It’s easy to take for granted what you see frequently. I first wrote about Willie’s Cacao over a year ago, because the small bars (50g) not only make for a contained treat, but are – unusually for a bean-to-bar maker – available in supermarkets (Waitrose, Sainsbury’s). Andrew Baker’s book From Bean to Bar reminded me of Willie’s, so I arm-scooped a load into my weekly trolley.
If you ever need to buy someone an excellent box of chocolates quickly (great ethics, taste, quality of single-estate cocoa and from a small producer), try Willie’s Praline Truffles, £8.99, or the Sea Salt Pearls Salted Caramels, £6.59. The prices are excellent – incredible, actually – for what you’re getting.
But, the bars: I had forgotten how very good the 54% Indonesian Milk of the Stars, £1.99 is: simply excellent. A feature of quality milk chocolate is that the cocoa is boss, it never lets the sugar take centre stage. The experience of eating this went on for several minutes beyond the swallow, as the flavours of the cocoa revealed themselves.
If you fancy locking yourself in with fine chocolate exploring different cocoa beans, try the WC subscription boxes. You can choose from just dark, or milk, dark and white (prices start at £18 a month for 10 bars). Two bars will be Willie’s Magnificent Creations – slightly experimental and not available to buy in the shops. I’m rarely a fan of 100%, but the intense Pure Gold 100% – conched for more than three weeks for smoothness – was a nice surprise.