich, Nottingham, Reading, Southampton, Trafford, Glasgow, Cardiff. 13
Hotel Chocolat Stores! Stepping into one of Hotel Chocolat’s stores is like stepping into a real adventure for the senses – from the soothing aromas of chocolate, to the subtle tones inspired by the beauty of the cocoa pod…
Our designer’s concept for the new Edinburgh store
In the run up to Christmas there are a clutch of brand new stores throwing open their doors – including the very first Hotel Chocolat store in Scotland! So wherever you are, you may well find that gorgeous chocolate is closer than you think.
The new store locations are: London – Euston Station Stratford Newbury Edinburgh London – Canary Wharf Taunton London – Soho Don’t forget, Club Members get a special 5% discount on Hotel Chocolat purchases, so make sure you take your membership card with you! For full details of all store locations, opening times and directions please see www.hotelchocolat.co.uk/stores
Research carried out at the University of Reading has shone new light on potential health benefits of eating chocolate.
imed at studying the effects of antioxidants contained in dark chocolate in vision and cognition, it involved 30 people divided into two groups. The first consumed dark chocolate (which contains cocoa flavanol antioxidants) and the second consumed white chocolate (which contains only trace amounts of cocoa flavanols). Two hours later, both groups were given a series of tests to measure vision and cognitive abilities. The results showed that there was indeed an improvement in the visual and cognitive performance of the dark chocolate eaters and no improvement in the white chocolate eaters’ abilities. But while this may well good news for dark chocolate, we all know the real reason for eating chocolate is that it tastes so good! But it’s really not great news for carrots… 14
The Big Tasting Giveaway Competition
With Christmas just around the corner and so many tasty treats on offer at the moment – we thought it was a great time for a big giveaway competition that will definitely make someone’s Christmas!
And we have four fantastic ‘foodie’ prizes for one lucky winner… Entertaining with Chocolate, The Cheese Tasting Adventure, a bottle of Hotel Chocolat Port for Chocolate and our exclusive Morning to Midnight Recipe Book – worth over £100!
HOW TO ENTER – in honour of the prizes you can win, just tell us which of the following is a type of COCOA, CHEESE, PORT and CHOCOLATE RECIPE. A. Colheita is type of B. Budino di Cioccolata is type of C. Oxford Isis is type of D. Porcelana is type of PLEASE PRINT
Name Member No. SEND your entry form to CTC Tasting Competition, Mint House, Royston SG8 5HL or enter ONLINE at www.chocs.co.uk/giveaway All entries must be received by 31st October. 15
Join us for our Chocolate Tasting Adventures
An evening created especially for chocolate lovers who would
like to take the first step in discovering more of their appreciation of chocolate. Events run on 4th Thursday of every month in our Kensington and Borough Market stores. To book: www.hotelchocolat.co.uk/tastingevents Tel: 08444 93 10 10
The latest News from The Chocolate Tasting Club