Friday 27 September 2019

Book Review ~ From Bean to Bar : A Chocolate Lovers Guide to Britain by Andrew Baker

“There is a quiet revolution going on among food producers in Britain, and craft chocolate makers are leading the way…”

AA Publishing
22 August 2019

My thanks to Midas PR for my copy of this lovely book

Journalist and international chocolate judge Andrew Baker spent a year travelling the length and breadth of the UK, from the Scottish Highlands to Cornwall, meeting with artisan chocolate makers, discovering their secrets and tasting their wares. The book features the best bean-to-bar ateliers in the UK and gives an insight into other chocolatiers across the country.

From the UK’s biggest artisan chocolate maker and high street staple Hotel Chocolat in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire to Duffy’s which produce some of the UK’s most refined chocolate bars in a humble shed on the outskirts of Cleethorpes, Lincolnshire, Britain is home to centres of excellence that use the bean to bar process.

The book is packed full of facts about Britain’s chocolate history, practical advice on where to find these chocolatiers, how to become a bean-to-bar maker, and how to take part in one of the most exciting slow food trends.

What did I think about it..

Artisan chocolate is one of life's little luxuries and whilst mass produced chocolate still makes out supermarket shelves groan, working quietly in the background are a growing number of artisans and chocolatiers who are working with cocoa producing countries in order to bring high quality chocolate to more discerning palettes.

This lovely glossy book is divided geographically, starting with Cadbury's in Birmingham, the home of the iconic brand, in search of the sweet taste of childhood. The author's favourite childhood sweet treat was Cadbury's Bournville, mine was Cadbury's Dairy Milk, stuffed full of milky goodness, or so the adverts would have us believe, but which is now so freakishly high in fat and sugar content that I have had to ban it from my diet!

In From Bean to Bar the author, Andrew Baker, has undertaken a trip around Britain searching out the independent food producers and craft chocolate makers, people who are making chocolate in their kitchens, sheds and small factories, and who are making amazing chocolate, quite literally, from Bean to Bar.

As well as an interesting trip around Britain the author shares fascinating facts about chocolate, from how cocoa beans are grown and harvested, to those artisans who acquire cacao beans from small producers, roasting, winnowing, conching and then tempering the chocolate themselves so that each chocolate bar is uniquely made with traceable and sustainable ingredients. It's a fascinating process and is explained in such perfect detail that I will never look at a bar of chocolate in a nonchalant way again.

From Bean to Bar is beautifully photographed and sumptuously produced so that it can't fail to appeal to chocolate lovers everywhere. From Bournville in Birmingham, to the Bonnie Bars and Bon Bons of Scotland, the book is crammed full of interesting facts and snippets of information you never knew you needed to know about small Bean to Bar chocolate producers who are working so tirelessly to bring good quality chocolate to our attention.

About the Author

Andrew Baker is well known in chocolate circles for writing on the subject and is often called upon to judge international chocolate competitions. A long-established journalist, he is Features Editor of the Telegraph Weekend sections and author of Where Am I and Who’s Winning? (Random House). The son of the late, much-loved newsreader Richard Baker, Andrew is an experienced radio broadcaster for Radio Five Live and presents regular podcasts for the Telegraph. Andrew lives in London.

Twitter @ccAndrewBaker #FromBeantoBar



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