The fine dark chocolate in January's Gin of the Month box is something extra special - the beautiful flavours of lemon and cardamom are a perfect complement to the flavours of a G&T. Check out how Seed and Bean, the quality chocolate maker behind this month's beautiful bar, came to making this amazing bar below.
Jonathan Shorts’ journey in the world of chocolate has taken him all around the globe. But it wasn’t an adventure he ever thought he would take.
As the owner of an ingredients company, he thought he had his career all sorted out. But then he heard about a wayward chocolatier – a man who had worked at a well-known big chocolate brand and become disillusioned in the process. He was looking for some help with his new project: a new kind of chocolate company that would be steadfastly committed to its ethical mission. Jonathan was dubious, but he took the meeting.
“I like chocolate,” he says, “and more importantly my wife likes good chocolate. When I came back from meeting our founder I asked her to taste the chocolate, and she loved it. That got me on a journey that I had not expected.”
Convinced, Jonathan devoted the next two and a half years to turning what’s now known as Seed and Bean around. There was a lot to sort out, he says, but the results have been more than worth it.
These days Seed and Bean’s beautiful chocolates come in an array of amazing flavours, bundled up into beautiful packaging. And there’s one more thing, which goes right back to the founder’s original vision: every ingredient is organic, Fairtrade and can be traced right back to where it was grown. Every bar is handmade right here in the UK.
“How we select the chocolate we use is very much in line with the flavour that we want to achieve at the end,” Jonathan says, “but also we always make sure that we’re organic, and that we can trace everything back to the farm it originated from.”
The same is true of the wonderful chocolate bar in January's Gin of the Month box. This uniquely aromatic bar of chocolate began with a dash of cardamom. Jonathan’s team played around with different combinations until they hit upon this fragrant flavour’s perfect partner: the bright zing of lemon. The result is a uniquely indulgent treat that’s great with a G&T after a meal.
“This chocolate is something a little different,” Jonathan says. “Working with spices is always a challenge, but when you get it right hopefully people will appreciate the mix.”
Jonathan and his team are no strangers to the kind of experimentation that gave rise to this wonderful chocolate bar. From lime and sea salt to lemon and poppy seed, Seed and Bean is turning out some of the chocolate world’s most exciting flavours.
“Some work better than others,” he says, “and there are many things we’ve rejected on the kitchen table – and it really does start in the kitchen. But isn’t it fantastic to be in this environment where you can play and experiment?”
Seed and Bean’s exciting experiments are sure to continue into the future, with the promise of more amazing flavours and many more smiles for chocolate lovers across the UK – and beyond.
“You can buy a bar of our chocolate in Melbourne, Australia,” Jonathan says. “There’s nothing more pleasing than that. If we can continue to do that, I know the future will continue to be bright.”