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National Chocolate Week
By Castle Howard Farm Shop  //  Mon 9th October 2017
Food, Farm Shop, Local Supplier
There’s nothing more comforting at this time of year, when the skies are dark and heavy with rain and the wind threatens to blow right through you, than to retreat indoors, batten down the hatches and reach for that secret stash of chocolate that you’d been saving for exactly this type of day. As a self confessed chocoholic, there’s nothing I love more than coming home, untangling myself from my chunky-knit scarf, lighting the fire and curling up on the sofa with a good book and, crucially, a (very) large bar of milk chocolate.

There’s something particularly nostalgic and comforting about chocolate. It’s the slow unwrapping of the luxurious foil, the sharp snap as you choose a segment (just this sound alone is enough to get your mouth watering!) and the delicious taste of cocoa slowly melting as you savour every moment. It brings out all those feelings of cosiness and contentment; a definite ‘hygge’ moment as the Danish would say! Lucky for me and my fellow chocolate lovers then that some kind folk has designated this week, 9th-15th October, as National Chocolate Week, giving us all an extra excuse to enjoy one of life’s little luxuries.

Someone else who will be celebrating this week is Kacao Chocolaterie, our local supplier of all things chocolatey. Kacao’s expert team supply our Farm Shop with all manner of chocolate delights from luxury bars to handmade truffles and chocolate thins. Based at Sedbury Hall Stables in Richmond, a beautiful stone building covered with wisteria and surrounded with fragrant lavender, Kacao (pronounced ka-cow) is the pride and joy of Kelsey Anderson.  Having travelled in Central and South America and visited some of the finest cocoa plantations, Kelsey became fascinated by the transformation of the raw cocoa bean into the deliciously smooth chocolate we all know and love.

Having been inspired by her travels, Kelsey came back to Yorkshire determined to share her experience of fresh, luxury chocolate and so the Kacao Chocolaterie was born. Keen to support the communities she met whilst abroad, Kesley is determined that the beans she uses are fair-trade and sustainably sourced and it is clear from speaking to her that she puts a lot of thought into her chocolate. The result is something quite special.  Once the cocoa beans have been roasted, de-shelled,ground, refined and conched, Kelsey and her team begin the tricky task of tempering the chocolate before combining it with fruit, nuts, herbs, spices and all manner of tasty treats. The bars are then poured into moulds and the truffles are hand piped, dipped and decorated. Where she can, Kelsey sources her ingredients from local farm shops and ensures that no unnatural preservatives or sugars go near her chocolate! In fact, Kacao’s chocolate is so fresh, that it has a shorter shelf than your normal chocolate bar, and it is this freshness that provides the most amazing chocolate experience.

From Eton mess and banoffee pie to triple chocolate and mint crunch luxury bars, the only problem is picking which one to try! To make the decision slightly easier, I’ve picked two of my absolute favourites:

Vanilla, raspberry and pistachio is a fruit and nut choice with a difference. Creamy white chocolate is rippled with vanilla seeds and sprinkled with sharp little raspberries and crunchy roasted pistachios. Not only does it taste good but it looks as pretty as a picture in its crisp powder pink box.

The dark chocolate orange and cacao nibs bar is a dark and daring choice for those who love a kick to their chocolate. Made with natural orange oil and topped with candied orange and cacao nibs this seductive 70% dark chocolate has a real zing to it.

To experience these flavours for yourself, take a trip to the Castle Howard Farm Shop and treat yourself to a cosy evening in and a true chocolate experience.  Just be warned, you won’t want to share so these are best eaten alone!

Castle Howard Farm Shop – 01653 648619

Open daily from 9:30am to 5pm weekdays and 6pm on weekends