It may surprise you to learn that there are only two people making chocolate from the bean in the UK. The first was Willie Harcourt-Cooze (of Willie’s Wonky Chocolate Factory fame), and now we have Duffy Sheardown and his Red Star Chocolate.
Duffy produces his single origin chocolate out of a small industrial unit in Cleethorpes. Perhaps not the most glamorous setting, but from what I’ve tasted so far, the results are amazing. I met him for the first time at the Real Food Festival last week and picked up a few bars to review.
The first is this 70% bar made from Panamanian beans.
The first thing you notice about all Duffy’s bars is the packaging is fairly run of the mill. Each wrapper features a nice photo, but the paper and foil themselves are a little flimsy. The branding is also potentially confusing, with Duffy using his own name rather than the company name on the wrapper.
But once you unwrap the bar, things quickly start to look up. The chocolate has a beautiful glossy finish and warm reddish colour. It’s simple and elegant and looks like it’s been made with love and attention to detail.
And it tastes divine too. I’m no expert at describing the flavours of dark chocolate, but I know what I like, and I like this. It’s light and fruity and quite sweet – not annoyingly so, but enough to make this an accessible dark chocolate. It’s the kind of bar you could easily get through without noticing if it happens to be sat on your desk. This particular bar seems to be disappearing much faster than is healthy.
At £3.50 a bar, this is actually much more affordable than many of the high end artisan bars on market at the moment, and it comes with the knowledge that Duffy has made it by hand from the bean. I’m starting to regret not buying more of this particular bar, but the good news is that Duffy sells online on his web site. I suggest you pick up a bar or three before I wipe out his entire stock.