Around a month ago now, I had one of the best mornings in a long time. My Dad and I headed to La Fromagerie, an utterly delicious foodie haven in London, and attended a breakfast class/chocolate tasting/lecture led by Original Beans founder Phillip Kauffmann. Original Beans is a small chocolate company that focuses on creating the purest, best chocolate whilst using chocolate production as a way of preserving the environment and rainforest, mainly in South America. I’d never truly understood the process of making chocolate or considered the idea of combining chocolate & conservation, so it made for a fascinating morning.I couldn’t ever explain the importance of good chocolate, the detail of chocolate production or all the messages that Original Beans stands for a) without making this post a million words long and b) as cleverly as Kauffmann (who used a digital photo frame full of wonderful photos of the rainforest and plenty of chocolate tasting to guide us through the process). I made a whole page of notes and learnt so much but the most important information can be found on the Original Beans website. My favourite piece of knowledge was that the chocolate we eat comes from the bitter pips of the cacao bean, but the cacao flesh can be eaten normally and tastes like a cross between a lychee or pear. I was also amazed to learn that the variety of cacao bean used affects the flavour of the final product, and yet there are hundreds of varieties of cacao bean yet to be tried! Now, for what we ate…The hot chocolate above was pretty much like drinking pure melted chocolate: divine! With a crisp brioche bun to accompany it, it was the perfect start to a morning full of chocolate.
Next came a mini Danish pastry: the juicy raisins were the closest health food we were getting this morning. After that delicious detour from chocolate, the chocolate returned with a bang: chocolate stuffed pancakes. Rich, thick, smooth chocolate and crispy pancake – it was a perfect send off. In between these foodie feasts, bowls of Original Beans chocolate had been circling the tables as we tasted each different chocolate the company makes. Again, I’m not a chocolate professional but all I can say is they all tasted divine and a world away from your standard Cadbury’s – much deeper and more intense. We left that morning extremely full and almost unable to look at anything more chocolatey, but also full of knowledge about the whole chocolate making process.