Here’s something a little different – a do it yourself raw chocolate making kit. These Choc Chick kits contain just three ingredients – raw cocoa powder, ‘extra virgin’ raw Cocoa Butter, and Agave Syrup – and a handy little recipe leaflet with recipe suggestions for chocolate bars and even a chocolate martini!
To make the basic recipe you need to use all of the cocoa butter, around half of the cocoa powder and a little agave syrup, so the remaining cocoa an syrup can be kept for making cocktails or other chocolatey drinks.
Making the chocolate is very simple – break up the cocoa butter a little, put it into a bowl over a pan of hot water, add the cocoa powder and agave syrup and melt the lot together.
It doesn’t take too long before everything starts to melt together and you have your basic raw chocolate mixed and ready. After that, it’s just a question of what you do with it. We decided to make a small bar using some dried chopped fruits – lemomn raisins, black cherries and blueberries in this case. For simplicity a small margarine tub was lined with cling film and then the fruits were scattered over the base before the chocolate was poured in. A spell in the fridge to set it and we had our first bar. Easy as that.
Individual chocolates were made using an ice cube tray – some were left natural but I also experimented with Baileys and Patron XO Café (a coffee liqueur made with tequila which also tastes great on ice cream or as a basis for a tiramisu). Adding alcohol made the chocolate coagulate very quickly but didn’t affect the texture once it had set.
I also experimented with cardamom seeds (a personal favourite) and had good results. The chocolate itself is as you would expect raw chocolate to be. It has that slightly coarse texture, melts very quickly, and is smooth and soft on the palate. Adding other flavours works well – the fruits in our mini-bar were a great counterpart to the cocoa flavours and the alcoholic chocs were delicious.
Choc Chick market these kits as a fun way to spend an afternoon with children or a way for foodie types to explore chocolate making at home. I’m a little dubious about how much fun a group of children would have with this – after all, standing over a bowl which is resting on a pan of simmering water isn’t for young kids, and there is only really space for one stirrer at a time. The fact that the bowl also gets hot means a good deal of adult supervision is required, and I could see the potential for arguments around who gets to stir and blend the ingredients, never mind who gets to lick the bowl, spoon etc.
Once the chocolate is ready, the business of pouring it into moulds requires a steady hand, and at 30p per chocolate you’re not going to want to waste this stuff! I can’t help thinking that £10 plus postage is a little on the pricey side, but obviously these are expensive ingredients – just look at the price of packaged raw chocolate bars! Choc Chick also have impeccable social and environmental credentials, so customers should be aware that their money is going into a business based on sound principals, and again, that comes at a premium.
If you quite like the idea of raw chocolate and fancy trying your hand with a few flavours I’d say give this a go. If you’ve never tried raw chocolate before I’d suggest popping into a health food store and buying a bar first just to be sure.