We’ve all done things when we’re drunk and feeling a bit sad that we later regret. Well let me disappoint you by saying this isn’t one of those stories. Because drunkenly signing up for a chocolate subscription box is one of the best ideas I had during lockdown.
I’d read about Cocoa Runners subscription boxes in the Guardian that week but it took a bottle of wine before I actually got my debit card out. Luckily, when my first box arrived a week later I was not disappointed!
Cocoa Runners promises to take you on a voyage of discovery and they definitely do. The first three boxes are designed to introduce you to the different elements of chocolate tasting such as texture and flavour. There are tasting notes alongside each bar so it feels like you’re on a short course in chocolate tasting.
With my taste buds inured to cheap, sugary chocolate (which I do of course still enjoy) trying these bars was a whole new world. Before I tried Taza’s dark chocolate cinnamon discs, for example, I had no idea that traditional Mexican chocolate has a gritty texture because it is stone ground. It sounds weird but I really enjoyed it.
Before my subscribtion, which I’ve had for six months now I had no idea how complex the flavours of chocolate are. Cocoa Runners describe it as being similar to tasting wine. Each of the bars in my monthly box taste wildly different from one another, even if they have the same origin. Not because they are flavoured with anything but because of how and where the beans are grown and processed. I’ve started to develop marked preferences too, although I’ve yet to try a bar I haven’t liked. This month I’ve had two bars made from rare Nacional cocoa beans, a variety that was thought extinct until 2007. They were different but both amazing.
One of the things that drew me to Cocoa Runners in particular was their commitment to artisan chocolate makers that goes beyond a simple Fair Trade logo you see in bars in the supermarket. The bars all come with a story behind them about who made them and who grew the beans. You don’t find that in the supermarket.
According to Cocoa Runners
This direct trade also ensures that cocoa farmers in some of the poorest parts of the world get the best possible deal, and that you can feel good about eating every bar you receive.
The subscription costs £21.90 a month including postage. Each month you receive four bars and tasting notes to go with them. The bars usually cost around £7 each so it’s good value. It’s also good to know you’re making a difference to cocoa farmers around the world.