Willie Harcourt-Cooze has redefined how millions of people worldwide think about chocolate. That real chocolate can have such depth and variety of flavour, is something most people have never dreamt of. “When people eat our chocolate it’s like a light going on, as the chocolate melts and the realisation dawns that all this flavour comes simply from the cacao,” explains Willie.
He achieves this because he is the only chocolate maker in the UK making premium chocolate from ‘bean to bar’. Willie uses only the world’s great single estate cacaos which he sources directly from the farmers. Like fine wines, they have remarkably different flavours, one might taste smooth and nutty another of summer fruits.
It is all about flavour so Willie uses no soya lecithin and not even vanilla as these hide some of the flavour notes of the beans. Similarly he uses only the best natural ingredients– raw cane sugar, unrefined cocoa butter and organic ingredients like milk, fruit essences and raisins.
Willie’s dream of making the world’s best chocolate was born on his Hacienda El Tesoro, high in the Cloud Forest in Venezuela, where he has farmed cacao for over a decade. His often dramatic journey from his farm to setting up the factory from scratch, was followed in two Channel 4 television documentaries that have since shown around the world. These have been followed up with 2 books, full of chocolate adventures and recipes. Five years on Willie now sells cooking, eating and gift chocolates in over 20 countries around the world