|From bean to bar - a chocolate maker’s story||November 2017|
The artisan chocolate company is the brainchild of Deanna Tilston, who has developed her range of four, single origin chocolate bars and makes each and every bar at her dedicated chocolate kitchen in Suffolk, from scratch.
Deanna’s passion for chocolate has developed through periods of living abroad and discovering different styles of chocolate. As with anything, the finished product is only as good as what goes into it, so Deanna has worked hard to produce chocolate that uses ethical methods of production and is as ‘healthy’ as possible.
Tosier Chocolate is made using pure cacao, cacao butter and a little unrefined organic cane sugar. The bars are the ultimate in ‘clean eating’ and Deanna’s perfected four varieties in the range.
The 2016 harvest Alto Beni Cacao from Bolivia is Deanna’s personal favourite. She says: ‘I love it. It’s got a really nice mouthfeel and buttery finish. It’s a good one for people who don’t eat dark chocolate. They ask what’s in it. It’s so fruity, almost citrusy.’
The food entrepreneur’s passion for her product is palpable: ‘What I love is before I even make the chocolate, opening the sack of beans. The aroma is wonderful. The strange thing is different roasts smell differently. You get to know the scent of each roast.’
Once Deanna had made the decision to start making her own chocolate range, there was no stopping her. ‘I have always loved making things by hand and my decision to learn how to make chocolate was a combination of hard work, trial and error and beginner’s luck. My first attempts tasted good and this encouraged me on to learn more.
‘To improve my understanding of the theory and context of chocolate I took Ecole Chocolat’s bean-to-bar course and later a hands-on course with Chloe Doutre-Roussel and Marie Fernanda Di Giacobbe. I travelled to the US to buy the equipment I needed - this was the point of no return!’
Deanna makes the chocolate in six kilo batches, a process that allows her to keep a close eye on every stage of the process – as she says: ‘I sort, crack, winnow, grind and conch the chocolate.’
It’s a mysterious language that matches perfectly the alchemy that goes into turning beans into bars.
Alto Beni Cacao, Bolivia - 2016 harvest
Warm notes of dark cherry, blackberry and rich coffee
Maya Mountain Cacao, Belize - 2017 harvest
Delicate notes of caramel, pineapple and honey
Acul du Nord, Haiti - 2016 harvest
Velvety notes of fig, tart cherry and lightly roasted nuts
Tumaco, Colombia - 2017 harvest
Rich nutty and floral notes with fruit undertones