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South Wales is famous for very many things, including this chocolate blog of course (that's my ego happy). It's also home to the government-owned The Royal Mint in Ynysmaerdy, Pontyclun, which produces, amongst other things, the British coins we all use on a daily basis (albeit less and less thanks to contactless payments).
In Summer 2018, I took my son along to The Royal Mint Experience to see coins being struck and to have a go ourselves. The guided experience walks you through the history of coinage and the process of making metal-based money. From here it's through to the factory (where you observe the manufacturing process through a wall of glass and optionally get to press a button to strike your own coin), before heading into a museum of numismatic artefacts. You exit into the well-stocked shop and adjoining café.
It's certainly an interesting and educational day out, and something I'd recommend should you have an interest in currency or coinage and you find yourself visiting Cardiff. If you fancy visiting once lockdown is over, the cost is currently between £12.85 and £17.22 per adult and between £9.90 and £12.67 for children aged over five, depending on how and when you buy your tickets. It's a further £6.90 a head should you choose to strike your own coin.
Anyway, fast forward to June 2020 and a tweet by Paul A Lacey of Sheffield's bean-to-bar chocolate maker Bullion grabbed my attention. The first production run of chocolate bars, each topped with 23 karat gold leaf, was on its way to The Royal Mint.
Bullion meets Bullion
Presented in a black gift box with The Royal Mint's logo in gold-foiled print is a trio of fine 63g chocolate bars. Two 50% milk chocolate and one 70% dark chocolate bar sit inside the box, each made using Ecuadorian heirloom cacao beans and clad in textured golden wrappers.
What sets these bars apart, apart from the fact that they are produced in South Yorkshire by an award-winning bean-to-bar chocolate maker, is that they are decorated with edible 23 karat gold leaf.
The Nacional cacao beans are ethically sourced from the Cedeño Aguila family farm in Santo Domingo and shipped to the UK. Then they are roasted, cracked, winnowed, refined, conched, aged, tempered, and then moulded into bars.
Bullion Fine Dark Chocolate Bar
Bullion Fine Dark Chocolate ingredients:
Cocoa beans, cocoa butter, cane sugar, gold leaf. Minimum cocoa solids: 70%.
The Fine Dark Chocolate bar exhibits tasting notes of hazelnuts, caramel, and dried figs.
Bullion Fine Milk Chocolate Bar
Bullion Fine Milk Chocolate ingredients:
Cocoa beans, cocoa butter, milk powder, cane sugar, gold leaf. Minimum cocoa solids: 50%. Minimum milk solids: 18%.
The Fine Milk Chocolate bar exhibits tasting notes of roasted nuts, butterscotch, and vanilla.
Where To Buy?
These chocolate bars certainly sound delicious and the gift set looks very stylish indeed. With Father's Day on the horizon, this might make a wonderful gift choice. It's also a great way to discover Bullion's bean-to-bar chocolate.
If stocks last, or supply continues on an ongoing basis, I can see this gift set making a great Christmas present for a bullion or gold sovereign collector, or anyone who collects The Royal Mint coins and sets.
You can buy your own gift set here (£29.99).
Have you tried Bullion's Fine Milk or Fine Dark chocolate? Let me know your thoughts on this bean-to-bar chocolate in the comments below.