(GIFTED) Willie’s Cacao is a British craft chocolate brand creating delicious bean to bar chocolate in small batches from beans sourced from Central and South America, Africa and Asia. Willie is a real life Willy Wonka! I was thrilled when a tasting box of goodies landed on my doorstep for review. I mean, who doesn’t adore chocolate? With a variety of flavours to choose from and also a full vegan range there should be something for everyone. This is my Willie’s Cacao review.
About Willie’s Cacao
Willie fell in love with cacao while on a trip to the Venezuelan Andes in 1993. “I knew from a guidebook that some of the best cacao in the world grew in the region, but this was my first introduction to the cacao tree and their beautiful multi-coloured pods.” Says Willie, the founder. There was a 1,000 acre cacao farm for sale, however when Willie fell in love with the place, the owner then decided not to sell. Fast forward 3 years and the sale was back on, Willie packed up his home in London and moved nearly 4,700 miles away to start his dream.
Willie Says ” My chocolate is all about flavour. Great cacaos are like fine wines, each one with its own stunningly individual flavour born of its specific genetics, soil and climate. One might taste naturally of nuts, another of summer fruits. It is to capture these subtle notes and unique flavours that I make all my chocolate from the bean- which is called bean to bar chocolate! I buy single estate cacaos direct from the farmers, roast them in antique ball roasters and make them into chocolate using just raw cane sugar and natural cocoa butter – no soya lecithin, no vanilla, nothing that gets in the way of the flavour of the bean.”
Willie created his own chocolate factory in the Venezuelan Andes and began selling his product locally. Realising that people loved it, the business grew and grew. Using Criollo and Trinitario beans sourced from Central and South America, Africa and Asia, Willie has created a stunning range of chocolate, from bean to bar, chocolate drops and hampers.
Within the review box I received:
Las Trincheras Gold – Single origin Venezuelan 72% cacao with smooth nutty notes
Almendra – 70% cacao dark chocolate with roasted almonds
San Agustin Gold – Single origin Columbian 70% with honey nutty notes
Milk of the stars – 54% cacao Indonesian milk chocolate with soft caramel notes
El Blanco – a 36% cacao white chocolate
Passion Fruit – 44% cacao, milk chocolate with juicy passion fruit
Rio Caribe Gold – Single origin Venezuelan dark chocolate with nutty, coffee notes
Praline truffles – 44% Cacao Single estate milk chocolate and sea salt
Hot Chocolate – Single estate medellin cacao
My Willie’s Cacao Review starts with the packaging. For obvious reasons it is the first thing I noticed when I opened the box. Each of the chocolate bars and truffles is brightly wrapped in a hard cardboard sleeve. This protects the chocolate and ensures no broken bars upon arrival. The packaging is bright, colourful and immediately enticing. I couldn’t wait to unwrap and dig in! One of the things I really appreciated on the packaging was the description of the tasting notes on the back of the bars. It gave me an indication of what I should expect to taste and guided me on my chocolate quest. I also loved the fact that I received a map of the world which shows the location of the farm, factory and special places for Willie on his journey to chocolate heaven.
Willie advises eating at room temperature rather than keeping it in the fridge as it alters the texture. Also the cocoa butter in chocolate absorbs other flavours around it so don’t put it in the same cupboard as your garlic! I kept mine in a cool dry cupboard when I wasn’t diving face first into it.
I am no chocolate expert and although I adore all forms of the delicious goodness, I don’t profess to understand the differences in beans or production. However, with 33 years of chocolate eating under my belt I can confirm that Willie’s chocolates are exceptional quality. It is hard to pick favourites in this variety pack, however the praline truffles (deliciously decadent and melt in the mouth), the passion fruit (tropical explosions that reminded me of beach holidays and cocktails) and the San Agustin Gold (rich, velvety and honey in taste) were my sure winners. The San Agustin Gold lingered on the tongue for ages afterwards too. Even though small in size, you don’t need to eat lots to indulge.
What I really love is that the ingredients are kept incredibly simple. The single origin bars contain only 3 ingredients: Cacao mass, raw cane sugar and cocoa butter. The flavoured ones contain slightly more ingredients for obvious reasons but still no artifical flavours or colourings. Theres also no artificial or added sugar which must mean they are healthier than other chocolates right? At least that is what I am telling myself!
There was actually only one I didn’t enjoy – the Rio Caribe Gold. This has a distinct coffee flavour to it and I have never been a coffee fan so this wasn’t for me. However if you love coffee you I am sure you would love this.
The only one I haven’t tried so far is the hot chocolate. With the way the weather has been over the last few weeks (definitely not complaining!!) it has been a little too warm to try this. However I look forward to trying this when the nights draw in and I can sit in front of the log burner curled up on the sofa.
The quality of Willie’s Chocolates makes them a perfect treat for you or someone you love. You can purchase directly from them via their WEBSITE and they offer a range of collections, gift ideas and hampers to suit your every need and budget. With 50g bars priced from £1.99 it won’t break the bank and there are well over 50 products to try. I recommend getting a selection of different bars so that you can learn more about the different beans and tasting notes. Also go outside your comfort zone – I didn’t expect to love the almond one but the big chunks created a wonderful texture. There are also lots of vegan and no/low sugar products too! You can also purchase gift cards for your loved one so they can create their own box of delight! There is free delivery if you spend over £30 too. Find Willie’e Cacao on FACEBOOK and INSTAGRAM for recipe ideas, new launches and offers.
* I was gifted a variety of bars and truffles in exchange for review. I genuinely enjoyed the chocolate and my review is honest.