I love chocolate and for me, the darker the better. Seed and Bean sent me five bars from their dark chocolate range which included Cornish Sea Salt; Coconut and Raspberry; Extra Dark Chocolate; Just Ginger and Mandarin and Ginger Extra Dark. The flavours in the entire range are pretty exhaustive and there are plenty of flavours for both milk and white chocolate lovers too. There are eighteen to savour, 12 of those suitable for vegans and all the Milk and White range is Kosher certified.
The beans used in the bars are from Dominican Republic, Ecuador and the Sao Tome Islands in West Africa. It’s important that the cocoa farmers get a fair deal and the guys at Seed and Bean have got to know their suppliers personally. The company has 25 years of organic cocoa production knowledge and often help the farmers produce a greater crop of higher, finer quality bean. This in turn helps the farmers with a greater income, they also learn more about farming organically which funds healthcare, schools and ensures over a period of time they’re fully sustainable.
Other UK and organic fairtrade chocolate brands make their product miles away and transport it from Poland, Italy and Germany. Seed and Bean produce their chocolate in Northamptonshire, saving food miles, providing local employment and control over the product.
The ‘foil’ wrappers which keep the chocolate fresh is in fact made from Natureflex, fully compostable and made from trees.
I began with the Mandarin and Ginger Extra Dark and as I unwrapped it, I was hit with bright citrus notes. Snapping off the squares from the 100g bar and eating was a real pleasure, although personally, I wanted to taste ginger and see and crunch ginger in the chocolate, sadly that was lacking. Mr, however, loved every bite. Just goes to show.
The Organic Cornish Sea Salt Extra Dark is 70% Ecuadorian chocolate blended with a sprinkling of smoked Cornish sea salt. Made from rare Ecuadorian ‘nacional cocoa’ beans,this was delicious.
The Organic Just Ginger Dark Chocolate Bar is 58% dark Dominican Trinitario chocolate with a mix of Sri Lankan Ginger infused oil. Perfect for these awfully cold winter nights.
The Coconut and Raspberry bar is made with coconut oil, but it’s not that taste which invades your mouth. It’s the sharpness of raspberry with very little coconut notes. Mr LOVED this bar, not being a huge fan of coconut but coconut lovers might be disappointed. Think dense gooey brownie, studded with raspberries then you pretty much get the idea – buy it – it’s a super bar of the dark stuff. I say ditch the coconut oil and make this bar solely raspberry.
Finally, The Extra Dark Chocolate bar is 72% Dominican Cocoa with raw cane sugar from Paraguay.
Seed and Bean can boast that they’re the only 100% accredited chocolate producer. In practical terms their ingredients are made withFairtrade and Soil Approved ingredients. The company only use real fruit and not flavouring. Seed and Bean also have 7 Great Taste Awards, no mean feat.
Steve began the company in 2005 and wanted to create an organic and fairtrade range of confectionary and snacks. He is a former buyer for Holland & Barrett and then went to work for Craig Sams of Green & Blacks in the mid-nineties. When investors moved into the business, Steve took off and began Seed and Bean. He wanted to produce a more artisan range, made in England made in small batches, produced and sold because of its fantastic taste and not organic. It’s recently had something of a makeover, so if you’re already a fan, this is the label you’re after now.
So, Steve has accomplished what he set out to do when he started the company. His chocolate is all handmade in small batches in England and the cocoa beans are all single estate which gives a much richer, smoother taste. The largest amount mixed is 45 litres when larger companies begin at a whopping 10,000.
You can buy Seed and Bean chocolate from Waitrose, Planet Organics, Whole Food Markets, Daylesford, delicatessens and specialist food shops in and around London, the UK, Ireland and Europe. If you can’t find them, they’re available online at www.seedandbean.co.uk.