Join us for a live chocolate tasting with Willie’s Cacao

Willie's Cacao chocolate tasting

by Great British Chefs 1 February 2018

Chocolate guru Willie Harcourt-Cooze will be guiding us through the flavours of eight different bars of single estate chocolate – find out how you can get your hands on the bars and when the tasting is taking place.

Great British Chefs is a team of passionate food lovers dedicated to bringing you the latest food stories, news and reviews.

Great British Chefs is a team of passionate food lovers dedicated to bringing you the latest food stories, news and reviews as well as access to some of Britain’s greatest chefs. Our posts cover everything we are excited about from the latest openings and hottest food trends to brilliant new producers and exclusive chef interviews.

If you haven’t heard of it before, Willie’s Cacao is some of the best chocolate available in the UK (if not the world). Founder Willie Harcourt-Cooze spent years growing cacao on his own plantation in Venezuela before returning to the UK and setting up a chocolate factory in Devon, where he makes small-batch chocolate with meticulous attention to detail (which takes more than 100 times longer to produce than industrially made chocolate). His chocolate contains no soya or vanilla – two additives which overpower the natural flavour of cacao that are found in nearly all mass-made chocolate – and he only ever uses the very best single estate beans. But of course, it’s not until you actually taste the chocolate that you can truly appreciate just how superior it is.

That’s why we were delighted to host a live chocolate tasting with Willie himself over on our Facebook page on Wednesday 14 March. He introduced eight of his chocolate bars, talking through where the beans come from, describing their flavour profiles and revealing the amazing variations in taste between different single estate beans.

You can watch a recording of the tasting event below, or read on to find out more about the chocolates that were tasted.

The chocolates tasted included milk, dark and white, with beans from Peru, Venezuela, Madagascar and Indonesia. Many chocolatiers boast about single origin beans, which means they come from one country. Willie’s Cacao, however, is single estate, meaning the beans come from one farm, offering a representation of precise genetics and the local terroir – just like good wine. Here are the chocolates contained in the pack (along with a flavour map, bean-to-bar map and world map, to help you keep track of where the different beans come from) featured in our live chocolate tasting:

  1. Pure Gold 100% Sur del Lago, Venezuela: absolutely nothing but pure cacao; intense but remarkably smooth.

  2. Las Trincheras 72, Venezuela: nutty 72% chocolate perfection, for those who are new to or thought they didn’t like dark chocolate.

  3. Rio Caribe 72, Venezuela: this contains the same cacao percentage using beans from the same country as the Las Trincheras above, but with a very different flavour profile – proving why single estate matters much more than single origin.

  4. Chulucanas 70, Peru: a fruity dark chocolate with a strong raisin, plummy flavour. 70% is the classic ratio of cacao to sugar that brings out the bean’s natural characteristics.

  5. Sambirano 71, Madagascar: another fruity dark chocolate but one that is completely different to the Peruvian above; think bright, fresh summer fruits.

  6. Milk of the Gods, Rio Caribe: a milk chocolate made using single estate Venezuelan beans with a beautifully nutty rounded flavour.

  7. Milk of the Stars, Surabaya: an Indonesian bean made into milk chocolate with a slightly higher percentage of cacao. Despite being milk chocolate, this bar still contains less sugar than your average mass-made 70% dark chocolate.

  8. El Blanco: Willie’s stunning white chocolate. Raw cane sugar from Barbados and the natural flavours of the non-deodorised cocoa butter is all that’s needed to give flavour to this bar without a hint of vanilla in sight. It’s also much less sweet than other white chocolate.

You can still get your hands on the chocolate being tasted, so you can try the chocolates along with Willie and discover the true flavour of cacao:

  • Go to and use the event code TASTE8 to get the Single Estate Discovery Collection (includes all eight bars of chocolate worth £16) for just £8, with free postage. This offer will run until the end of April 2018.

  • Find some of the bars in Waitrose, Ocado, Sainsbury’s and Booths – although none of them stock the full pack.

Once you’ve got your tasting pack, watch the video and taste along with Willie. It’s worth buying a bar of standard dark chocolate as well, so you can try it against a piece of Willie’s Cacao and realise just how much soya and vanilla alter the flavour. We can’t think of a better way to spend an evening than exploring the flavours and variety found in these incredible beans.