WatchHouse x Bare Bones Chocolate
Our first single origin chocolate bar, made in collaboration with long time friends Bare Bones Chocolate.
Bare Bones Chocolate™ is a micro-batch, bean to bar chocolate company based in Glasgow. Handcrafting chocolate from raw cacao through to a finished bar to produce some of the best chocolate around. We’ve long admired founders Lara and Cameron’s ethos and approach to what they do, and we stock Bare Bones because of the parallels between their working practices and our own. They source their cacao from rare origins across the world; paying far beyond global market fair trade prices in order to foster mutually beneficial relationships with farms, ensuring the highest quality crops and a sustainable economic situation for producers.
Bare Bones' founders Lara & Cameron.
Once the sacks arrive at the workshop following harvest, the process to the end product is long, with care taken at every stage: The Bare Bones team hand sort, assessing each bean individually for defects - beans that have defects/are badly fermented, don’t taste as good. Sorting the good from the bad ensures that only the best beans are used. Cacao is one of the most complex, delicious and fascinating foods in the world. It is one of the few foods that is both fermented and roasted – creating unparalleled flavour profiles.
Madagascar based farmers hand stitching sacks.
Various chemical reactions occur within the cacao bean when it is roasted. Bare Bones Chocolate roasts their beans in a modified coffee roaster in 5kg batches. Each batch is roasted light and slow – to allow the sugars to caramelise in the bean and the natural flavours to develop. The roaster itself allows to control the heat input to the beans at each development stage, whilst rotating the beans to ensure that each is evenly roasted - a level of control and consistency not achievable with oven roasting. They then crack the roasted beans to separate the outer husk from the nibs using a modified grain mill. The nibs and husks are then separated by a process called winnowing.
Lara slow roasting cacao on their modified Giesen coffee roaster.
The nibs and a small percentage of cocoa butter are added to a heavy stone grinder called a melanger. Raw, organic unrefined cane sugar is then added and ground for up to 72 hours reducing the particle size of the ingredients. Unrefined sugar is used because it retains more of the cane’s natural molasses – creating a greater depth of flavour and a sweet, caramelised character. This 3-day process also works to mellow the chocolate, eliminating the volatile acids and bitterness commonly associated with dark chocolate.
All Bare Bones Chocolate are aged for 2-3 weeks to allow the flavours to develop further. Much like cheese or fine-wine, chocolate changes and enriches over time. After ageing, they temper the chocolate, aligning its crystal structure to stabilise the chocolate and give it a crisp snap. The tempering happens in 3kg batches before the chocolate is finally hand-poured into bar-shaped moulds. The bars are then wrapped by hand in Vegware compostable sheets and sealed with a signature WatchHouse label. Once the boxes are folded by hand they are shipped to the WatcHouse Roastery in Bermondsey, London for distribution across our seven Houses.
It is the attention to detail at each and every stage which sets Bare Bones Chocolate apart and for our collaboration bar, we tasted various roast profiles of an exceptional Guatemalan chocolate to find the perfect starting point. We approached the selection as we do with our coffees, searching for the roast style which showcased the inherent characteristics of this cacao. The cacao was then roasted significantly slower, approximately 25% longer in the flavour development phase, and at a lower temperature than Bare Bones other roast profiles, highlighting those inherent characteristics. The end result is a bar that transforms through flavour of sweet orange, berries, floral earl grey tea and toffee, and much more as it melts on the palate. We decided to maintain a higher cacao percentage of 77%, further accentuating the flavours and making this bar an intense, rich and exciting taste experience.
Cacao: 77% Dark Chocolate
Tasting notes: Orange | Earl Grey | Toffee
Variety: Trinitario and Criollo
Source: XOCO cooperative
Certification: Organic Certified
Conditions: 600m above sea level
Fermentation: 5-6 days