By Eric Shackle
Willie's Wonky Chocolate Factory Visited
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Intrigued by a TV series,Willie's Wonky Chocolate Factory, shown in Australia, we searched the internet for details, and found an amazing story about a charismatic guy, Willie Harcourt-Couze.
He was born during World War II to an Irish woman, His father was Burmese. After attending schools in Ireland he moved to London when he was 16.
There, he worked variously as a decorator, restaurateur, and part-owner of a nightclub, among other jobs.
In 1993, he fell in love with a lovely model, Tania Coleridge, a descendant of the famous poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge, author of Rime of the Ancient Mariner, and Kubla Khan. He flew to her home in California to marry her.
They spent their honeymoon in Venezuela, where they discovered and later bought a 1000 acre (400 ha) cacao farm.
A few years later, Willie built a factory in Uffculme, Devon, England. to make what he hoped would be the world's best chocolate. British TV Channel 4 cameras followed the project step by step for a series of documentaries.
In 2008 the TV show was recommissioned for a second series, the follow-up series Willie's Chocolate Revolution: Raising the Bar, aired on Channel 4 over three consecutive nights in April 2009. This followed Willie's attempt to introduce a high-cacao chocolate bar, "Delectable", to the British market.
Willie Harcourt-Couze has been dubbed an eccentric entrepreneur with a mission to educate the public in the delights of top quality chocolate.
He may be eccentric, but he's also very clever, and probably very rich ... like his chocolate.
To find out more about Willie, the farm and factory, visit Willie's World at WilliesCacao.com.
- We asked Willy's sister -in-law Sophie how we could taste his chocolate. She replied:
Thanks very much for your email.
We're very pleased to hear that you enjoyed the show.
You will find Willie’s Cacao in Australia in branches of jones the grocer, see www.jonesthegrocer.com.
Alternatively you can buy Willie’s Cacao at our online shop, please visit our website for details or contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Willie is currently looking at more beans from around the World so there should be some more interesting bars available in the future.
In his quest for more beans earlier this year Willie visited Colombia and Mexico see
So we emailed Jones the Grocer and asked about buying a few blocks of Willie's wonderful chocolate, only to be told stocks were "flying out the door."
Fortunately, they caught one for us.
Our report... Great chocolate: five stars. *****