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Review: Willie's Peruvian 70
Willie's Peruvian 70
Posted: 12 September 2011
Like the Madagascan, there are fruit notes. What set this apart from the Madagascan was that the beans had a background taste that was earthier.
The chocolate's delicious, so on that count, Willie is successful.
Mr. Willie Harcourt-Cooze may not be the ideal candidate to cater your cacao-free Middle Eastern dinner party, marry your sister and make her happy, and be there for the kids' cricket games and badminton bashes. Thank goodness you can still count on him to produce a tasty chocolate bar.
price/gram: USD 0.06
Cocoa %: 70
After reviewing Willie's
Madagascan 71, I
knew I was onto something good. I love knocking
pretentious chocolate manufacturers down a notch or two . .
. or ten. Willie, however, has earned his ratings.
Big Bad Bryan, the Australian who introduced me to Willie's
chocolates, had seen Willie's British television specials.
He echoed the sentiments spoken of by many that Willie ain't
the easiest fellow in the UK to live with. Willie puts
cacao in absolutely every dish! A pad thai with
cacao or Korean ginseng cacao chicken would drive anyone
nuts. Every tried kimchi with cacao? Willie
probably has The guy had put the livelihood of
himself, his wife, and three kids on the line to keep their
hacienda in Venezuela a chugging along to develop his
British chocolate brand.
His Peruvian 70 is almost the same
cacao concentration as the Madgascan 71 but sourced
from the San Martin province of Peru. I'd tried a
Peruvian blend near 70% with
Duc De Praslin.
We'll pretend that experience never happened, shall we?
This was the first quality Peruvian bean bar I've ever
tried. It was just as delicious as the Madagascan.
Willie again mentions "long forgotten flavors" but this time
with "subtle, tropical fruit notes."
Like the Madagascan,
there are fruit notes. I couldn't tell you if
they were tropical, subtropical, or from northern
Scandinavia. What set this apart from the Madagascan
was that the beans had a background taste that was earthier,
and I could make out those same Peruvian earthy tones in the
Duc De Praslin Peruvian bar . . . or was that just
The Duc and Willie shouldn't be mentioned in the same
sentence. The Duc is just a brand name slapped onto
some inferior chocolate made by a Belgian manufacturer
willing to let others slap any brand name on it.
Willie, on the other hand, is a bean-to-bar stud. If I
knew any women who were obsessed with chocolate
manufacturing -- I don't -- they'd sleep with a guy like
Willie or at least sleep with his bars.
The chocolate's delicious, so
on that count, Willie is successful; but success seems to
have eluded the poor guy on the financial and sexual fronts. From what I've gathered Willie is a micro-organizer. He
focuses on all the small things which need to happen for him
to create luscious tasting chocolate. Meanwhile, while
all that micro stuff is going on, the macro goes down the
toilet. The ever patient wife Tania seen in the
Willie's TV specials separated from choco Willie in 2010 and
has filed for divorce as of 2011. Were chocolate eggs
and chocolate sausages the straw that broke the camel's back
and gave Tania that final case of indigestion for which she
could not forgive Willie? Or was it
the fact Willie neglected his 3 young kiddies because he was
putting in choco-time down at the factory?
As tasty as Willie's chocolate is,
don't expect to be tasting it anytime soon. The
operation just isn't built for economies of scale.
According to Willie, "The old original machines that I've
sourced, mainly in Europe, may be smaller and slower than
today's modern machines -- which are made for speed and
commercial profitability -- but they capture the subtle
notes and unique flavors of our cacao in a way modern
machines are unable to. I restored a traditional
1920's batch roaster and antique conching tanks from Spain
that growl and groan and thud as they process the beans.
It all takes time . . ." And time is money. Is Willie using old equipment because he can't afford
better, yet spins the lack in positive way so that it
appears an asset to be using 100-year old machinery?
Or is century-old machinery truly superior for capturing the
subtle notes and unique flavors? If Kraft eventually
decides to buy Willie's out as another artisan chocolate
manufacturer and ditches the Victorian machinery, then we'll
have our answer -- and possibly bad chocolate as well.
Harcourt-Cooze may not be the ideal candidate to cater your cacao-free Middle Eastern
dinner party, marry your sister and make her happy, and be
there for the kids' cricket games and badminton bashes. Thank goodness you can still count
on him to produce a tasty chocolate bar.