The Chocolate Life

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Vera Hofman's Blog (16)

My favourite dark catches in 2013.

I tasted a lot of excellent dark bars this year!

So I'm happy!

Here’s a list of my favourites.

Depending on my mood, the order can change.


  1. Szántó Tibor: San Cristobal Crudo (and more bars of his collection)
  2. Dandelion: Maya Mountain Belize
  3. Soma: Old School, Bachelor’s Hall and El Vigia
  4. Felchlin’s new couverture Costa Rica
  5. Bar Au Chocolat: Sambirano, Chiapas and Duarte Province
  6. Wilkies: Tumbes and…

Added by Vera Hofman on December 16, 2013 at 5:08pm — No Comments

My Top 3 Chocolates at Le Salon Du Chocolat in London 2013

Definitely my favourites are the Original Beans Esmeraldas-Truffles of ‘Toot Sweets’! They are not covered with chocolate, it’s just ganache and cocoa powder. So you must pick them up carefully, because they are very soft. They melt lightly and creamy, like silk on your tongue. Incredibly delicious!!…


Added by Vera Hofman on October 21, 2013 at 12:14pm — No Comments

Origin Chocolate Event Amsterdam October 16th and 17th 2012

Last year the Origin Chocolate Event started as a little event: one evening, four speakers and about forty visitors. This year it was much bigger: two days, ten speakers and a lot more visitors. Location was the very beautiful Royal Tropical Institute in Amsterdam. The first day was for professionals and the second day for the real chocolate lovers.

Purpose of the event is to promote fine flavour and sustainable chocolate in The Netherlands. Organized by Erik Sauër (El Sauco,…


Added by Vera Hofman on November 18, 2012 at 5:29pm — 3 Comments

Chocolate Unwrapped, London, October 13th-14th 2012

Three weeks ago I was in London to be at Chocolate Unwrapped for the second year. This year a new location ‘Covent Garden’; more stands, talks, demonstrations and visitors! A few years ago this event was set up to promote fine flavour chocolate, artisan chocolatiers and chocolate companies who work in direct partnership with the cocoa farmers. And I must say: they succeeded!

I arrived Friday before the event. Because I was not be able to go to Paris this year I went straight to La…


Added by Vera Hofman on November 4, 2012 at 11:49am — No Comments

Visiting Turin, the chocolate capital of Italy and the Cioccola-To festival, March 1-5, 2012.

My visit to Turin started with a tour in Guido Gobino’s factory. In 1985 he took over the company from his father. He optimised the production processes and improved the quality by focussing on excellency and by researching and innovating products. He has succeeded: he is known as one of the best chocolate makers in Italy for years. At this moment there are 27 people working and they produce 900 kg gianduja per day. Of course made with the best hazelnuts from the Piedmont: Tonda Gentile…


Added by Vera Hofman on March 6, 2012 at 5:06pm — 3 Comments

Chocolate Triathlon: Third part Le Salon du Chocolat Paris Oct 21st

The 8th time I visited Le Salon du Chocolat in Paris. To be honest: I love it and I hate it. It’s too big and too crowded. But I have to go because every year I find some very special things that makes the trip worth it. First I check which chocolatiers won the awards from Le Club Des Croqueurs de Chocolat. I mostly agree with their opinion. Five of the twelve best were at Le Salon: Pascal Le Gac, Vincent Guerlais, Jean-Paul Hévin, Sadaharu Aoki and ES Koyama.  The last one I had…


Added by Vera Hofman on November 22, 2011 at 12:50pm — 1 Comment

Chocolate Triathlon: Second part: Single Origin Event Amsterdam Oct 18th

This was the first year of the Single Origin Event in The Netherlands. Hopefully this will be a yearly event from now on. The location was Restaurant Merkelbach in Amsterdam. The event was organized by Erik Sauer of El Sauco, distributor of some very beautiful single origin chocolates (yes also Original Beans!) and Erik Spande, owner of Chocolátl chocolate shop in Amsterdam. They invited Santiago (Pacari), Mott (Grenada), Philipp (Original Beans) and Kees (Metropolitan Deli) to tell the…


Added by Vera Hofman on November 21, 2011 at 12:25pm — 1 Comment

Chocolate Triathlon: First part London Chocolate Unwrapped Oct 15-16th

It took me some time to recover from my first Chocolate Triathlon in October. Fortunately I am in good shape again and I can tell you about my experiences. The three parts were: Chocolate Unwrapped in London, The Single Origin Event in Amsterdam and Le Salon du Chocolat in Paris. Now up to London!

This was my first visit to Chocolate Unwrapped. The event was held in Vinopolis near Borough Market, a beautiful location. I helped both days at the booth of Original Beans. A lot of people…


Added by Vera Hofman on November 20, 2011 at 3:18pm — 2 Comments

Part two: Developing the new Organic Grand Cru Piura from Original Beans

Thank you all for your enthusiastic responses and showing interest in the development of Original Beans’ new recipe! What happened after two weeks? Is the new chocolate still so fruity?

How does Organic Grand Cru sound? I like it. We have waited for the first organic harvest from Congo (Cru Virunga) to make the change for all products.

But the most important thing we have changed in our recipe has to do with conching, a truly magic process in the art of making fine chocolate.…


Added by Vera Hofman on August 11, 2011 at 1:11pm — 3 Comments

My dream came true: a visit to Felchlin!

As you all might know I work as a volunteer for Original Beans. The combination of delicious chocolate and nature conservation makes it the best in my opinion.

Two weeks ago Philipp, founder, called me. A new test production would start Thursday! If I could come to Switzerland? Wow! A dream comes true! I immediately packed my suitcase. The biggest one so I can take a lot of chocolate back home. We are on a mission: how can we get more of the fruity flavors of the bean into our Piura…


Added by Vera Hofman on August 2, 2011 at 1:01pm — 3 Comments

Fijian Summer in Holland!

A “chocolate-order-break” during summer time? No way! I have to taste new chocolate and will take the risk of melting problems. A few weeks ago I heard for the first time of Adi Chocolate Fiji. Chocolate from Fijian beans and made on one of these beautiful Islands.

Wow, this sounds great! I have to taste it! So I sent an e-mail to Adi. Very quickly I got a response from Tom, the owner. He was very enthusiastic about the first trip of his chocolate to The Netherlands. They even…


Added by Vera Hofman on July 12, 2011 at 5:07pm — 2 Comments

My visit to De Bondt in Pisa

About 12 years ago I bought the Dutch translation of Chantal Coady’s book “The Chocolate Companion”. One of the chocolatiers that got very high rates was Paul de Bondt. I had never heard of him but I became very curious after reading her review. Although he is Dutch his shop is not in The Netherlands but in Pisa, Italy. But I knew then: one day I will visit Pisa!

A few years later I discovered a few of his bars at Le Salon du Chocolat in Paris. They were excellent!

In September…


Added by Vera Hofman on May 14, 2011 at 5:35pm — 2 Comments

The Chocolate Festival at South Bank, London

Two weeks ago, April 8-10th, I visited The Chocolate Festival in London. The first day I helped out in the Original Beans stall. Besides the delicious bars, we sold beautiful chocolates made by the Belgian chocolatier Geert Vercruysse (of course with our couverture!).
My other favourites at the festival: Paul Wayne Gregory's salted caramel lollipops with popping candy, Damian Allsops waterbased ganaches and the…

Added by Vera Hofman on April 24, 2011 at 4:26pm — 1 Comment

My latest discovery: Danta Chocolate!

In the last five months I tasted a lot of new chocolate: Friis Holm, Bojesen, Tobago Estate, Pralus’ Chuao, Idilio, Bouga Cacao, Bonnat (Haïti, Cuba, Piura), Cacao Sampaka, Vietnam of Morin and Puyricard, Fine & Raw, Rogue, Mast Brothers, Patric, Red Star and of course Original Beans’ Piura Porcelana and the new recipe of Beni Wild Harvest (I love them!).


Although I have tasted 494 different dark chocolates so far, I had never tasted a single origin from…


Added by Vera Hofman on March 5, 2011 at 3:04pm — No Comments

Where to go in Belgium? Kortrijk!

Last year on February 11th I was in London to attend a tasting of with  Art Pollard of Amano, which I enjoyed very much. This year on February 11th I was in Kortrijk to visit my chocolate friend Geert Vercruysse (


I met Geert at a chocolate symposium for professionals arranged by Hidde de Brabander, a talented patissier/chocolatier in the Netherlands, May last year. I represented…


Added by Vera Hofman on February 14, 2011 at 10:53am — 1 Comment

There's something going on in Amsterdam

In 1997, when my passion for fine chocolate started, the only premium bar I could buy in The Netherlands was Valrhona's Le Noir. For many years it was very difficult to get good chocolate. At some places you saw more bars of Valrhona and if you were lucky one of Amedei’s. Still there was not much going on. For the real stuff I visited Paris a lot.

But the last two years there is a chocolate revolution going on in The Netherlands! In 2009 Kees Raat, our  most famous chocolatier ,…


Added by Vera Hofman on January 22, 2011 at 1:30pm — 3 Comments

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