Bennetto’s Drinking / Eating Chocolate with Lucy Bennetto

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Lucy Bennetto is a curious soul. “Why” she wonders for instance, “are people so discerning when if comes to crafted beer or coffee, but when it comes to drinking chocolate, they’ll accept a crappy overly sugared drink?”. A good question to which Lucy has worked hard to answer because as is typical with these things, heaps of sugar usually takes the place of a well thought through crafted alternative. What Lucy wanted to do was make something outstanding, both in the process of being able to make your own hot chocolate, and experiencing it from the first sip to the last. To this end, she has developed the sublime Bennetto 70% cacao drinking / eating chocolate. And I’m here to say, it’s fabulous. 

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Lucy’s curiosity has led her on a long journey of discovering the science behind various foods and drinks as well as the entire process of supply chains – from sourcing ingredients to final delivery – and all the sustainability and responsibility issues involved. Haven’t made her own cheese, wine and many other things, she discovered the rich qualities of chocolate and decided to figure out how to fill this gaping whole in the drinking chocolate arena. Eventually, she chose fair trade Peruvian cacao and started working with various companies both in Peru and in NZ to develop her flavours, processes and packaging so that the entire product was a beautiful thing relationally, environmentally and in every other way.

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Once she had the chocolate discovery well under way, she wanted to figure out how to deliver the final experience to friends and future customers. The penny dropped while Lucy was in Dubai experiencing a lovely cup of tea, set out in ornate style with biscuits and loveliness all around. This she thought, is the kind of experience Bennetto’s drinking chocolate could deliver. She hired the talented Auckland watercolour artist Henrietta Harris to do her product art, using Peruvian birds representing the chocolates source, and Food South in Christchurch to create the compostible foil wrap and packaging. Then she perfected the flavour profiles that she thought would finish the experience. An experience to Lucy, which would entail the lucky person unwrapping a beautiful package, dropping one, or a few pieced of say orange, cardamom & chill chocolate into a cup of steamed milk, thoughtfully stirring it in and sipping these rich punchy flavours into their soul on a winters afternoon. 

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Or a summers day after a picnic where you just go without the milk and nibble the chocolate like you would with any other dark chocolate organic goodness. Bennetto’s chocolate works so well both ways because Lucy and Co. have figured out how to adjust just the right levels of alkaline in the chocolate to have the perfect mouth feel as a drink, or straight up. What I really like about this personally, is that either as a drink or straight up, Lucy’s flavours are fantastic. The original dark chocolate has a lovely creamy taste and feel and her orange, cardamom and chilli has a real kick as well as great back flavours. I think if you’re going to use an ingredient like chill you need to go hard or go home. Lucy doesn’t overdo it with ingredeints but she’s not afraid of reflecting the changing kiwi palate, a nation of travelers experiencing strong tastes around the world.

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Lucy’s commitment to fair trade, 100% organic and strong relationships both here and abroad is also matched by her focus on creating new flavours and products with that same curiosity and discipline. Keep your eye out for new things coming soon from Bennetto and next time you’re at Raeward Fresh, have a try of this extraordinary drinking / eating chocolate bar. And for tips on creating your own chocolate experience with Bennetto’s, click here to check out her tips