Yorkshire Chocolate Festival coming to Sheffield this autumn - and you can expect many international flavours
There’ll be a truly international flavour at the Roundabout Yorkshire Chocolate Festival at Sheffield’s Kelham Island Museum this autumn.
For chocolatier John Cowings, brings in beans from around the globe to create the distinctive chocolate tastes of his Derbyshire micro business Cacoa Elora.
And he will be sharing some of his trade secrets and his favourite creations with a taster session at the October 24 festival, which is being presented by South Yorkshire youth homelessness charity Roundabout.
It’s a day of live music, workshops and more than 50 stalls featuring all things chocolate - everything from from brownies and doughnuts to hot chocolate and beer as well as a selection of non-edible chocolate themed gifts.
Working from his home in Alfreton, John - a diversity officer with Derbyshire County Council - imports beans from as far afield as Uganda, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Indonesia, Ecuador, Papua New Guinea and North West Honduras.
“This is a real bean to bar business, starting with the cocoa bean and going through the complete process, right here at home in the Amber Valley,” says John.
“I’ve been making chocolate products since 2014 and at first I worked with chocolate made by other suppliers but then I discovered that I could do the whole thing myself on a small scale.
“I source the beans from countries all around the world - different places produce different beans and different tastes and it’s those differences that you try to bring out in the production process.
“The beans are not produced by big companies but are grown by people who are perhaps working in cooperatives.
“When the beans arrive at my home, I then start the who process of drying them, seeking out imperfections - you have to go through them by hand - and then I have to roast them to bring out the distinctive flavours and also loosen the shell.
“The result of all those processes is the cocoa nibs and from them you make chocolate that is as pure as possible.”
John sells his chocolate bars online at craft and food fairs and at Roundabout’s Yorkshire Chocolate Festival he will also be offering an afternoon tasting session.
“There will be different samples of chocolate - dark, milk and white - and some with different flavours so people can explore the full range of tastes and discover where the beans come from and what a difference that can make,” John explains.
And one of the questions he anticipates he will be asked is how much he enjoys chocolate himself now that he spends so much of his time surrounded by the product.
“Of course I enjoy chocolate but people think I must be eating it all the time but of course you don’t,” he admits.
“What I like is the way that chocolate has changed as I have learnt more about it and there’s still much more for me to discover.”
To find out more about Roundabout’s Yorkshire Chocolate Festival and to purchase tickets simply visit roundabouthomeless.org/event/yorkshire-chocolate-festival/