But bread is not the only thing Pump St. Bakery is famous for. It makes chocolate from bean-to-bar on site, with single estate chocolate bars (like their Grenada Crayfish Bay bar) that are both fairly and directly traded. Many of their chocolate has won awards - over 20 in fact, from three different recognized organizations.
Thanks to social media, I have been following Pump St. Bakery's success in the chocolate world for a while. But I finally had a first real taste of their chocolate a few weeks ago (one heat-exposed bar given to me in 2015 didn't count). In early April, a birthday gift arrived filled with British and European chocolate, bought from the Cocoa runners website, and it contained three wonderful chocolate bars by Pump St. Bakery. All in prime condition, and ready for tasting.
I have very slowly consumed these bars during the course of the month, giving each piece time to savour, and ponder the flavours, texture and overall aura of the chocolate. And from all this, I can say that the quality is, well, perfect.
Don't get me wrong, there are so many philosophies to making chocolate. I can love chocolate made with very high percentages of cocoa butter (Bonnat's or Friis-Holm's dark-milk chocolates, for instance, or Duffy's 72% Camino Verde Ecuador chocolate bar), and to me that may be perfect quality, but I can also find perfection in stiffer-textured chocolate made with only two ingredients: cacao and cane sugar (Palette des Bines, the new DesBarres Chocolate or Fresco). But Pump St. Bakery's chocolate sits somewhere in the middle of the two, with a noticeable inclusion of cocoa butter to add creaminess to the texture, but not so much that it stands out or takes control of the overall chocolate experience.
According to an article in the Jamie Oliver magazine, Pump St. Bakery spends four days grinding and conching their chocolate. Which is likely why their chocolate tastes (and feels) like perfection. The flavours are slowly developed, and the acidity is reduced, making this chocolate full of pure origin flavour.
I am looking forward to someday tasting all of Pump St. Bakery's chocolate, particularly their popular chocolate bars with bread and sourdough crumbs tossed in, featuring the breads they are famous for. But for now, I'll let the memory of the three chocolate bars that I tasted linger. If you are curious, feel free to read my tasting notes below.
Pump St. Bakery Chocolate Tasting Notes:
Last year, I dove head first into a study of 'dark milk' chocolate, which included a week long tasting of 13 different dark milk chocolates at once, and have since been purchasing and tasting others. And so I have started to create mental classifications of them. I find there are three types:
- Milky Dark-Milk Chocolates (the chocolates are about 45% to 60% and are lighter in colour, and milky like a milk chocolate bar, e.g. Chaleur B Chocolat's Ouganda 50%),
- Dark Dark-Milk Chocolates (bars that are nearly as dark or black in colour as a common dark chocolate bar, i.e. LatteNero 62% by Slitti), and
- Cocoa Buttery Dark-Milk Chocolates where the cocoa butter content is so high that it is the main textural and taste feature (e.g. Bonnat's Java or Asfarth chocolate bars).
These classifications make it easier for me to compare and contrast. For instance, my experience with the very dark dark-milk chocolate bars was not as good as the milky and cocoa buttery ones until I met this Ecuador chocolate by Pump St. Bakery. It is dark, but creamy and not too 'stiff' in texture. The balance seems to be ideal for a dark-milk chocolate designed for a person who prefers dark chocolate. Overall it is very pleasant to eat. I have enjoyed it each and every time I taste it.
To learn more about Pump St. Bakery, visit: www.pumpstbakery.com.