Having already been presented with over 100 awards for fine chocolate, Dorset-based bean-to-bar chocolate-maker Solkiki has been awarded a fresh gold medal in this year’s Taste of the West Awards.
Their dairy-free 64% dark milk is made with award-winning cacao from Ecuador and was recognised as the gold winner, 2 other bars from the same origin: a 70% dark (70+0 – no added fat) and 49% Milkless Milk both earned Silver.
Celebrating the best food and drink in the region, the Taste of the West Awards has grown to become the most prestigious food and drink awards programme in the South West over the last thirty years.
After years of assessing cacao from Ecuador, Iris and Bob of Solkiki continued searching, finally found and approached Mr. Freddy Salazar for a sample. “We were impressed with our initial tests and after learning more about the processes and employment practices at the estate, we knew our search was finally over. We ordered a bulk shipment from Freddy’s Cloud Forests of Costa Esmeraldas – on the NW coast of Ecuador. 3 months after our cacao arrived in Dorset, Freddy’s estate was voted one of the World’s top cacao estates 2019-2020 in the Cacao of Excellence Program“. Solkiki are proud to be the first team in Europe to be working with his cacao.
Freddy’s estate is just 6 years old – situated on an ex-cattle ranch. Very steep, lush, layered slopes complicate the daily work but the year round climate stays quite stable with a short wet season and misty, drizzly summers in the aptly named Cloud Forests. Minimal temperature fluctuation means consistency is more achievable. Management of the cacao orchards creates over 40 full-time jobs in the local community of rural Esmeraldas.
Robert Spink aka #chocolatemakerbob, a familiar face on the foodie festival circuit for years says: “It’s always a delight to be recognised for the quality of the chocolate we make. Iris and I take great care in sourcing the right cacao and treating it in many different recipes before settling on a final approach. Taste of the West have awarded us many golds and silvers over the years for single estates, inclusions and dairy-free alternatives. It’s a true testament to our philosophy, drive and skills. This is our consuming passion and we’ll continue raising the bar for next year’s competition!”