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. http://www.mortimerchocolate.co.uk/product-range/chocolate-powders/

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!  http://www.mortimerchocolate.co.uk/video-grid-gallery/   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.

Ingredients
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
Method
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
 
 
Ingredients
50g butter
100g icing sugar
150g full fat cream cheese
1tsp vanilla extract

Method

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.
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/blogs-trending-47975564

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.

Blue Orchid Bakery is coming to Wokingham, serving, among other tasty bakes, fantastic brownies using Mortimer Chocolate

We wish Elena lots of success. We have been supplying Elena and her Mum Bridget chocolate for their fantastic brownies for many years and are so excited to see this business grow.

You can read more about Elena and her new business venture here at The Wokingham Paper

https://www.wokinghampaper.co.uk/blue-orchid-bakery-is-coming-soon-to-peach-place-meet-elena-jenkins-the-talented-woman-behind-it-all/?fbclid=IwAR3kW_6_ofcse0U4w7JbjFYd9cAw4fUq-jnzzfzFEchtYMMH4Nf1leqaljE

Dairy Free Chocolate Ice Cream by Johnnys Dairy Free Ice Cream

We love the chocolate flavour, but then we are biased as it uses our wonderful Ecuador Cocoa Mass. Created by chef, Johnny Melican. His passion for good, healthy food has driven him to create an ice cream using a unique process only used by Johnny. And after many years of development you too can now taste his fabulous vegan ice-cream. Also comes in Vanilla and Honeycomb flavours. @johnnysdairyfreeicecream