The Sunday papers contained more worrying news for the High Street sector with plenty of companies showing signs of stress. A particularly startling statistic stated that 25,000 small business closed their doors this year. In the chocolate sector Thorntons position looks particularly sticky, no pun intended, whilst Hotel Chocolat are taking advantage of improved rents and opening new stores. I visited the Moorgate store recently and it's certainly much improved and brighter since they had the refit. I'm all for trade with Europe but I for one am glad that we didn't join the monetary part of the Eurozone. Even one of the guy's (Jacques Delors) who dreamt up the idea of a single currency is now having second thoughts!
Fortunately there are lots of positive ideas coming out of Europe and at least we can turn to Austria's Herr Zotter for some great and wacky chocolate ideas.
The Chocolate: This particular chocolate is not wacky, it's rare, very rare. The Criollo is the most vulnerable to disease and has the smallest yield. However, it has great aromatic qualities that make it very sought after. According to chocolate aficionados the modern 'Criollo' is a hybrid of Criollo and Trinitario. According to the blurb Zotter obtained this blend with 40% white Criollo beans of the Porcelana (a single genetic variety of cocoa beans, with more than 90% of Criollo genes) variety from the cocoa farmers of Aprocap in Peru. This cocoa was conched for 20 hours (Zotter's website states 20 minutes when the page is translated) Conching or kneading of the chocolate reduces acidity and allows aromas to develop. How long should you conch?
|2 x 35gr solid chocolate bars|
Organic and Fair Trade
I couldn't find any retailers in the UK that sold this chocolate as described so you may have to buy direct from Zotter, €3.25 plus postage. Buy online from Zotter. For a contrast you can buy two bars with different cocoa contents, one 60% and one 80% from Peru, from Green Tulip.