We’re as dubious as the next person when it comes to the endless stream of national days and weeks celebrating everything from British pies to martinis (today also marks the start of National Curry Week, FYI).
But any excuse to get more chocolate in our lives is always welcome, so Chocolate Week, which runs from 12 to 18 October, is one event we can definitely get on board with.
From the company that will deliver artisan bars to your door to a deluxe chocolate gravy recipe, here are five ways for dedicated chocoholics to get their cocoa fix.
1. Try a superfood chocolate bar
One of Stylist’s favourite new chocolate brands, Doisy & Dam combine flavours you’d never think of putting together - but which really work. Take their new quinoa, smoked tea and vanilla variety (£3.50 for 100g). The delicate smokiness, crunchy texture from the quinoa and smooth, sweet milk chocolate go together perfectly. We’d also recommend their vegan-friendly coconut and lucuma dark chocolate bar.
2. Whip up your very own chocolate gravy
Cocoa aficionado Willie Harcourt-Cooze is known for pushing the boundaries when it comes to chocolate and this time he has whipped up a 100% cacao bar, made from the silky Sur del Lago bean from Venezuela. It’s chocolate in its purest form – which is to say it’s VERY bitter – so not one for the faint-hearted. If it’s too much on its own, why not try grating it into gravy to add a glorious richness to your Sunday roast? Here's his recipe:
Preparation time: 4-6 hours
2 organic chicken carcasses or 4 kg of fresh beef bones
2 sticks celery
4 large onions
450ml red wine with 2 litres of water if you are using chicken, or 1 bottle of red wine and less water for red meat gravies
4 black peppercorns
2 bay leaves
A few sprigs of fresh thyme
4 tsps grated 100% cacao
1: Preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas Mark 4.
2: Peel and chop the vegetables into large chunks and set aside. Place the bones or carcasses in a roasting tin and cook in the oven until nicely browned.
3: Remove the bones from the oven and place in a large pan with the rest of the ingredients, making sure the liquid completely covers them.
4: Simmer gently for 3-4 hours. For the first 2 hours or until the scum is clean looking, skim off the scum every 30 minutes.
5: Strain the liquid into a clean saucepan and reduce to 450ml by boiling fairly rapidly until rich and concentrated.
6: Stir in the grated cacao and season with salt and pepper.
3. Sample a sweet and savoury mash-up
Gordon Ramsay’s Maze restaurant in Mayfair is offering up the ultimate chocolate truffle as part of its Chocolate Week menu. So far, so normal, you might think. Except by ‘truffle’, they mean the sniffed-out-by-pigs-mushroom kind, not your regular sweet and gooey treat. Try the unusual dessert for £13 during Chocolate Week and until November as part of the restaurant's signature Maze10 tasting menu.
4. Sign up to a bespoke chocolate delivery service
Sometimes all you want when you’re sprawled on the sofa binge-watching Narcos is something sweet and cocoa-based to snack on without having to leave the house. Cue Cocoa Runners, a chocolate delivery service that posts out four artisan bars from across the globe (think dark chocolate with sesame seed and coconut from Madagascar and cherry chocolate from Ecuador) every month for you to enjoy in the comfort of your own home. Plus, Cocoa Runners promises to never send the same bar twice, so there’s always something new to look forward to. From £18.95 per month; sign up at cocoarunners.com.
5. Enrol on a rum and chocolate masterclass
Add a chocolatey twist to your Friday night drinks by joining Rococo Chocolates for a chocolate and rum pairing session at their Marylebone store (3 Moxon Street, London W1U 4EW). Cocoa expert Sam Smallman will be joined by global rum ambassador (cue career envy) Ian Burrell to match artisan bars with everything from dark naval rums to fruity Caribbean blends. £25 per person, Friday 16 October, 5-7pm or 7.30pm-9.30pm, booking essential, call Sam on 07469 853957 or email email@example.com.