I think this blog post should have been titled ‘Georgia and the Chocolate Factory’ but anyway, here we go!
A couple of weeks ago I was invited to experience the new Pump Street Chocolate Factory Tours. Being a HUGE chocaholic I was obviously very excited!
As regular readers will know, I’m a big fan of Pump Street Bakery. Orford is one of our favourite places to walk the dog and after a long stroll we end up at Pump Street for hot chocolates and treats.
Pump Street Chocolate was set up a few years after the bakery. Owner Chris Brennan was interested in the process of chocolate making, and after mastering naturally-leavened bread, he looked into finding cocoa beans from the very best single estates and cooperatives.
The chocolate side of the business quickly grew and in 2017 the factory moved to its own purpose made building in Bentwaters Parks in Rendlesham. This is where the tours now take place.
The tour began with an explanation about the background of the business. The passion of the whole team was really inspiring. Even though I’m a big chocolate fan, I realised that I actually knew very little about how it was made. There is a huge difference in quality between high street brands and bean-to-bar makers like Pump Street and the way they deal with their suppliers.
Pump Street will hand pick from small farms where top-quality cocoa beans are grown and processed in a traditional way. The grower’s ferment and dry the beans at the origin in its natural environment, rather than using warehouses like the big corporations.
Pump Street buy a year’s supply of beans directly from the growers and are able to tell exactly where each batch of finished chocolate has been grown. The number on the top of the packets relates to a farm and you can read about each of the growers on the website.
The beans are first checked for quality before being placed on large trays and double roasted.
The shells are then taken off and the beans are broken down into nibs. Next, they are put into conch machines to grind down into a paste – this takes around 24 hours. At this point a small amount of cocoa butter is added to make the smooth, glossy finish.
This is poured out into blocks and the flavour is allowed to develop until its ready to be tempered.
The chocolate will be melted down again and this is when other flavours will be added. Pump Street Chocolate is well-known for its bread flavoured bars, including Sourdough and Sea Salt, Rye Crumb, Brown Bread, Panettone, Hot Cross Bun and Eccles. This blend of its bakery and chocolate is very special and definitely something I recommend that you try! The Brown Bread and the Eccles are my favourites.
At this point the chocolate is moulded into bars. Once set they are packaged up and ready to head out to the shops.
At this point we were able to taste the wide variety of flavours that Pump Street produce. This was really enlightening as you could taste how different the flavours were from each country and when different percentages of cocoa were used.
Suffolk foodies can visit the Pump Street Chocolate factory on selected Fridays throughout the year. Tours run at 10am, 12pm and 2pm and cost £25. This includes a voucher for coffee at the bakery and a free bar of your choice. Current dates are:
- 26th July 2019
- 16th August 2019
- 27th Sept 2019
- 4th Oct 2019 (Food Fest Fringe)
- 17th Jan 2020
- 31st Jan 2020
- 14th Feb 2020
Disclaimer: This was not a sponsored post. I was invited to the Pump Street Chocolate Factory Tour but did not receive payment for my blog post.
This is an account of what I experienced and I am not in any way responsible for what you experience. For my full disclaimer policy, please click here.