Willie Harcourt-Cooze “transported” his chocolate factory from Devon to The Tabernacle in London for the day shortly before Easter. He gave a Bean to Bar talk, let everyone make their own Easter egg and hosted a reception with drinks and canapes from his new book ‘Willie’s Chocolate Bible’. Clickhereto see all the photos I took.
There were loads of people at the event. It was free and open to the public.
Willie started with his “Bean to Bar” talk. He is very passionate! He is the UK’s only independent grower and producer of cacao.
The talk consisted of him simultaneously telling us how he got into producing chocolate, the process of how it’s made and making a chocolate mousse cake all at the same time!
Beans grown in different regions will have different under tones. Just like with wine. Grapes grown in different regions will taste different.
We were tasting the different stages as Willie discussed them, which was fun. The raw cacao bean was not very tasty!
Willie made a chocolate mousse inside a chocolate case. He lined the tin with parchment paper and spread the chocolate all up and around so when it was removed it had a bit of a ruffled look.
We got to taste a sample. Willie bought the molds for the mousse from the old Terry’s of York factory after it closed.
And a hot chocolate sample
After that the Easter egg making, chocolate tasting and book signing began.
I bought a copy of the book and look forward to making the chocolate and porcini risotto.
There was a row of chocolate fountains with different types of chocolate to taste. Of the 6 there were two that I really loved!
The Indonesian 69 Javan Light Breaking – Sourced from the Island of Java, these bars are made from a highly prized strain of cacao. The beans are visually striking as they are exceptionally light in color and they have a slightly higher cacao butter content than usual. The beans produce a surprisingly light dark chocolate with soft caramel notes.
The Peruvian 70 San Martin – The beans are sourced from the Departmento de San Martin in Northern Peru in the foothills of the Andes in the lush Amazonian rainforest’s. The beans are grown by small farmers, who are part of a cooperative who provide them with technical and marketing assistance and credit to help increase productivity and profitability. The beans from this region are naturally fruity with tropical fruit flavor notes.
Giant Easter Egg for Great Ormond Street
The staff spent over five hours helping everyone make Easter eggs! They were still going when I left at 8.30pm. Chocolate is poured into the mould. The two halves of the mould are put together and closed with some pins and shaken vigorously. It was then popped into the freezer to set quickly.
It’s a little dark but you can see how the foil is applied to the egg.
Chili and Cacao Nib Tea while we waited for all kids to finish making their Easter eggs.
Malambo provided the entertainment by playing South American music.
Then came the cocktails! Chocolate Sloe Vodka.
The guy sitting next to me thought drinking 8 in one go was a good idea.
It’s not a party without some bubbly.
Willie’s Bloody Mary. I’ve never actually had one before and I loved it.
Cacao and Olive Bread with Smoked Salmon
Wild Mushroom Stew (this was fantastic)
Roe Deer with Chocolate Gravy and Spiced Red Cabbage
Mole Negro with Chicken Breast. The moistest chicken I have ever tasted I think.
This might have been White Chocolate and Orange Blossom filled chocolates. –
Willie’s Walnut Whip
Completely stuffed and happy I left and took my Easter egg home!
During Willie’s demonstration he also while making the mousse whipped up his favorite South American breakfast. I made it at home and it was pretty good!
Willie’s South American Breakfast
half an avocado
1 piece of bread
1. Toast the piece of bread and spread the avocado on top (it’s a healthier replacement for butter).
2. Fry the egg and place on top of the avocado and sprinkle with some chili oil. I used some chili infused olive oil from Waitrose.