For the first activity in the CoLab: Barcelona program BGE have teamed up with Blanxart, one of Spain’s most prestigious Bean to Bar chocolate makers, and Cocoa Runners, sellers of the world’s finest craft chocolate, to offer you an insight and introduction to the world of craft chocolate.
Over the last decade, the world of chocolate has undergone a revolution similar to that of specialty coffee (albeit starting a little later). All around the world – from Woodstock to Warsaw, San Francisco to Saigon and from Brooklyn to Barcelona - passionate artisan chocolate makers are creating tantalisingly delicious chocolate by fine tuning every stage from “bean” to “bar”. Just as with fine coffee, it all starts with the bean, and similar to coffee, fermentation and drying are critical to great cocoa and chocolate. However unlike coffee, craft chocolate also involves winnowing, grinding, conching, tempering and moulding. And while craft chocolate doesn’t have baristas, it does have DJs – read on for more details on becoming a chocolate DJ!
Like fine coffee, craft chocolate is all about the expression of the bean. For craft chocolate makers and growers, less is more so their bars contain only cocoa and a little sugar (and sometimes milk). They don’t use hydraulic presses or replace cocoa butter with palm and vegetable oils – the results speak for themselves. Cocoa Runners believe that once you’ve tasted craft chocolate, there is no turning back!
Cocoa Runners will present and discuss how terroir and fermentation impact flavour by tasting different bars from Vietnam, Columbia and Peru. They will explore how different drying techniques combined with different concheing processes can yield bars, crafted from the same beans, that taste smokey and others that have more floral and citrus notes. You'll also taste bars made using stone ground techniques from Spain and the US. Cocoa Runners will explain how, who and where this revolution in craft chocolate started, and invite you to become “Chocolate DJs” so you can join the revolution in craft chocolate.
In addition, CoLab'ers will have the chance to see behind the scenes at Blanxart – Blanxart began in 1954 in a rented ground floor workshop in Barcelona. After years spent honing his craft in the best chocolate shops in the city, Master Chocolatier Francesc Agras decided to quit his job and founded his own company in collaboration with three close friends. From those humble origins has blossomed one of the most prestigious artisan chocolate companies in the industry.
Remaining faithful to its origins; all of Blanxart's packaging and boxes contain the same logo and its production is overseen by fourth generation master chocolatier Xavier Cordomi. Like his forefathers, he has a passion for chocolate and a meticulous eye for detail. The high quality of Blanxart’s chocolate is a reflection of this constant search for improvement and the many hours of training their staff put in. Everything it produces is subject to stringent quality control. Blanxart treats its chocolate as a precious material with magical properties, and you will see this as you taste their flavoursome bars.
CoLab'ers are invited to join us for a tour around Barcelona chocolate factory including a craft chocolate tasting with Cocoa Runners and presentation on chocolate production at 2pm on Monday 28 November. We'll meet in a central location in Barcelona (tbc via email when you register) and travel to Blanxart as a group. The tour is included in the cost of your ticket. Haven't registered yet? You can still purchase a ticket below.