The Kentish Cobnut is a cultivated British hazelnut (Corylus avellena) which has been grown in this part of South East England for hundreds of years.
The Kentish Cobnuts for this Cocoa Retreat Dark Milk chocolate bar are expertly-grown, harvested and oven-roasted by Edward, a specialist local nut farmer. They have an intensely sweet and creamy hazelnut flavour which pairs beautifully with these special beans from Mono Bravo, Esmeraldas Province, Ecuador, with their mild and distinctly nutty flavour profile.
They make a deliciously buttery 60% dark milk bar.
The Esmeraldas Province lies at the southernmost point of one of the most threatened and least known rainforest ecosystems on earth – the Chocó. Esmeraldas cacao is sourced from Mache Chindul, the last coastal cloud forest of Ecuador which feeds all major rivers in the region and is home to a huge variety of plants and wildlife, including the Imbabura Tree Frog and the Mache Glas Frog.
Already, 85 small rural communities have settled inside the nature reserve and add to the deforestation, caused by logging and slash and burn practices. However, the remoteness of Mono Bravo guarantees that their heirloom Arriba Nacional cacao remains unaffected by Ecuador’s boom in hybrid cocoa. This gives them exceptional heirloom chocolate, and the chance to preserve the other gifts of nature in Mache Chindul.
Interwoven throughout 280 hectares of mountainous cloud forests are farms growing this traditional cacao. These Ecuadorian farmers pride themselves on their old-grown Arriba Nacional, preferring to ferment their beans in bags covered with banana leaves to reduce acidity without losing the rich textures and flavours.
The expert cacao sourcers I work with have partnered with Original Beans to provide local training in organic agro-forestry, post-harvest handling, and quality control. On top of getting paid for their cacao, farmers also get a premium for preserving the rainforest that falls on their land, incentivizing them to protect the rich biodiversity of the Mache Chindul Ecological Reserve.
Bean variety: Arriba Nacional
Light roast, 15 hour grind, no conch.
*Contains dairy milk, contains nuts.
“… great flavours and really fine execution from an imaginative new maker. Bravo!” Andrew Baker, author From Bean To Bar A Chocolate Lover’s Guide to Britain, Twitter 22.4.22
“Cocoa Retreat’s Kentish Cobnut Dark Milk was epic. I am a big fan of Cocoa Retreat’s…” Annalisa Barbieri, Notes on Chocolate, The Observer Magazine, 17.4.22