When reaching for a sweet treat, the most popular option in the world is by far chocolate, right?
Not all chocolate is created equal though, and bean to bar is an option that combines indulgent flavours with great ethical and sustainable principles. Sounds interesting? Keep on reading to find out more.
Bean to bar chocolate has seen a huge rise in popularity in the past few years and there are now dozens of chocolate makers right here in the UK embracing this philosophy.
Combining delicious chocolate with more ethical manufacture, bean to bar chocolate is a great option to indulge your sweet tooth while supporting farmers and makers around the world.
To help you decide which chocolate is right for you, we’ve put together a list of some of the best b2b chocolate makers in the UK right now that you’ll definitely want to sample.
But first… What is bean to bar chocolate, exactly?
Bean to bar chocolate refers to makers who produce chocolate directly from the raw ingredients of cocoa beans. These makers sort, roast, and grind the beans themselves, before they temper and mould the finished chocolate bars.
This process allows chocolate makers to focus on the individual flavours of different bean varieties. Some have fruity notes, some have smooth caramel overtones, or even hints of banana, and, like a fine wine, it’s the bouquet of these flavours that makes each type of chocolate an individual tasting experience to savour.
More importantly, this method of making chocolate is far more ethical as it allows farmers to be paid a living wage for their crops and supports environmental sustainability.
Our Ten Best UK Bean to Bar Chocolate Makers:
10. Neary Nógs Stoneground Chocolate
Northern Ireland’s first bean to bar makers, Neary Nógs offer vegan and gluten free chocolate bars including mango and chilli, ginger, and delectable chocolate caramel cups, fudge, and truffles.
Solkiki is a completely vegan owned and operated family business. Their premises are powered by renewable energy, and they hand temper and hand pack all of their bars. Their shop offers white, dark, and milk chocolate, with many interesting flavour additions including vanilla, salted caramel, and apple crumble.
Lucocoa was London’s first bean to bar chocolate maker. Working with suppliers, Lococoa produce bars using cocoa beans, coconut sugar (which gives it a rich caramel flavour) and lucuma (a super food from Peru that also adds a maple, caramel background taste). Try their Matcha white chocolate for a grown up treat, or Gianduja Bites for a delicious vegan, nutty selection.
Offering bars and a small selection of limited edition truffles (including locally inspired Cornish Cream Tea truffles), Chocolarder are based in Falmouth. Founded in 2012, Chocolarder sources cocoa beans direct from farmers and matures their chocolate for up to 40 days to allow the flavours to truly shine. Top picks include Wild Gorse Flower 50% milk, and Dark Chocolate Smooth orange peel 68%.
6. Bare Bones Chocolate
Based in the centre of Glasgow, Bare Bones Chocolate make small batches of chocolate and use recycled packaging sourced entirely within the UK. Their shop offers vegan bars, as well as gift hampers full of delicious treats. Their award winning original collection also includes a variety of different percent chocolates to suit every palette
Sourcing cocoa beans from all over the world, Duffy’s bring them back to their base in Grimsby, Lincolnshire. Their shop offers a large variety of bars including milk, dark, and dark milk. They also offer a mixture of flavoured chocolates including orange, raspberry, and coffee, and you’ll also find hot chocolate and Panama cocoa tea.
4. Dormouse Chocolates
Recipient of International Chocolate Awards in 2019 and 2020, Dormouse Chocolates are based in Manchester. With a focus on transparent sourcing of beans and developing sustainable practices, Dormouse offers white, dark, and milk chocolates including vegan options made with oat milk, and an award winning bread and butter milk chocolate. They also have several limited edition choices. Chocolates are available online or from their shop in Manchester.
Started in 2016 by Phil Landers, Land chocolate was born when Phil visited a cacao field in Guatemala. His first bars were made in the kitchen with a spice grinder and a hairdryer but since that time Land chocolate has gone from strength to strength, winning awards and appearing in both The Sunday Times and The Guardian. In 2022 Land moved to new premises in East London to expand their range, which includes white, dark, milk chocolate, drinking chocolate, and gifts.
2. Pump Street Bakery
Located in Orford, Suffolk, this bakery and chocolate maker was started in 2010 by a father and daughter team. Sourcing beans directly from makers, Pump Street offer white, milk, and dark chocolate bars including several imbued with elements from their bakery like the Rye crumb, milk, and sea salt 60% bar.
1. Frankly Delicious
Coming in at the top of our list, Frankly Delicious operates with only two staff out of very small premises in Leeds. Originally a chocolatier, the owner Frank, decided switching to bean to bar chocolate making to be able to offer ethical bars which don’t compromise on flavour. Treats on offer include dark, milk, and white chocolate, as well as chocolate tea, and hot chocolate. Their packaging is also recyclable and compostable.
Whether you’re looking for something dark and stormy, or milky and sweet, these bean to bar makers are the perfect way to treat yourself while supporting ethical makers.
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