This week we’re taking a closer look at our supplier Willies Cacao. Not just beautiful packaging – the story behind the company is quite something too!
Willie’s dream of making the world’s best chocolate was born on his cacao farm, Hacienda El Tesoro, high in the Cloud Forest in Venezuela, where he has farmed cacao for 20 years. His often dramatic journey from his farm to setting up the factory from scratch, was followed in two Channel 4 television documentary series that have been followed up by 2 books. He continues to experiment with all things chocolate, making everything imaginable from Cacao Nib brandy, to Mexican Mole to the best single estate hot chocolate. Willie spends weeks every year, deep in the jungle visiting farmers on a quest for new beans.
Years of experience growing cacao means Willie buys the best single estate beans direct from farmers; he works with them on how they ferment etc. Making chocolate from the bean means the ability to choose not to use soya lecithin or too much cocoa butter, even though it makes production slower. It means making every batch “to taste”.
We roast in small 250 kg batches in antique ball roasters. We grind and conch for up to 21 days vs large manufacturers at a few hours at higher temperatures. The tempering, depositing and cooling is very high tech to get perfectly shiny tempered bars.
We use only the world’s great single estate cacaos that we buy direct from the farmers. We make everything ourselves from ‘bean to bar’ in small batches, taking over 100 times longer than industrial chocolates and using 100% natural ingredients.
*100% natural ingredients raw cane sugar, natural cocoa butter
*Everything made from scratch, not just the chocolate – for example we roast and grind our own nuts
* Nothing artificial - no processing aids, emulsifiers / soya lecithin, maltodextrin
* All cacaos are chemical free, all are tested - some certified organic. Organic fruit essences
*Direct trade, higher standard than fair trade. Willie himself is a cacao farmer & buys direct from farmers at a premium a minimum of 3 times higher than fair trade
* Find Willies Cacao (made just 15 minutes away from IzzyBee HQ in Devon!) in a variety of IzzyBee gift hampers.