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Sourcing Chocolate- London, UK


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Tammylc just posted a topic on sourcing chocolate. I thought it was a great idea, but as I read all the responses I was disappointed that they are all U.S. based.

So, anyone have any names for UK sources? And not just of chocolate, but anything chocolate related- molds, flavourings, nuts, etc..

At the moment I use vantage house. They are great because you get the order really quickly. Otherwise, they have a very small selection of chocolate brands.

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I order some of my chocolate related things from keylink who supply ingredients, equipment and packaging but again not a vast range of chocolate. Lots of Callebaut & Cocoa Barry.

I have ordered some chocolate (Weiss) and pastry ingredients from Wildharvest in London but they are currently ignoring every phone & email request I have made for a new price list. If anyone here works for them please please could I have a new price list.

I still buy most of my chocolate from HB ingredients who seem to work with Vantage House as the ingredients supplied are the same in each case. HB were able to get me some none listed Valrhona products but I had to put these in as a special order and basically wait until they were next buying in. It was about a month wait but I was just happy they would order the stuff.

I have recently phoned a firm called Town & Country Fine Foods who supply some Cluizel but as yet the price list has not arrived.

You will find some kg sized packs for sale on the seventypercent web site but their prices are high and supplies appear erratic. The chocolate society also sell Valrhona.

I would love to hear what other options there are in the UK.

I am left thinking most small UK chocolatiers must go to the manufacturers direct or use Callebaut.

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I use keylink also(they are in my home city) but if i need Valrhona The Chocolate Society is the main importer. Try Micheal Lee in West Yorkshire for good prices on Callebaut 01977 618828, he is a cheese importer but does chocolate, oil, flavour drops etc.

Hope this is of use

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I guess it depends on the particular Chocolate you are after?

All the Big Food halls in london (Fortnum's, Harvey Nics, Selfridges Harrods) have big selections of the big names

Harvey Nichols is the only source of Amedei I know

Whole foods/ Fresh and wild have Valhrona chopped off a big block and sold by weight as well as buttons

John Lewis food hall (newly opened) had a great selection and a wide variety of different brands and probably cheaper than the food halls

Waitrose too has a good selection

Also I believe L'artisan du chocolate now sell their own chocolate in bars

Online

70% has a good range

http://www.seventypercent.com/shop/

hope that helps sorry about the london bias

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The hard bit seems to be finding suppliers of interesting makes of chocolate when you start to need 2-3 kg bags rather than 100g bars.

Thanks Alex Chef for the information on Michael Lee. I have found HB ingredients cheaper than the Chocolate Society for Valrhona but it maybe that the Chocolate Society will discount if you are buying more than a few kilos.

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I faintly remember reading that the guy who makes chocolate for Gordon Ramsey has/had a stall on Borough Market or a shop up north somewhere. I can't remember if it was the Observer Food Monthly (even maybe won a person of the year award form them) or Restaurant Magazine article but I am sure if you go to their websites you might find it.

Once you do make contact with him he might be able to tell you his SOURCE so you can BUY it yourself direct.

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We used to call sourcing buying. I think this has relevance to Mr. Hayward's thread above!

HAHAHA! Dont jump on me now! I just finished reading that thread, and thought the whole thing was hilarious- so typically English! But you gotta love it.

Edited by chocofoodie (log)
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The hard bit seems to be finding suppliers of interesting makes of chocolate when you start to need 2-3 kg bags rather than 100g bars.

Thanks Alex Chef for the information on Michael Lee. I have found HB ingredients cheaper than the Chocolate Society for Valrhona but it maybe that the Chocolate Society will discount if you are buying more than a few kilos.

EXACTLY! I'd like Cluizel, and I wish you could get Guittard or schaffer berger. I was sure that I wasnt googling (dont attack!) correctly. I am just so surprised by the lack of sources for couverture and other chocolate making supplies. I've been ordering from the U.S. because they have such a wealth of options (not the chocolate, that would be impossible to bring back - but everything else: molds, oils, transfer sheets, anything..)

Thanks for the tip on wild harvest, I never heard of them before. Are they only online?

It just really doesnt make sense, I KNOW that UK chocolatiers are not all using Callebaut.

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I use keylink also(they are in my home city) but if i need Valrhona The Chocolate Society is the main importer. Try Micheal Lee in West Yorkshire for good prices on Callebaut 01977 618828, he is a cheese importer but does chocolate, oil, flavour drops etc.

Hope this is of use

Thanks for the tip! Do you know of a website for Michael Lee?

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I faintly remember reading that the guy who makes chocolate for Gordon Ramsey has/had a stall on Borough Market or a shop up north somewhere. I can't remember if it was the Observer Food Monthly (even maybe won a person of the year award form them) or Restaurant Magazine article but I am sure if you go to their websites you might find it.

Once you do make contact with him he might be able to tell you his SOURCE so you can BUY it yourself direct.

These are the people in Borough Market: www.darksugars.co.uk

I picked up their postcard once when I was there. Are they the people you are talking about?

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Town & Country Fine Foods have just quoted a price of £67.39 for 5kg packs of Cluizel. They only stock about 5 different Cluizel chocolates though. According to their web site they will courier nationwide but have a minimum order value which I think was £70.

I have never bought from Oakleaf but they also carry Weiss chocolate and other pastry ingredients.

So why is it so much easier to buy bulk quantities of european chocolate in the US than it is here in the UK?

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Town & Country Fine Foods have just quoted a price of £67.39 for 5kg packs of Cluizel.  They only stock about 5 different Cluizel chocolates though. According to their web site they will courier nationwide but have a minimum order value which I think was £70.

I have never bought from Oakleaf but they also carry Weiss chocolate and other pastry ingredients.

So why is it so much easier to buy bulk quantities of european chocolate in the US than it is here in the UK?

Look at just these three sites, the first sites quoted on the U.S. version of this thread:

Assouline and Ting - wholesale, no minimum order. Great prices on E. Guittard, also has Valrhona. http://www.icaviar.com/Store/Scripts/prodL...?idCategory=387

Noble Ingredients - Michel Cluizel's USA operation. http://uk.cluizel.com/chocolatier/Retailers/48.html

Chocosphere - Big advantage here is huge variety, in both brands and package sizes. But prices are not as good as the others. http://chocosphere.com/

But aside from the chocolate itself, the oils, molds, etc are soooooo much cheaper. it costs under 5 dollars to get a 30 ml bottle of flavoring oil, but it costs 10 pounds here. When I ordered my molds from the U.S., I got them for under 10 dollars each. And I would buy the chocolate too if it wasnt so heavy!

The Cluizel is pricy, but at least there are a few options now. Thanks for the two names, they will come in handy!

btw, on the cluizel website, they list town and country as the only supplier for the U.K.

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www.vantagehouse.com/HBIngredients/HB_Price_List.php

“Do you not find that bacon, sausage, egg, chips, black pudding, beans, mushrooms, tomatoes, fried bread and a cup of tea; is a meal in itself really?” Hovis Presley.

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EXACTLY! I'd like Cluizel, and I wish you could get Guittard or schaffer berger.

There's someplace around Covent Garden that carries Scharffen Berger in regular eating quantities, according to the nice gentleman at their shop in the Ferry Building in San Francisco. You might get in touch with SB directly to find out if they know of someone who imports the bigger blocks.
"Tea and cake or death! Tea and cake or death! Little Red Cookbook! Little Red Cookbook!" --Eddie Izzard
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I use keylink also(they are in my home city) but if i need Valrhona The Chocolate Society is the main importer. Try Micheal Lee in West Yorkshire for good prices on Callebaut 01977 618828, he is a cheese importer but does chocolate, oil, flavour drops etc.

Hope this is of use

Thanks for the tip! Do you know of a website for Michael Lee?

I'm not sure he has one, I usually call them and speat to Michael or Terri. They should be able to point you in the right direction.

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Artisan also has (or had) a stall at Borough, selling normal chocolates AND rejects. Pick up a bag for £1.50 full of salted caramels that were too ugly for display... Back of the net.

As for Amadei, Selfridges now stocks it, but in a random location I think, not with the rest of the chocolate.

Paul Young has the full range of Amadei too - even Porcelana (£8 for 50g!). Bought some Amadei Chuao there last week for a fiver.

And finally, William Curley has opened up a stall in the new John Lewis food hall. The "Chuao" chocolate is amazing, but they don't sell individual bars. They might do at the Richmond store.

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