I was lucky enough to catch the very busy Duffy from Duffy’s Fine Chocolate. A man so incredibly passionate, dedicated and proud of his unique award winning single origin chocolate.
Having previously reviewed Duffy’s Chocolate, I know first hand just how fabulous his dark stuff is….no really it is seriously good bean to bar chocolate.
There are no bags of chocolate drops waiting to be melted down in Duffy’s chocolate factory! Duffy is a chocolate maker who roasts and grinds cocao beans in his purpose built chocolate factory.
Duffy is a chocolate maker who loves to conch but HATES to winnow!
Without further ado, check out the ‘Meet the Maker’ interview with Duffy!
Why did you start making chocolate?
My motor racing career was coming to an end and I was looking for something different to do that didn’t involve working for anyone else. A Radio 4 Food programme said that “only Cadburys” made chocolate from the bean in the UK. I thought “how hard can it be” and decided to give it a go. I spent 2 years experimenting at home and then rented a factory and started to do it for a living.
Do you have a chocolate idol or hero and if so what inspires you about them?
Not really. I admire what Phillip Kaufman (Original Beans) does conservation-wise and of course the efforts that Frank Homann (Xoco) has made to identify and grow fabulous criollo bean varieties in Honduras, Guatemala and Nicaragua.
What is your favourite part of the chocolate making process and why?
I love conching. The whole factory smells great and the flavours gradually change and mature over the days that it takes.
What is your favourite variety of cacao bean?
Our Xoco-grown Honduras Mayan Red beans. Small, horrible to work with, too much waste – but interesting flavours.
What is the most difficult part of the chocolate making process and why?
Tempering is a constant battle even though we have a machine to do the work. For the criollo bars the temperature has to be precise to within 0.1C and any change in room temperature or humidity can affect the results. Winnowing on the other hand is just boring.
If you had to take one bar of your chocolate to a desert island with you, which one would you choose?
I would have to take the Honduras Indio Rojo 72% bar. Nice complex flavours and it’s the bar that brought me what recognition we have had.
What new and exciting chocolates are working on next?
We have just opened the Chocolate Studio so classes are our next priority but bar-wise I’m looking at a spiced bar next. Preliminary work done so I just need to get it all together and design a wrapper and make a full batch.
What annoys you most about the chocolate industry?
Chocolatiers claiming that they make chocolate. No, they make chocolates – which is not the same. A vital “S” missing. It’s a friendly industry though and it’s easy to make mates and taste some great chocolate and chocolates.
Other than your own (of course) what other chocolate do you eat and why?
I do occasional tastings and my references are often the bars Mikkel Friss-Holm makes and small producers like Ara in Paris.
For someone new to Duffy’s chocolate, what bar should they start with first?
If you are new to dark chocolate try two different bars of similar percentages – the Ecuador 72% and the Panama 72% are completely different, Then try the Nicaragua Chuno 70% and the Guatemala 70% Wow!
You can buy Duffy’s chocolate online. I promise you, it really is well worth it. The awards speak for themselves.