The first Cacao Collective dinner in London

Hideko Kawa, Graham Hornigold, Cherish Finden, Daniel Pearse and Julie Sharp

Take a group of some of the best and most passionate pastry chefs, add a selection of the finest chocolate or cacao, enrich it with great knowledge, spice it up with some exciting news, a lot of creativity and a deep care for the environment and you will get a wonderful Cacao Collective.

The first English Cacao Collective meeting took place last week around a dinner table at Brunswick house, London, and was the first of a series of events organized by Cacao Barry to facilitate the exchange of knowledge, experiences, passion for chocolate and mutual support bewteen pastry chefs who use Cacao Barry chocolate for their creations.

The menu of the evening

The evening began with mingling and chatting whilst enjoying a glass of sparkling wine and continued with a lovely dinner. It was one of the rare opportunities for pastry chefs to get together outside of their working environment and enjoy a relaxed evening and a heartfelt chat with their colleagues.

We heard about some career moves (but as promised, we are keeping them secret for now!) some new projects and tasted a delicious new limited edition chocolate.

The Cacao Barry chocolate pot

The limited edition Cacao Barry chocolate, called Conduru, was presented by Victor Griffiths, the UK Cacao Barry Gourmet Account Manager. It is a 68% chocolate made with Brazilian cacao, characterized by a fresh cocoa perfume. It has a strong cocoa taste with a beautiful acidity. All the pastry chefs loved the fruity notes of citrus. David Girard, the executive pastry chef from the Dorchester, was inspired to combine it with cherries. This intriguing chocolate also has a good bitterness with some pleasant astringency at the end of the long lasting taste. It was unanimously agreed that it is a beautiful chocolate, one to be enjoyed fully, as long as the supplies last!

Pleasant atmosphere around the table

The evening continued with a fascinating speech by Graham Hornigold, the executive pastry chef of the Hakkasan group, who told us how he became really passionate for chocolate when he discovered the richness of different Cacao Barry chocolates - a wonderful choice of different flavours and structures from different origins which inspire him and his team to develop new creations. He also shared with us his fantastic experience of visiting Cacao Barry’s cacao plantations and how this experience changed his understanding and respect for chocolate. He talked about his meetings with the farmers, the entire families involved, about the support they get from Cacao Barry for development and education, which enables them to live a better life. He enjoyed enormously surprising the farmers with the creations he made using their cacao. This story provoked other chefs to share their experience of visiting a cacao plantation. Every chef agreed that it’s a transforming experience, one which makes you see and respect chocolate on a much deeper level.

Sharing is caring and that’s what the Cacao Collective is about. The sample is true for this blog. We hope to inspire you through our stories and the people who so passionately share their creativity, love and knowledge. Thank you for reading.