Lifestyle

Notes on chocolate: keeping it all in the family

This week I want to tell you about a new chocolate company, launched earlier this year, called Bantu. Although the chocolate is made in London, the cocoa beans come from Cameroon, where its founder, Veronique Mbida, was born, in Yaoundé (she now lives in the UK, via France and Brazil).

The Bantu farm belongs to Veronique’s mother and all the cocoa grown there – she started planting the cocoa that these bars are made from in 2016 – is made into Bantu chocolate, so it’s a fairly closed-loop system. Veronique knows all of the nine people who work there regularly; all of whom are paid three times the Fairtrade equivalent.

I like this idea of a mother-and-daughter duo, completely in control of their cocoa and chocolate-bar production.

The chocolate is also wonderful. Each bar is made in very small batches of 150 – Veronique hopes to expand that to 250 at a time, but if it’s sold out when you get to the website, be patient. The bars I tasted included Limbe, which I loved. It’s a delicious, creamy, coconut-milk 55% bar (the coconut is subtle, unlike some other vegan milk bars) – thoroughly recommend this.

Nostradamus is a 38% dairy-free white chocolate; caramelised and with cocoa nibs and hibiscus, so it’s got a very sweet edge and is different to anything I’ve tasted before. There are also 66%, 73% and 83% bars. I’ve got my eye on the 66% Makossa as it has caramelised peanuts and hazelnuts. Each 70g bar is £8, and the website gives a breakdown of the costs and ethical concerns involved in producing chocolate.

Follow Annalisa on Twitter @AnnalisaB

bantuchocolate.com

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