The Chocolate Life

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Sorry for the late notice, Willie Harcourt-Cooze is back on TV upgrading his chocolate factory. Was on last night on ABC1 at 9:30, there was one a week before this that I missed and there is one next week. You can probably view them on catchup TV on the ABC1 website. For those that don't know his original series aired in Australia earlier this year, he is a crazy English chocolate maker - makes good chocolate, I have tasted it.

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You are spot-on - the first episode was replayed on the ABC website, so I assume the second would be as well. Unfortunately I haven't had the opportunity to see either yet

I've bought a couple of times from WIllie's online store, it takes about 12 days to arrive in Melbourne.  My last order was for 9 x 80g bars, with shipping it came to about 33 pounds, which is about $54 at the moment.

 

I buy 9 bars because they charge shipping in increments, 250g, 750g, 1kg, 2kg, etc.  For small orders 750g is the optimum size, hence 9 * 80g bars.

 

The bars are delicious, but the termpering isn't perfect, with slight blooming and an average snap.  But at about $5.75 each, delivered to my door, they're fantastic value.

 

Cheers

Jonathon

Thanks for that info, I might have to order some myself that is pretty good value. I have tried his stuff in the past also, fantastic taste but as you say finishing is a little rustic.

 

At the moment the best choc value I have found (other than making my own, which doesn't happen at the mo due to broken arm) is Chocovic from a little deli near my work for $10 for 250g blocks.

I did some searching and have found that Willie's chocolate bars and cooking bars (cylinders) are available from Jones the Grocer www.jonesthegrocer.com. There is one around the corner from me, I will have to check it out! Forgot to ask about prices for the bars though.

Bought some, cylinders about $23 a pop (180g of 100% cacao) and bars $10 (~70% cocoa content with cocoa butter content making up between 10-15% - typical dark chocolate) for 80g. Willie roasts quite heavy, I am reminded of Pralus especially Willies Madagascar origin bar, eve down to formulation - Willie uses a bit more sugar. The Indo origin bar was very heavily roasted, almost burnt but it worked in that the bar reminded me of an excellent stout I had recently done by local Adelaide brewers the Brew Boys.

 

All up significantly more expensive than ordering it yourself over the internet.

If only Willie delivered more quickly.  I've ordered several times and each time it's taken a good 2 weeks to arrive.

 

Does anybody know of a mail order company that will deliver Amedei to Australia? (for cheaper than the $18.50 that Lario charges for 50g of Chuao)

Since my last post I've discovered Chocolate & Love, who are shipping me 10 bars of Amedei Chuao for about 58 pounds, so about $9 per bar.  That includes the shipping cost of 10 pounds.

 

Ive also ordered some Valrhona and other bits and pieces from The Chocolate Society, they charge 15 pounds for shipping.

 

Neither order has arrived yet, so I can't comment fully yet.

 

Cheers

Jonathon

Wow that is cheap, and great that you have found someone to ship to you. I tried a few times to convince places in the USA like Bittersweet Cafe to ship me a range of bars but all were reluctant and wanted to ship really expensively to avoid melting on the journey.

 

Actually now I am thinking about it I never tried the Food Emporium on 68th and 3rd in NY. I got a friend to go there once and bring back a whole heap of stuff. Apparently the biggest chocolate shop my friend had ever seen, they carry virtually everything bean to bar. The email contact I have is for Steve Kravets maybe they would be willing to ship, my mate said they bent over backwards to help him fill my order.

I've been giving some thought to setting up an Australian online business selling high quality bars in Australia - Amedei, Valrhona, Mast Brothers, etc.  Shipping them in from Europe, keeping costs really low and selling at a price comparable to European retail prices. 

 

My main concern is estimating the market size - when you eat a lot of high quality chocolate yourself it's easy to think that lots of other people would want it, but of course that's not the case.

 

What do you think the market size is for high quality chocolate bars in Australia?

 

Cheers

Jonathon

Oooh that is a tricky one. I'll think about it for a bit and get back to you on that. I ran a skimboard importing / wholesaleing business for a few years and the currency exchange rate variability and shipping times were the most painful issues logistically. The education about the product was also a huge issue in building the business, which I think will be a huge issue for chocolate too. In the end the GFC finished me off.

I think you will probably have separate issues with every chocolate manufacturer, as some may have contracts with the importers already such as Amedei (Lario), Valrhona (Simon Jonson), Willie (Jones the Grocer), Cluizel (Apromo Trading) etc. They may look unfavourably on you undercutting them. Also the manufacturers themselves may have issues with online sales depending on their sales plan. However there are choc manufacturers that don't have contracts in Australia like Mast Brothers, however a friend of mine tried to contact them to buy some in and they never replied to him. I don't know if Askinosie still has an importer here either.

 

It would be great though to have a one stop online choc shop for the chocolate freak instead of having to travel all over and order it in.

So I got my delivery yesterday from the Chocolate Society - www.chocolate.co.uk.  

 

The package arrived pretty quickly, I ordered on a Tuesday night Melbourne time and it arrived the following Wednesday morning, so essentially 7 days.  The chocolate was all individually bubble wrapped and arrived in perfect condition.

 

I would definitely buy from them again.  

 

Cheers

Jonathon

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