This little column of chocolates has the distinction of being manufactured in the most Westerley chocolate factory in Europe – The Skelligs Chocolate Factory in County Kerry, Ireland. I quite literally came across the place by accident whilst driving around the Ring of Kerry last year. We drove past a sign advertising the place, and it was a case of brakes on, u-turn and straight in for a chat and some shopping.
Cocoa Bean have ‘moved in’ with Skelligs, but the two companies retain their separate identities. These chocolates are the work of two sisters who obviously love their work. The website gives you some idea of how passionate they are about producing great tasting chocolates using the finest ingredients they can find.
It’s worth letting the photos tell the story of the contents:
The chocolate used in this selection is primarily a 60% dark chocolate. It’s very smooth, with a lovely mouth feel and a combination of light citrus taste and rich cocoa notes. The flavours added to the (hand wrapped) chocolates are mainly quite subtle. No explosions of mint or fiery cinnamon, more like a gentle hint of each flavour as the chocolate melts. The Espresso chocolate had a coffee bean studded into each of the four squares, the hazelnut does indeed contain crushed nuts, and the cinnamon block has a grainy texture from the ground cinnamon in the mixture, but at no time do these flavours overpower the important taste – a well blended, smooth, rich tasting dark chocolate.
It’s pretty obvious from the packaging, the website, and the product that the sisters are passionate about their work. The product is made with love, and the packaging reflects a young, bright, funky feel to the whole operation. Cocoa Bean are part of the ‘new wave’ of chocolatiers – people dedicated to revolutionising chocolate and experimenting constantly to produce new and exciting flavour combinations for us al to enjoy. Fair play to them for that!
As well as being stocked by retailers all over Ireland, it is also possible to buy Cocoa Bean’s products in Harvey Nichols and Cocoa in Sheffield. Obviously they have plans to increase the number of outlets that stock their chocolates.