Guests will start the tasting with a hands-on bean to bar experience, removing the husks of the cocoa beans before commencing a walkthrough of the grinding process. Nick, founder of Loctoa, will lead the group through the journey from cacao tree to the final product and will discuss the intricacies involved in producing such high quality chocolate. The grinder will be set up to continue this process throughout the class, ready for guests to see and taste the successful grind at the end of the tasting.
This will be followed by a pairing of three different single-origin Guatemalan chocolate bars with specifically selected Neal's Yard Dairy cheeses, chosen for their complementary flavour profiles and highlighting the impact of terroir on taste. We will consider the impact of the season and the climate on both the cocoa beans and the cheese, exploring the styles, flavours and aromas and how these can support or contrast with each other. Two to three alcoholic beverages will also be selected and paired to further complement and enhance the samples provided. Guests will then have the opportunity to share a communal lunch of cheese, chocolate and accompaniments and ask any questions that have arisen throughout the tasting.
You'll be given a tasting sheet with room to make notes. Attendees will have the opportunity to purchase both cheese and Loctoa Chocolate after the tasting, and will be offered a 10% discount valid for one month on all cheese purchases made in Neal's Yard Dairy shops or online. This tasting is designed to serve as a light lunch and includes a cheese and chocolate plate as well as bread, crackers and accompaniments. As alcohol is served, all attendees must be over 18 years of age.
Nick Willson, founder of Loctoa, initially found his love of cacao whilst working at the Eden Project in Cornwall. After spending the next 8 years working with chocolate makers and chocolatiers of all varieties, learning the skills and expert knowledge required, he released Loctoa Chocolate to the public just a few months ago and is gaining an impressive following with both the food world and the public. Ellen joined Neal's Yard Dairy in 2014, initially as a member of the accounts department. Since then she has embraced her passion for cheese and has left the world of Excel spreadsheets behind, working as part of the wholesale team and now managing the Events and Tastings at NYD. When she is not tasting, talking about or selling cheese she delivers inclusive performing arts classes within the community, alongside studying for a Masters in Medicinal Chemistry.