I've been popping into Luisa's little shop down in Sneinton Market for the last months. Every experience has been great - the chocolate is fantastic and Luisa is always helpful and making recommendations about her new bars. I have to stress that it's not just the chocolate that is great but also the ethics behind the project - it's directly sourced and made in the shop. So the farmers are being paid properly for their work and we get a high quality product.
I have nothing but good things to share about Luisa's chocolates. Luisa herself is a huge inspiration, just from talking to her and seeing her interact with her customers, you can see just how incredibly passionate she is.
And then there's the chocolates... Oh my... Do yourself a favour and try them! They're AMAZING. These are now my first choice when it comes to chocolates, and there's chocolates to suit everyone. I can't even begin to describe the flavours, and not only that, but the smell of chocolate as you walk in the door is worth a trip in and of itself.
It's easy to locate, and the story behind how it's made - again, well worth a trip down there.
Thanks Luisa, you're a super star and I can't wait to come and get more!!!
Bean to bar chocolate maker.
Quality chocolate. not industrial chocolate out of a factory.
It is not every day I visit a bean-to-bar chocolate maker, craft beer brewery and a coffee roastery all in one day.
I was on my way to Sneinton Market, an area of Nottingham I had not visited before, to find Blend, a coffee shop.
Sneinton Market fairly easy to find, head off straight down the street from Wired. The further I walked down the street the seedier it became.
Google Maps says five minutes, more like ten minutes. Though I did pop in Bookwise on the way. Never miss up the opportunity to look in a second hand bookshop.
And that was how I happened upon Luisa’s bean-to-bar craft chocolate, the jewel in the crown of Sneinton Market.
I popped in, but at a delicate process. I am asked can I pop back? No problem. I am off to Blend coffee shop, I will return a little later.
Sneinton Market is three rows of long low outbuildings. I have a wander around. Look in a craft beer brewery, a coffee roastery, a coffee shop.
It was then back to Luisa’s. An interesting conversation on chocolate ensued.
I had tasted samples earlier. Another taste. Each one better than before. In essence it is wow. Mind blowing chocolate. I have never before tasted such exquisite chocolate, though I have yet to try Bullion or Bare Bones from Steam Yard. One fruity, maybe cherry like, another more citrus. Mind blowing flavours. The last one I tried, as I hold it in my mouth, the flavour intensifies.
These are not added flavours, these are the intrinsic flavours of the chocolate, what chocolate should taste like, not like Cadbury’s.
A coffee analogy, coffee does not taste like the vile tasting undrinkable coffee served in Costa or Starbuck’s.
Specialty coffee has more flavour notes than red wine, chocolate more flavour notes than specialty coffee.
Why is the chocolate expensive? Why is red wine more expensive than plonk?
Why does specialty coffee attract a higher price than catering supply commodity coffee?
We pay for quality. Wine from a vineyard, a chateau, a year, attracts a higher price than wine in a carton, the vineyard or chateau on the label.
The terroir affects what grows, what we drink, what we eat.
Commodity coffee, commodity chocolate, is quite literally that, a commodity, the price determined on commodity markets.
Fair Trade attracts a tiny premium, barely worth the effort, a marketing scam to make smug Middle Class shoppers feel good, but maintains farmers in poverty as there is no incentive for them to improve.
Direct trade, coffee roasteries are prepared to pay a premium for quality, they work in partnership with the growers to help improve quality.
The same is now happening in chocolate, single origin, direct trade, relationships with the farmers and growers.
Bean-to bar starts at the farm.
Chocolate is rooted in the terroir, bean-to-bar chocolate makers have their fingers figuratively if not literally in the soil.
Luisa Vicinanza-Bedi has her fingers in the soil, she works in partnership with three female cacao farmers in Colombia.
She is also working in partnership with Future Food at University of Nottingham to analyse the microbes that form part of the fermentation of cacao beans to better understand how the flavours are produced.
- cocoa mass — sugar — vanilla
- cocoa mass — cocoa butter — sugar — vanilla
The purists will not allow vanilla, others say ok if enhances the quality of the chocolate. A moot point.
Always check the list of ingredients.
Quality chocolate will be bean-to-bar. Anything that is not bean-to-bar paying a lot of money for someone to buy in chocolate and turn into bars.
Chocolate, high quality single origin bean-to bar chocolate has many subtle flavours, no quality chocolate maker would dream of adding additives. This would be akin to adding syrups to a good coffee.
And never be taken in by a black Great Taste award. It gets plastered on everything. It is absolutely no guarantee of quality. It may be on a quality product, but as likely not.
Visited during Light Day and didn't have a great experience to be honest. My friend and I received very ugly looks by some of the customers who kept staring at us so I announced I was going to stand outside the shop and wait instead but none of the staff members cared. Also, all customers that came after us were served hot chocolate (very watery anyway) before us. Very unfortunate that this lovely place gave us a very uncomfortable experience!
Until I tried Luisa’s chocolates, I didn’t realise there was such a variety of different cocoa beans, each with their own unique flavours. Luisa sources quality beans, from around the world to create extraordinary chocolates. I compare her delicious chocolates to wine due to bursts of notes and flavours - I’m quite partial to the deep plum and zesty bars (the natural flavour of the cocoa).
There’s a bar to suit everyone even if you’re not a dark chocolate fan; because this amazing Chocolate Maker has magically created uncompromising, yummy and creamy tastes without using dairy. Luisa’s shop is a real hot spot for quality chocolates!
Excellent friendly service, very knowledgeable about the impact of cocoa bean sourcing AND the importance of sustainability! BUT most importantly GREAT VEGAN chocolate (especially CASHOLATE!)
Beth and Alec
Absolutely delicious chocolate! The chocolates are all freshly made in the Sneinton shop so it smells divine. Also very ethically sourced chooclate. Luisa has the pictures of all of the cocoa farmers on the walls and can talk about them as individuals. Love it!
Incredible gem of a shop. They're always so friendly and you can see the vegan choc actually being made and the beans being roasted through the viewing panel. The white cashewlete is my favourite and I love to go there as often as I can. Value for money since the farmers are paid better than fair trade. Luisa is doing good things :) worth a visit!
Gosh, Luisa makes the most amazing chocolate! I’ve tried a few different varieties but my absolute favourite is the... White Casholate Turmeric Matcha Tea; absolutely mouth wateringly delicious 😊 Highly recommend anything made by her though!!read more
Amazing experience visiting on Light Night. Gorgeous Hot choc, warm welcome from Luisa & co. and great to hear the... support for the Colombian women growers. The 75% cacao bar is delicious and the individual, beautifully crafted chocolates are delicious!read more
I bought a small selection of these gorgeous chocolates yesterday and they really are something special. The white... chocolate hearts were the best vegan white chocolate I've ever tasted. Absolutely divine. A treat for all the senses!read more
These chocolates are absolutely delicious, and probably the most ethical treat you could get. The casholate is a... particular strength, being creamy and having the right mouthfeel for 'milk' chocolate. I've only been vegan a year, so i remember what dairy chocolate tastes like - this absolutely nails it!
Aside from casholate, the single origin cocoa bars and the individual chocolates are all luxurious and worth every penny.
I just wish I lived nearer!read more
Brought my husband as he’s been missing his galaxy milk chocolate since going vegan 5 weeks ago. He’s now got his... smile back, think he’ll be a regular visitor from now on! Thanks Luisa, Deirdre and David (Sandiacre)read more
Outstanding chocolate. The beans are ethically sourced directly from the farmers - who incidentally are all female.... 💪🏾The beans are then transformed in store by Luisa's talented chocolatiers into the most AMAZING vegan chocolate with NO added refined sugar. Such an inspiring ethos. My new favourite place ♥️read more
Had a selection of chocolate over the weekend.
My three year old daughter loved choosing the heart and duck shaped... ones.
sadly we have finished them in 2 days. they taste amazing, plus hasn't left my daughter hyper. 👍🙊🙈read more
Luisa’s vegan chocolates are absolutely incredible, since choosing to go vegan I haven’t been able to find a... chocolate that has tasted as good until now. I can’t recommend her enough . On top of that Luisa is wonderful... so helpful and takes time to explain about the process . Honestly do yourself a favour and try this chocolate ♥️read more
My son and I popped into the shop yesterday and had our first try, Luisa’s chocolates are absolutely delicious!... Can’t quite believe they’re vegan!! Lovely story behind the brand too, it’s really nice to hear from people who are trying to make a difference in the world not just in it for profit 😄 Highly recommend a visit 🙌read more
Visited Luisa’s chocolate this week and bought a box of chocolate selections and a bar of milk chocolate. Vego milk... chocolate was the best chocolate I’d tasted but hers was amazing! The salted caramel chocolate was my fav out of the selections. Luisa was really friendly and explained about her chocolates. Would HIGHLY recommend these chocolates 😋read more
Worked with Louisa a few times and everyone is always so impressed with her chocolates!! Not only is the service... amazing but the quality is lovely, perfect for gifts or just for yourself!! Would 100% recommend to anyone who is vegan or looking for a small gift!read more
Due to health issues , I made the decision to alter my diet to assist my recovery . I do not consume any refined sugar... or dairy and have found a HUGE benefit by doing this .... HOWEVER ......... I am only human and every now and then I love a sweet treat !
Luisas chocolates are the best that I have tasted and I love the fact that they match my dietary requirements !!!!!
Her customer service is excellent , packaging is superb and pricing is great considering the fact that the ingredients are of the highest quality .
I love them xread more
Went in today ... and the amazing aroma of warm chocolate enveloped me... bought 12 wonderful truffles... and then went... back for six more... for a gift, honestly!
A true artisan... these chocolates are truly sumptuous.read more
Such delicious and beautifully presented chocolates. All cocoa beans are sourced directly with the cocoa growers and so... it is even better for the farmers than fairtrade chocolate. I've bought a box of 6 of the chocolate truffles (lots of different flavours of fillings - salted caramel, coconut, strawberry and apparently she's trialing a passion fruit filling too!) on two occasions and they are honestly so yummy. One was a gift and went down very well. The dark chocolate seems so creamy and luxurious - would definitely recommend 😊read more
Epitomises nottingham’s new found confidence and creativity. Chocolate without any milk fats or oil is like in the... 90s when I discovered coffee wasn’t maxwell house and Nescafé. The Papua New Guinean blows your mind with earthy mushroom notes.read more