TAILS OF A TRAVELLING CAT
Greetings, humans! And welcome back to the Vegan Edition, I’m sure you’ve missed it! Those of you who like chocolate, you’re in for a treat today as we visited Ethicoco, the ethical, vegan, natural chocolate company for their annual open day. We set off with high hopes of touring a chocolate factory and whatever excitement might come with this, but it turned out this wasn’t to be the case.
The chocolate factory was in fact a port-a-cabin and the open day was held under many poly-tunnels nearby. Although not what we expected, this wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, there was still a chocolate shop and a live demonstration. Oh, and a free vegan BBQ so all was good.
We arrived at lunch time so tucked into a couple of burgers from the BBQ first, and then headed over to the most important section: the chocolate shop.
Here, six fantastic flavours were laid out for our sampling pleasure, bars of which were on sale, as were a selection of other flavours which sadly weren’t on offer to try.
After careful and considered sampling of each bar, the humans made their purchases, caffe mocha, strawberry white cacao and classic cacao. All the flavours on offer were divine, so I’ll provide a breakdown of them for you, as related to me by the humans, who thought they knew best.
Strawberry cacao was a particularly smooth and palatable bar, vegan white chocolate made with rice instead of dairy and real strawberries. It was strongly resonant of Angel Delight for those who remember that from their childhood (unless of course you have been vegan from a young age and so never had this, frankly, quite bizarre dessert). This was one of the bars Charlie bought, I approved because it was a pink as me!
Next up was classic cacao. This was a milk chocolate, this time using oats and barely instead of rice. It was beautifully smooth and creamy, not bitter like a dark bar, but still with a chocolaty taste. So good the humans bought a bar each.
Next in line was matcha white cacao. This was another rice base, containing actual matcha green tea, and it was green perhaps the best thing about it. Not quite as good as pink, but nearly there. This was another smooth chocolate and, much to Charlie’s delight, didn’t taste like tea. It was another favourite among the humans, but not quite enough for them to buy it.
Then, there were two of the three dark chocolates Ethicoco produces. These were Guatemala 72% dark and Venezuela 80% dark. Not available to sample was Belize 75% dark. The countries refer to the origins of the cocoa beans, these bars were made using only two ingredients, beans and sugar. Impressive. There was a distinctly different taste between the two the humans sampled, one was much stronger than the other, no surprises there then! The cocoa taste was strong but not too bitter, you need to like dark chocolate to like these, but they were fantastic, as the humans informed me.
The final chocolate on offer was caffe mocha. Yep, coffee flavoured chocolate. Now, I know coffee is kind of a big deal with you humans, and as with the other dark chocolates, ingredients were kept to a minimum: cocoa beans, sugar and coffee beans. The coffee taste was very strong, which was highly approved of by both humans. However, a word of warning. A good sized chunk is needed to appreciate the true coffeeness (ah, I appear to have invented a new word) of the bar, meaning, solely for research purposes, the humans had to eat large amounts of the samples to come to these conclusions. The things we do for science… Anyway, the coffee chocolate was good enough that Jack bought a bar.
The other flavours were dark peppermint (Charlie wasn’t too disappointed to miss out on that one), chai latte, orange and ginger and classic cacao and flame raisin (Charlie was very disappointed this wasn’t on offer).
Chocolate consumed (for now), we went to watch a live chocolate making demonstration by the owner. There were bowls of cocoa beans from Ghana, Venezuela and Belize, which the humans sampled contentedly. There was a slight bitterness to the beans but they did, ultimately, taste of dark chocolate. Of particular interest was the differences between the three types of beans.
The Venezuelan beans were the largest and most bitter. The beans from Ghana had the greatest colour variety, they were the smallest and were less bitter. The unanimous favourite of the two humans was the Belizean bean. This was similar in looks to the Venezuelan beans, but smaller. These were the least bitter and most chocolatey.
Moving on from the beans, they were crushed up and poured into a swirly heating mixer thing (that’s its scientific name, probably). Here they were mixed with the only other ingredient, sugar, where they were heated, with the aid of a blow torch (sort of) and spun around to make them into a smooth paste. This process normally takes three and a half days, but for the sake of the demonstration would be shorter today. This would mean the chocolate produced would be less smooth, but still chocolatey and delicious, I’m sure. The device whirred around for a while, every time we came back to check on it, the bean and sugar mixture was smoother and the smell of chocolate got stronger. It was a truly delightful experience to behold, but unfortunately it wasn’t ready for the end of the day so the humans didn’t get to taste any.
No matter, they consoled themselves with some more samples.
Well, this was an informative day, we all learnt a lot about chocolate, which I have shared now with you. I hope you feel enlightened. If you want some excellent tasting chocolate whilst maintaining a clean conscious, you know where to go: Ethicoco. Yum.
My next post will come from Earth takeaway in Petersfield. Until that next adventure, folks,
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