Notes on chocolate: two new bars from an artisan star

When I was in Leeds recently my hotel supplied a free mini bar (of course you pay for it in the room rate but…), containing a bar of Willie’s Cacao milk chocolate. Which was class. Sadly the next day they replaced it with an inferior chocolate product.

Willie’s Cacao is an important name in the chocolate scene. Its founder, Willie Harcourt-Cooze, was a pioneer in UK artisan chocolate and the first of the modern bean-to-bar makers. Although things are improving, Willie’s Cacao was the first to make this approach ‘mainstream’ and be available in supermarkets. However, you may first have encountered it in the baking aisle in its 100% cocoa ‘chocolate barrels’. I used to grate it into my mulled wine at Christmas (delicious).

Recently, it launched two new flavours, both featuring roasted almonds. Clementina’s Almonds (£2.35, 50g) is 44% milk chocolate with roasted almonds and clementine. At first I thought, hmmm, this is a bar with too much going on. Orangey clementine and nuts in milk chocolate? I was still saying this as I ate half a bar a day (I do allow myself 25g of chocolate a day, it’s my job). But it works, beautifully.

The second is the Sea Kissed Almond (also £2.35 for a 50g bar). I for one appreciate the word salt not being in the title, but there is salt therein – at times perhaps a bit too much for me, but it varied throughout the bar. My testers went crazy for this.

If you like milk chocolate and nuts, both of these bars are a must-buy.