Willie’s Cacao was established by Willie Harcourt-Cooze with the aim of introducing everyone to ‘real chocolate’. There’s a focus on single estate cacaos and their distinct flavours, with products showcasing cocoa beans in the same way as wine varieties with different flavour notes. When it launched, Willie’s Cacao was Britain’s first bean-to-bar chocolate factory. The website has a detailed ‘World Cacao’ section for learning about chocolate, chocolate recipes and a vast online shop that includes bars, truffles, hot chocolate and 100% cacao blocks that have complex flavours for cooking with.
Read our round-up of all the best chocolate subscriptions and clubs.
What is a Willie’s Cacao chocolate subscription?
There are two subscriptions to choose from: all dark (suitable for vegans), or a mixture of dark, milk and white chocolate. Subscriptions are offered on a 3-, 6- or 12-month basis, with slight savings made the longer you sign up for – a 12-month subscription is £19.99 a month, with delivery included. Subscriptions are cheaper than buying individual bars, and subscribers receive access to virtual chocolate tastings and 10% off the online shop – handy if you find a bar you fall in love with and want to buy separately.
What is in a Willie’s Cacao chocolate subscription?
Each month, the subscription contains a variety of 10 40-50g bars. They arrive in recyclable letterbox-friendly packaging, with every bar wrapped in bold, differently-coloured embossed foil – a treat to open and handy for spreading the joy across a month.
Eight of the bars will be classic flavours, with two extra ‘Magnificent creations’ that are limited editions. Bars are all made in small batches and with all-natural ingredients. We enjoyed the range of bars in small 50g tasting sizes, giving you a chance to note the difference between each style without receiving an overwhelming amount of chocolate.
In our mixed box, there were a range of cacao levels – from a 44% ‘milk of the gods’ using Venezuelan beans, to a nutty pure 100% cacao. There’s still room for other interesting flavours, too: in the first box you subscribe to, the ‘Magnificent creation’ bars are always inspired by Japan, so we enjoyed a creamy white chocolate with tangy yuzu, bringing a note of floral citrus fruit.
The boxes also come with a detailed flavour map, highlighting where different bars fall on the flavour spectrum from nutty and roasted to floral, fruity or ‘lively’ – a useful guide to help you identify flavours and see what you prefer. There’s also a detailed page of tasting notes for all the bars, guiding you through each one in detail and even suggesting an order of trying them out in order to fully appreciate the difference between the cacao levels and beans. There’s plenty of recommendations for the best way to taste chocolate and what to look out for when carefully tasting: these are bars to be savoured, not scoffed.
This subscription is good value for 10 bars of chocolate, and is a real tasting experience with a lot of expert knowledge behind it. If you’re looking to learn more about chocolate, this takes you on a grand tour, showcasing beans from around the world. Ideal for connoisseurs, Willie’s treats high-quality chocolate with the same deference as wine.
- Available from Willie’s Cacao, from £19.99 a month