Saturday, 19 March 2011

Indonesian 69

I'm missing the second half of the Italy v Scotland match to write this review of Willies "Indonesian 69". But it sounds like Scotland have the better of Italy! If you've been living in the outer solar system for the past couple of years then you can be excused for not knowing who Willie Harcourt-Cooze is. He is one of two or three truly artisan chocolate makers in the UK. Not only does he have his own cocoa plantation in Venezuela but he makes his own chocolate from bean to bar using equipment from the dark ages. Twelve years ago he and his wife, Tania, sold everything and bought a cacao plantation in Cloud Mountains of Venezuela. To read more about his exploits, his books and of course his chocolate visit Willie's Cacao website, click here

I picked up three bars of Willie's cacao on a recent outing to Waitrose and I couldn't resist whisking them off the top shelf before I had time to feel guilty! I think the packaging is unusual, with its different type sizes and fonts, which never fails to grab my attention. It is designed by the boys at the Taxi Studio a creative company based in Bristol. I also like the way the bar is divided up into two squares so you can have one now and another one later.

The Chocolate: For those of you who failed Geography GCSE, Indonesia is positioned between Australia and Thailand with Malaysia to the left. As I lived in that part of the world I should know! It did however come as a bit of a surprise to discover that Indonesia is the third largest cocoa producer in the world, according to a report in 2008.

The chocolate itself has a lovely soft and light aroma. The actual presentation isn't perfect with the surface pock marked with a few random holes but I'm gradually learning that this is not a major concern. The chocolate is a bit grainy on the tongue with a fruity and "caramel" bitterness in the background. The finish is also a little bit dry and chalky towards the end with a 'treacle' flavour coming through very late on. 

Personally I prefer a Venezuelan chocolate but I'm pleased that I've tasted this  unique piece of chocolate as it is totally different to anything I've tasted. Overall I give this bar 7/10 for its very distinctive and interesting flavours. The 80g bar was purchased from Waitrose at a cost of £3.05 which for a handmade product is a fair price. If you like Willis's Cacao you might also like to buy his latest book...

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