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Academy Of Chocolate Gold Winner 2019!

I’m so excited to have just been awarded the Gold Academy of chocolate award for my 92% Philippines bar and two bronze awards for my Madagascan 72% and Makira 72%, following on from last year when I also won awards for my Solomon Island bar and an array of great taste awards.

The exceptional taste of my chocolate begins with the selection of beans; the cacao used in each bar is directly sourced and of single origin, in order to preserve the unique tasting notes that arise from each origin, from citrus notes to smoky notes, much like a fine wine.

Upon directly sourcing the fermented beans, we then transform each micro-batch from bean-to-bar in an artisan process at our store in Sneinton Market, Nottingham, making the chocolate from the beans, which sets us apart from the abundance of chocolate companies that simply reform readily-made chocolate into moulds, which therefore heightens the value of our product.

By being in direct contact with the farmers, with my recent trip to Columbia to meet the cocoa farmers that will supply my beans ensuring a strong relationship with the farms we work with, we emphasise the importance of ethical trade and the monumental positive impact that being paid a better-than-fair price for their beans can make to each and every community that supplies us. More information on this is at http://blogs.nottingham.ac.uk/futurefood/2019/07/09/future-food-collaborators-luisas-vegan-chocolates/

I would love the opportunity to gain more coverage about my vegan, artisan chocolates, and am happy to answer any further questions or send any information and pictures you require.

Instagram: @luisasveganchocolates

RISING STAR AWARD

‘Luisa’s Vegan Chocolates’ not only won the only Gold Award in her category for her 92% Philippines chocolate bar, but was also presented with the UK Rising Star Award, a phenomenal achievement, recognising Luisa’s exemplary chocolate-making skill and work ethic as she reaches her one-year anniversary in her shop. This global cooperation, the Academy of Chocolate, has acknowledged Luisa’s persistent passion to create fine quality chocolate using directly sourced beans, to produce delicious bars and truffles, all of which happen to be vegan, putting the well-deserved spotlight on Luisa’s independent, ethical business. After leaving her career as a teacher to pursue her passion for cacao and set up a shop in sneinton market where Luisa both produces and sells her chocolate, her consistent hard work and emphasis on ethical trade with the farmers (even flying out to Colombia to visit the cacao farms and help them improve their crop!) means there is no chocolate maker that better deserves the UK Rising Star Award than ‘Luisa’s Vegan Chocolates’.

If you would like to come and taste the delights Luisa has to offer, you can order online at www.luisasveganchocolates.co.uk to try a selection of chocolate bars or pop down to the shop at Sneinton Market, Avenue A for her truffles and chocolates.

ACADEMY OF CHOCOLATE AWARD

The only chocolate maker in Nottingham, Luisa from ‘Luisa’s Vegan Chocolates’, produces award-winning chocolate at her outlet in Sneinton Market, using a traditional artisan process to transform directly-sourced cocoa beans from bean-to-bar. Her most recent achievements include an array of prestigious ‘Academy of Chocolate Awards’, including a Gold Award for her 92% Philippines chocolate, and two Bronze Awards for her Makira and Madagascan bars, following on from last year, where Luisa won both a Bronze Academy of Chocolate Award and a Great Taste award, confirming the persistent fine quality of her exquisite chocolate, fundamentally different in taste and ethos to mass-produced confectionary in every step of the process. Not only is Luisa’s chocolate exceptional in taste, but each and every bar and truffle is vegan, gluten free, and made without refined sugar, with no compromise on taste, making her products a healthier, as well as a more ethical, alternative to mass-produced confectionery items. “Not only do we make dark chocolate, but have also recently launched ‘casholate’, a delicious alternative to milk chocolate, using cashew nuts to give a creamy taste, as well as a range of truffles”.

The premium taste of Luisa’s chocolate begins with the selection of beans; the cacao used in each bar is of single origin, in order to preserve the unique tasting notes that arise from each region as cacao beans pick up the flavours of the terrain on which they are cultivated, hence each origin produces bars with distinct flavours, “much like a fine wine, from citrus and fruity notes to smoky notes, depending on the region”, making chocolate-tasting events delightful. This focus on single-origin chocolate, as opposed to the abundance of mass-produced chocolate which uses multi-origin beans in each bar, masking the unique flavours of each origin, in addition to Luisa’s emphasis on using an artisan bean-to-bar process, rather than simply reforming readily-made chocolate into moulds, sets Luisa’s chocolate apart as she evokes bean-to-bar chocolate that is bursting with rich flavours, celebrating the tasting notes that characterise each region.

Luisa’s ethos is rooted in sustainability; the bean-to-bar production is currently waste-free, with the cocoa bean shells, usually discarded, used to make a delicious chocolate tea, and Luisa is “currently working towards making all my packaging biodegradable”. Luisa’s depth of knowledge of the cultivation of cacao and the fermentation process was notably enriched by her recent trip to Colombia, where “by being in direct contact with the farmers, with my recent trip to Columbia to meet the cocoa farmers that will supply my beans ensuring a strong relationship with the farms we work with, we emphasise the importance of ethical trade and the monumental positive impact that being paid a better-than-fair price for their beans can make to each and every community that supplies us”.

Luisa’s newly assigned awards prove her fine quality chocolate is being recognised by global organisations, making it the perfect time to visit her shop at Sneinton Market, Nottingham, to appreciate the artisan process for yourself and taste her chocolate bars and truffles, and the bars are also available to order online at www.luisasveganchocolates.co.uk

 

Vegan chocolates made with Colombian cocoa?

Already back from Colombia and so excited to start sharing with our choco-bloggers this lovely experience!

First, we liked to share Fedecacao’s post, so we have translated here for you. Find the original post on this link attached above; https://www.fedecacao.com.co/portal/index.php/es/2015-04-23-20-00-33/888-chocolates-veganos-hechos-con-cacao-colombiano.

“Vegan chocolates made with Colombian cacao?

Controlling cocoa bean fermentation for enhanced chocolate flavour is the name of the project Fedecacao is developing with Nottingham’s University, Luisa‘s Vegan Chocolates, Nestec York, Casa Luker Colombia and West Indies’ University. Funding given by Prosperity Agritech Fund. On Fedecacao- Bogota, Martyn O’Dare and Luisa Vicinanza-Bedi from Luisa‘s Vegan Chocolates UK, bean-to-bar business specialized on premium cacao, were welcomed. With the aim of knowing Colombian cacao quality, the business leaders will visit the municipalities of Rionegro (Santander) and Palermo (Huila). Meeting also female cacao farmers that take part on that project in order to generate an approach between producers and international chocolate makers, evaluating the opportunities of including Colombian cacao on their premium products. ” (Fececacao.com.co, 2019)

 

Colombia, here we go!

As we have told you before in our social media channels, Innovate UK project is really close to start! We are really excited about helping in cocoa bean fermentation for enhancing the chocolate flavour!

On Monday 6th we will be flying to Colombia! Working closely with 3 female farmers there for 9 days, first-hand learning a little bit more about their labour and cocoa passion. Also, we have planned to ask them some questions, so stay tuned to our social media channels, we will tell you about the interview as soon as we come back!

The main purpose of our project is to promote gender equality and women’s economic empowerment. This cocoa development partnership is carried out by UK & Colombia. Our business, Luisa’s, by the hand of University of Nottingham will represent UK, and Fedecacao Colombia. So proud of working with Fedecacao, it perfectly shares our business ethics and keeps in mind that the cacao farmer is the first and foremost.

At the same time, another 6 projects will also take part in the Agri-tech Challenge Fund competition, investing up to £3 million in new agriculture projects around Colombia. This projects have the principal aim of bringing innovation and new technologies from the UK to Colombia, especially to female smallholders in 17 different departments. (www.govuk.com, 2019)

If you want to read a little bit more about the projects, we attached you here the link: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/uk-prosperity-fund-agri-tech-catalyst-projects-in-colombia.

Keep tuned into our chocolate adventures and wish us a good trip!

 

Luisa, woman as entrepeneur!

“Think Equal, Build Smart, Innovate for Change”. This was this year’s theme of International Women’s Day. Focusing on the innovative ways in which we can achieve gender equality and advance female empowerment. Here at Luisa’s Vegan Chocolates, we aim to celebrate all of women’s achievements and fiercely challenge gender bias.

Being listed as a winner for the Innovate UK Project, in collaboration with the University of Nottingham. Her immense success clearly emphasises the fundamental importance of all women pursuing their passion and determination, even in the light of adversity.

Focusing on the theme of innovation, ‘Luisa’s Vegan Chocolates’ pride themselves on finding ways to advance female empowerment, which they aim to do by building a close rapport with their mainly female farmers. They source their best quality beans from the Solomon Islands, where they work directly with farmers to ensure the best agricultural practice. Luisa understands the importance of farmers’ personal needs, and ensures that the female farmers feel empowered. Therefore, buying from them directly, while also using a significant premium market rate, allows the business to fully engage and work equally with them.

A key player in their business is Flora, a farmer whom they directly work with from Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands. Flora is a very driven, passionate farmer, who is extremely proud of her prized cocoa beans. Flora and her farming team help to provide Luisa with the cocoa beans that make her signature chocolate, which she uses for the basis of her truffles and bars. Flora is the driving force for her farming family while playing an important role in the sourcing of Luisa’s signature chocolate, therefore Flora is another very inspiring example of a highly determined and hard-working female.

Luisa admits that she is “excited to work with the female cooperative in Colombia, letting them know what will bring out the best flavour in beans, by monitoring their fermentation process.” She also emphasises that this will be a “learning partnership” with the female Colombian cooperative, with confidence that they will “learn effectively from one another”. Undoubtedly, this is going to be a highly successful project, certain to make a difference to the farmers’ communities, with Luisa also promising to help the farmers “find the right price and the right market for their cocoa beans.”

Just in time for Spring: introducing the Green Matcha Casholate!

Hello chocolate lovers! Though it’s been time since our latest post, we have an exciting announcement to share with you all.

Back in February we announced our new milk chocolate alternative: Casholate, which utilises cashew nuts (Cash) as a key ingredient in our tasty chocolate bars (olate). Not only are our Casholate bars available in both milk and white flavours, but now, in a new collaboration with tea lovers Bird & Blend Tea Co., we’ve created a brand new chocolate bar named the Mermaid Matcha!

A combination of White Casholate and Matcha green tea, this heavenly fusion is sure to tantalize your taste buds. Not only is this chocolate visually striking and appealing due to its touch of attractive greenery, it is also packed full of health benefits. These benefits include the antioxidants from the Matcha tea, cashew nuts, and the good essential fats found within the cocoa butter. Certainly, this chocolate will leave a very lasting impression with you.

We have already had some great feedback on the newest creation, and we hope you all love it too! To try it yourself, be sure to come by the shop, and with Easter just round the corner, there may even be a few Easter-themed treats available as well.

The Mermaid Matcha clearly demonstrates that Luisa’s Vegan chocolates is not only for lovers of dark chocolate. With this latest inclusion, we now have a wide range of different vegan options, so you can come and choose the option which is the most suitable for your taste palette.

Stay tuned for more updates about our tasty chocolate and be sure to follow our social media channels to keep up to date with our most recent announcements!

Majestic Wines: Wine tasting and Vegan Chocolates Review

On Friday 1st March we teamed up with Majestic Wines in Nottingham to explore the tastes of vegan wine and our very own chocolates at a taster event. It was a wonderful evening with a friendly and intimate group coming together to enjoy new flavour and taste combinations.

I started off the evening by introducing my personal story, starting with the ethos which drives Luisa’s Vegan Chocolates, explaining our bean-to-bar process, from the directly sourced beans from our farmers to my individually made chocolates in the shop; putting the beans back into the chocolate bar which gives us such unique flavours. I spoke on all the origins of the chocolates open for tasting at the session, which included Makira, Papau New Guniea, Solomon Islands, Madagascan, Philippines and Peruvian – all dark chocolate bars, with diverse flavours influenced by the many origins of the beans, and growth in tropical temperatures and in the volcanic soil.

After the initial chocolate tasting, Lewis at Majestic Wines then introduced their vegan wines. It was an interesting experience to taste my chocolate alongside the wine, enhancing the fruity flavours in the chocolate and noting the subtle difference in taste by combining the two, opening up discussion for the similar taste profiles.

It was an indulgent evening, but also educative to see and explore how many vegan wines are on the market now, and being able to support another vegan product which complements mine so well was really exciting. The people who attended the event enjoyed noting the difference in taste and learning about my bean-to-bar chocolate journey.

We hope to do more collaborative events in the future with wine companies to encourage a stronger partnership between Luisa’s Vegan Chocolate and wine, indulging in the two fine tastes, whilst also supporting Nottingham based businesses and sustainable growth.