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Food & Drink: Original Beans Chocolate at London Chocolate Festival 

Original Beans [Democratic Republic of Congo]

London Chocolate Festival

[Image credit: Original Beans]

Spent a rather indulgent, calorie-busting afternoon with family at the London Chocolate Festival yesterday. Although smaller than I anticipated the Festival, held over three days on London’s Southbank, brought together some of the finest chocolatiers, along with the opportunity to try before you buy – a chocolate lover’s dream. We were fortunate enough to have another gloriously hot spring day which brought out the crowds; not only to the Festival but right along the stretch of the Southbank from Tower Bridge to the London Eye. Southbank is one of my favourite places in London, with so much going on you’re always bound to find something to keep you entertained. Anyhoo… back to chocolate, and one chocolatier of note was a company called Original Beans who are focused on sustainable farming and conservation of the world’s increasingly threatened rainforests.

The company based in the Netherlands was established in 2006 and specialises in sourcing the world’s rarest and flavourful cacao beans; beans that grow in equatorial rainforests and one such bean was from the Democratic Republic of Congo. Working with the local farmers, Original Beans has developed the first single-origin cacao from the Democratic Republic of Congo. Called Cru Virunga, the resulting taste is described by the company as: zingy with ripe Morello cherries, smoky tobacco and forest floor notes. I don’t know if I got that but what I do know is that it is very yummy chocolate, as once we arrived at the table the samples started to disappear rather quickly; this was one of the best I tasted at the festival – rich dark with a slightly bitter and a very smooth melt in your mouth taste. I know I am beginning to sound like a chocolate ad, but seriously it was good and beautifully packaged too. And I must also say that the representatives were really friendly and helpful in answering all questions, that makes such a difference. Also never having seen a cacao nut or the beans got my chance to.

Original Beans Cru Virunga
Original Beans Chocolate

[Image credit: Original Beans]

Original Beans helps the farmers to rebuild their livelihoods and communities and has established nurseries, training programmes and works to protect Virunga National Park, a world heritage site and home to the last Mountain Gorillas on earth. For every bar bought the local community farmers plant a tree to help support and replenish the rainforest, not just the rare cacao ones but also a mix of species to help sustain the biodiversity of the area. Each bar comes with a certificate that has a tracking lot number, just log on to the Original Beans website and enter the number to find out Original Beans’ on-going conservation efforts at your bar’s rainforest of origin.

Other rare cacaos to try include those from: Bolivia, Ecuador and Peru.

Additional Details:
Prices from various stockists average: £3.95 / USD$5.95 / € 3,99 
For further information and to find your nearest stockist visit: www.originalbeans.com

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