Launch into Southern Co-op Local Flavours Range

We are excited to announce our product launch into Southern Co-op. Two of our drinking chocolates: 30% West African Drinking Chocolate and Heavenly Salted Caramel Drinking Chocolate will be part of the Local Flavours range. We met the Local Flavours team at a Pig Den event organised by HampshireFare back in 2019, where we had the opportunity to showcase what we do.

Berkshire Life Magazine is focusing on Chocolate this February for Valentines Day.

When Berkshire Life wanted to do a piece on Chocolate for their February issue they chose to feature Adrian’s story. It is not every day you get to be interviewed and have a whole page dedicated to what you do – what an honour. You could say that being a master chocolate maker is a dream job and after 30 years in the business Adrian still enjoys discovering new cocoas from different regions.

Good fermentation of cocoa beans is the secret to delicious chocolate flavour.

a group of 4 photos showing cocoa beans still in the pod surrounded by the sweet white pulp, the cocoa beans being fermented in wooden boxes.
The fermentation of the cocoa bean, a critical process in the development of the flavour of chocolate.

The good fermentation of cocoa beans is critical in the development of chocolate flavour. When cocao beans are ripe, they are harvested: cut out of the pod still covered in their sweet, white pulp. They are then fermented, put into piles, or placed in wooden boxes to allow the fermentation of the bean. The conditions are warm and wet and the bean, which is the seed of the cacao tree, starts to germinate, breaking down its own stores of sugar and fat, but the sugary pulp attracts moulds and yeast, which start to ferment on the outside of the bean, driving the temperature upwards towards 60 degrees, changing the colour from white to light brown and the heat kills the bean! Luckily for us, the partially germinated interior of the bean contains everything that we need to make delicious chocolate! BUT get this stage wrong and no matter how good a chocolate maker you are, your chocolate won’t taste any good. Which is why we make sure that the fermentation of the cocoa bean is done properly and we taste ALL the cacao that we buy before making it into our delicious chocolate.

Drinking Chocolate Range now available on Ocado

Launching a hot chocolate product in the heat of summer?   You’d think you’d have to be mad, but this is exactly what the independent chocolate maker, Mortimer Chocolate is doing this July!   Their range of drinking chocolates: chocolate, salted caramel and chocolate orange have just been launched on the Ocado Supermarket site, at the same time as we are all sweltering in the heat!

Adrian Smith, the master chocolate maker behind the drinks said “It seems odd, but the drinks will be in place for when the weather starts to cool off in the autumn, ready for the winter.   But also, our drinks make a lovely refreshing COLD drink with milk too!   Our customers tell us just how refreshing the cold version is, so the drinks are an all-weather option!”

In fact, the salted caramel pack carries a recipe to make the cold drink and there are more recipe ideas on the website, including one for a 10-minute chocolate cake recipe!   Handy videos to show you exactly how!   With cooler evenings and the kids at home during the summer holidays, these drinks offer the perfect all-round package to keep them (and you) satisfied and amused.

Adrian Smith went on to say: “Ocado liked the fact that our salted caramel drink had won a 2018 Quality Food Award, which usually go to much bigger brands with huge budgets.   It is an endorsement of how good our drinks are that we beat off much larger competition.   Our drinks are all based on natural cocoa powders, which gives them a delicious chocolate intensity.   We’re really excited to have the opportunity to work with Ocado and for their customers to be able to try our chocolates.”

Red Velvet Chocolate Cake made with Natural Cacao Powder, which give this cake its distinctive colour

The Natural Cacao Powder used in this cake recipe is made from beans fermented under a carpet of banana leaves. It is rich in anti-oxidants, with a wonderful flavour. Most cocoa powders in the UK have been alkalised, (Dutch process), with chemicals to manipulate the flavour and colour of the powder. This process is not necessary with our superior Cacao Powder, and because it has not been alkalised it is called Natural.

Red Velvet Cake  
You will require 2 x 21cm diameter cake tins greased and lined.

50g Mortimer Natural Cacao Powder
120ml natural plain yoghurt
120ml milk
1 teaspoon red food colouring.
120g butter or margarine
300g caster sugar 2 eggs, beaten
250g self-raising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder ½ tsp salt
In a large mixing bowl cream the butter and sugar together.
Add the beaten egg, one at a time, together with a tablespoon of
the flour and beat until well mixed. 
Mix the yoghurt, milk and food colouring together.
Sift the flour, baking powder, salt and natural cacao powder together.
Beat in 1/3 of the flour and 1/3 of the yoghurt into the creamed butter mixture,  repeat twice more until all the ingredients are evenly mixed in.
Spoon into the cake tins and bake at 1800C (1600C for fan ovens), Gas Mark 5, for 25 to 30 minutes, until the cake is firm to the touch.
Turn out and allow to completely cool, before decorating with the frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting
50g butter
100g icing sugar
150g full fat cream cheese
1tsp vanilla extract


Soften the butter and beat in the icing sugar until light and fluffy
Add the vanilla extract and cream cheese and beat until well combined.  
Spread half the icing in the centre and half on top of the cake.

The Museum of English Rural Life supports local producers

You may have read about the Museum of English Rural Life recently as they have been having a twitter dialog @TheMerl with Elon Musk over copyright of their photo of an Exmor Horn sheep.

The Museum is well worth a visit and it should be busy this half term as there is lots to keep you entertained.

They are also the proud winners to the Little Ankle Biters Best Museum in Berkshire.

The lovely team @TheMerl are keen to support local producers and I am pleased to say you can now enjoy a Mortimer Hot Chocolate at the Cafe and also buy some in the shop to take home with you.

Institute of Hospitality Student of the Year Awards 2019, Southern England, hosted at the Balmer Lawn Hotel in the New Forest.

Last night the Balmer Lawn Hotel, hosted the Institute of Hospitality Southern Branch, Student of the Year Awards. It was a perfect warm sunny May evening at the beautiful Blamer Lawn Hotel, set in the gorgeous New Forest.

Congratulations to the winners: Lucas Kelly (Front of House Student of the Year), Lauren Kates (Pastry Chef Student of the Year), Oliver Dillon (Chef Student of the Year), Chris Moat (Apprentice Student of the Year) and Mila Ilic (Management Student of the Year). What a talented bunch.

It is such a postive evening with enthusiatic students showcasing their skills.

The celebration dinner made by the professional team at the Balmer Lawn, was enjoyed by all. The dessert was gluten and dairy-free and included a dairy-free chocolate sorbet, made with Mortimer Chocolate.