Adnams and local produce; it’s the perfect Christmas get-together. We’re elevating the moments that matter by bringing the things that delight us together. In the spirit of pairing and sharing, our first local producer focus introduces our friends at Tosier – because it wouldn’t be Christmas without chocolate.
Tosier Chocolate makers, from Middleton on the Suffolk Coast, have been creating award-winning ‘bean-to-bar’ chocolate since 2018. Deanna Tilston founded the family-run business with a passion to create great-tasting chocolate that celebrates the unique flavour profiles of single origin beans, without the need to add additional flavours.
The beans are a result of the environment in which they are grown, and the expertise of the farmers they source from. They are a direct-trade company and have a short supply chain that truly values the husbandry and commitment of those at origin, without whom Tosier chocolate just wouldn’t taste as good.
To put things into context, it takes about 60 beans to make a bar of Tosier’s 70% chocolate. There are only about 40 beans in a cocoa pod and an average cocoa tree might only yield 30 to 40 pods. When they receive the fermented but un-roasted beans, it takes the small team about 48 hours on average to stone-grind each batch and after that the blocks of made chocolate are aged for an average of 30 days before being tempered into bars. Additionally, they hand-wrap every bar! It’s a labour of love.
“Cacao has over 600 flavour notes, which chocolate makers claim is more than wine - but that’s a contested point when talking to wine lovers,” said Jonathan Tilston, who looks after Tosier’s marketing. “The main thing is that taking time with chocolate is a pleasurable thing, it’s taken a long time to grow and nurture and a long time to make. Our chocolate stone-grinds for three days, so taking time to eat it seems only fair. You’ll get much more pleasure from the delicious flavour journey our chocolate will take you on.”
And speaking of wine, this Christmas we’ve paired Tosier’s Ghana, Uganda and Ecuador Chocolate Bars with three of our wonderful. wines and parcelled them up in our smart Adnams Wicker Wine Carrier. This Heavenly Holiday Wine Carrier can be sent out for local delivery and makes a delicious gift.
Tosier’s bars have been paired with the sweet, concentrated flavours of figs and wild fruit in Mas Amiel, Maury Vintage Rouge; the plump, jammy, black cherry fruitiness of Doppio Passo Primitivo and as a final indulgence, Adnams Finest Reserve Port.
Tosier’s small batch factory is open to the public, where you can see their chocolate being made for yourself, as Jonathan explains. “For decades chocolate making has been in the hands of big makers, shrouded in mystery - all chef's hats and chocolatiers, but we believe in more transparency, both in the ingredients used and processes involved. It’s the future of chocolate. We are in Middleton near Dunwich and have a chocolate café, gift shop and during the weeks running up to Christmas we will be selling Christmas trees, grown on the farm where we are based.”
Their exceptional chocolate is made with just three ingredients: cocoa beans, a small amount of cocoa butter, and unrefined cane sugar. It’s gluten free, dairy free and completely additive free as it doesn’t contain emulsifiers or lecithin. Being made this way means that much like wine and coffee you have to put some work in to identify all the flavour.
So, what are Jonathan’s favourite products from the Tosier range? “There are two items we make that everyone should try. The 80% Hacienda Limon Ecuador bar, which we call a ’session bar,’ the low sugar content makes it a healthier choice, but the main thing is it’s so smooth, complex and creamy. Many people think that high percentage chocolate makes for bitter chocolate, but small batch makers are master roasters, and we never over roast our cacao! Also, our Smoked Cinnamon Almonds, a world away from commercially produced super sweet milk chocolate coated nuts, these are a super sophisticated adult treat. We use our 70% PISA Haiti chocolate to coat freshly roasted almonds, adding aromatic smoked cinnamon that we source from a New York spice blender with a pinch of Blackthorn sea-salt flakes.”
Adnams is recommending Tosier’s Smoked Cinnamon Almonds alongside our gold medal-winning Rye Malt Whisky in our Smoke & Rye Collection. It’s sensationally seasonal and would make a gift of great taste. Panning toasted almonds with their Haiti chocolate develops distinct notes or fig, red fruit and sour cherry. Adding a touch of smoked cinnamon adds subtle savoury notes. Savoured alongside the warm vanilla, raisin and peppery notes of our whisky, it’s our favourite fireside pairing.
And what’s on the Christmas table for team Tosier? “For our family, candles have always been important, and we always try and make them a focal point of the festive season. Deanna also makes a spectacular glögg that fills the house with festive smells of cardamon, cinnamon, red wine and orange.”
In a past life Jonathan published a book with Dale DeGroff - the father of modern mixology. Their recipe is based on the one he served to customers in The Rainbow Room at the Rockefeller Centre. Now that’s Christmassy!
Products from Tosier Chocolate makers are available in Adnams store and online.
You can also visit their website here.