Adventures in chocolate making? Count me in…

Stephen Sorby joins the quest to create a new taste in chocolate for our sweet city

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From the cocoa bean to the consumer… The ingredients at York Cocoa House. Photograph: Gareth Barlow

There’s something very special about being invited to an event, but something more special when you don’t actually know what it will fully entail! This was the case for me recently with regard to York Cocoa House and a new development called “adventures in chocolate making”.

Sophie Jewett, the inspirational and incredibly engaging proprietor of the York Cocoa House, had kindly invited me along with a number of others. As a self confessed “chocoholic” I simply couldn’t resist.

York Cocoa House oozes charm, sophistication and elegance, yet is one of the friendliest and most welcoming venues the city has to offer.

Upon arrival, I was duly offered a “chocolate wine” – a first for me – and incredibly scrumptious to say the least.

Sophie welcomed us with the words: “It’s an adventure that’s been a long time coming.” Today marks five years since the York Cocoa House became a reality and she became a chocolatier, and three years since the opening of the premises. How time flies when clearly everyone is having fun!

Full of beans

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Photograph © Tim Sackton on Flickr

York Cocoa House is entering a new phase, developing its very own chocolate, and a group of us had been invited to add our input into the creative process.

The thoughtful emphasis on ethical trading from “cocoa bean to consumer”, to ensure farmers maintain more of the profit share at their end, was music to my ears.

Having worked our way from the cocoa bean (pre roasted – though we then did get to see the roasting process too) to the ‘nibs’ created to the cocoa mass, the discussions around the table were amazing.

We all saw and felt varying tastes and textures, especially with some examples of chocolate that is the aim of production as a York Cocoa House brand.

Sophie’s amazing knowledge and ability to understand and share so eloquently the complexities, held for a most informative evening.

I was privileged to be seated with the wonderful bright new spark Gareth Barlow and the entertaining Ali Vincent from the emporium that is Henshelwoods Deli amongst others, proving to be a most inspiring evening all round, new connections and friendships forged.

York Cocoa House is refining its processes and there’s still a bit of a way to go before any “House chocolate” hits the shelves. It is, however as said, a leading player, with much to already offer and lots of exciting plans for the future.

Go on, visit! It’s nothing short of chocolate heaven!

  Revd Dr Stephen Sorby is Railway and British Transport Police Chaplain for Yorkshire and North East England. He is also a chocoholic!

  Follow Stephen on Twitter: @revstephensorby

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