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Take Four: Eating My Way Through Willie’s Cacao Chocolate Bars

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Last year, I chomped my way through the Almendra Dark Chocolate with Roasted Almonds bar by Willie's Cacao. Amazon had given me some credit to use against an order and I spent that wisely, on bean-to-bar chocolate. I was impressed with Willie Harcourt-Cooze's handiwork, noting the smooth, satisfying, and nutty flavours within the dark chocolate bar.

Today, I'm taking a tour around the other bars I purchased at the time. I covered all bases, with dark, milk and white chocolate bars on my shopping list.

All four bars below are 50g slabs, crafted in small batches in Devon. They are all heat-sealed inside gold coloured metallised plastic pouches and placed in colourful square cardboard boxes. The ingredients lists are printed in English, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Finnish, German, Dutch, French, Spanish and Italian, which gives you an idea of how far and wide Willie's customer base spans.


Willie's Cacao Venezuelan El Blanco Matcha

Willie's Cacao Venezuelan El Blanco Matcha ingredients:
Cocoa butter, milk powder (37.9%), raw cane sugar, matcha (2.9%). Cocoa solids: 38% minimum.

  • Around 38.5% sugars
  • Suitable for vegetarians

You can't miss the vivid green colour of the packaging nor the bar itself here. Venezuelan cocoa butter melds with raw cane sugar and milk powder to create a white chocolate base. Then, Kotabuki Matcha green tea powder is added, giving life to this lime green coloured bar.

The green tea doesn't shout in the aroma, but the creamy white chocolate does instead, with a subtle earthy quality that sits at the baseline. On tasting this bar, the white chocolate delivers creaminess in droves. Unlike other green tea chocolates I have tasted, the Kotabuki Matcha powder doesn't hijack the flavour here. Instead, two strands - the creamy white chocolate and the green tea - sit harmoniously side-by-side. I also picked up gentle citrus notes mid-way that intensified throughout the melt.

Overall, this is a smooth, creamy, and rich white chocolate that pairs beautifully with the flavoursome Kotabuki Matcha green tea powder. I'm not normally a fan of green tea products, but this is a beautifully elegant use of it, and I found this bar very easy to eat.

Willie's Cacao Venezuelan El Blanco Matcha Review

RRP: £2.69 | Willie's Cacao | Shop now°

This is a high quality white chocolate enhanced with Kotabuki Matcha green tea powder, rather than a green tea white chocolate. The difference? The green tea flavour is clear, but doesn't overpower the white chocolate flavours. It's smooth, creamy, and very satisfying. I also love the vivid colour of the bar and packaging!

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Score: 4.6

Willie's Cacao Venezuelan Rio Caribe 44 Passion Fruit

Willie's Cacao Venezuelan Rio Caribe 44 Passion Fruit ingredients:
Raw cane sugar , cocoa mass , milk powder (20%), cocoa butter, passion fruit (4%). Cocoa solids: 44% minimum.

  • Just under 43% sugars.
  • Suitable for vegetarians.

Rio Caribe, considered one of the best Trinitario cacaos on the planet, grows on the north eastern side of Venezuela. In this bar, it pairs with the exotic tropical flavour of passion fruit. The sunshine-yellow box teases the vibrancy of flavours locked inside this flavoured chocolate.

There's plenty to tease you in the aroma, including notes of smoke, tobacco, and Marmite, together with an earthiness, and sweeter caramel and milky notes. Brace yourself for sweet and tart flavours from the very beginning. The creamy, smokey milk chocolate sits as the baseline, with tangy notes quickly emerging from nowhere. Mid-way, the passion fruit flavour develops , while the chocolate morphs to tasting like a rich and indulgent hot chocolate. The tangy vibe turns almost fizzy, as the passion fruit flavours climax. Afterwards, you're left with a medley of tropical flavours dancing in your mouth and a big smile on your face.

UPDATE: Sadly, this bar has been discontinued, so grab it while you can. Not all is lost, though. Willie makes at least two limited edition chocolates each month with unusual pairings for his Chocolate Tasting Club members. Occasionally, there's some left over and so his mailing list subscribers receive secret links to buy such bars a few times a year.  So, if you fancy trying interesting flavour combos, sign up the the club, and if you want to be kept in the loop about secret sales, sign up to his newsletter.

Willie's Cacao Venezuelan Rio Caribe 44 Passion Fruit Review

RRP: £2.15 | Willie's Cacao | Shop now°

Willie has paired a smokey chocolate with vibrant passion fruit flavours to create a delicious bar, that blends rich chocolate flavours with a lively tropical counterpart. The combination works very well, and is fun to eat. You'll go back for more.

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Score: 4.8


Willie's Cacao 100% Maranon with Pistachios & Dates

Willie's Cacao 100% Maranon with Pistachios & Dates ingredients:
Cocoa mass , almonds , dates (21%) (dates, rice flour), pistachios (7%), cashew. Cocoa solids: 100% minimum.

  • Around 15.5% sugars.
  • Suitable for vegetarians and vegans.

100% cocoa is often an acquired taste. With nowhere to hide, the nuances of the cacao have to be spot on to create a palatable bar of chocolate. Only the bravest chocolate makers and chocolate tasters take on this type of chocolate bar.

The bean of choice here is one of the best Trinitario cacaos in the world, Peruvian Maranon. Willie conches this for a whopping 21 days to preserve the floral notes of the beans. Once ready, the chocolate meets pistachios, cashews and dates to subtly add texture and complimentary flavours, without the need for additional sugars.

The matt look bar releases dark, rich, and earthy aromas that include smoke, tobacco, and molasses. A clean snap is music to my ears. The chocolate is slow to melt, but when it does, it yields a dry and woody flavour to begin, along with a hint of smokiness and nuttiness. The inclusions of almonds, dates, pistachios, and cashews add texture, while the dates also naturally add sweetness as well as fruity vibes. The dryness subsides too as the chocolate melts. All this helps round the flavour, too, leaving rich, fruity chocolate notes in the aftertaste.

Amazingly, there's no trace of bitterness in this chocolate. It's rich, but not overwhelming or intimidating. So much so, I could happily munch on this 100% bar as if it were a milk chocolate. It has to be tasted to be believed.

Willie's Cacao 100% Maranon with Pistachios & Dates Review

RRP: £2.69 | Willie's Cacao | Shop now°

Some 100% chocolate bars are difficult to swallow, with their intense flavours too strong for many folk. Here, exquisite Peruvian Maranon is paired with fruit and nuts to naturally enhance the fruity and nutty aspects, while allowing the cacao to sit front and centre. The lack of bitterness is amazing, making this bar super easy to eat.

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Score: 4.6

Willie's Cacao Milk of the Stars

Willie's Cacao Milk of the Stars ingredients:
Cocoa mass, raw cane sugar, cocoa butter, milk powder (18%). Cocoa solids: 54% minimum.

  • Around 37% sugars.
  • Suitable for vegetarians.

I've ticked off white chocolate bar and an intense dark chocolate bar, so now it's time for a milk chocolate. Willie sources beans from Surabaya in Java to create a dark milk chocolate bar. The four-ingredient recipe removes the need for vanilla and soya lecithin, allowing the true flavour of the cocoa to sit front and centre.

The aroma is dominated by dairy notes, with vivid imagery of creamy, milk and cheese coming through, blended with smokey, buttery caramel notes. Those notes clearly come through in the tasting, with dark caramel sitting above a creamy, smokey chocolate baseline. The rich milk chocolate reminds me of the flavour of an indulgent chocolate milkshake. This flavour continues into the aftertaste, with plenty of richness and depth to boot. This bar is indulgent and feels like a grown-up chocolate bar. Keep this one well away from the kids as it'll be gone in no time at all!

Willie's Cacao Milk of the Stars Review

RRP: £2.15 | Willie's Cacao | Shop now°

A rich dark milk chocolate bar, with deep smokey and caramel notes running through it. This bar is certainly an indulgent and very moreish. This one is ideal as a pick-me-up.

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Score: 4.6

Where to Buy Online

You can find Willie's Cacao bars pretty much everywhere. I've spotted them on Amazon°, Chocolate Trading Co°, Sous Chef, and Ocado, as well as in Waitrose, Holland & Barrett, and Sainsbury's. You can find the bars at delicatessens and good food shops nationwide, and you can also buy direct via Willie's website here°.

Chocolate Trading Company offer:

Save 15% when you spend £80+ online, excluding trade and sale products. Use code SAVE15 at the checkout. Shop now°

Ends on Wednesday 31st August 2022. Terms and exclusions may apply. See website for details.

Chocolate Trading Company offer:

Get free delivery on orders over £35 (excluding sales and trade items). Use code WYS35 at the checkout. Shop now°

Ends on Wednesday 31st August 2022. Terms and exclusions may apply. See website for details.

Which bars should I try next? Do you have a favourite Willie's Cacao bar you can't live without? Let me know in the comments below.

Disclosure: I purchased several 50g bars of Willie's Cacao chocolate from Amazon for £5. I was not asked for a review. My opinions are my own.

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