Posts Tagged ‘Bullion’

Bullion bean to bar craft chocolate

February 6, 2020

What was I expecting? Coffee shop, large glass windows, beyond busy making chocolate?

I had trekked out from Sheffield city centre to Kelham Island, a desolate area of abandoned Victorian buildings, or at least caught a bus, choice of No 7 or No 8, driver not very helpful, had passed by where I needed to alight, with the eventual help of a lady at a flea market in one of the abandoned buildings, found Cutlery Works, in the far corner, a dim and dingy corner, Bullion, no one around, a sign instructing ding a bell. I decided to take a wander around the two floors of Cutlery Works, claimed to be the largest food hall in the North.

After a not very good coffee from Foundry Coffee Roasters, I returned to find now someone around.

A little crowd-funded coffee shop, not much larger than a kiosk, a seating area, and beyond, where bullion bean-to bar chocolate made.

I had encountered Bullion at Steam Yard, I was now at their chocolate making facility.

Three bars of chocolate, No 1, No 2, No 3. wrapped to look like bars of gold.

I thought Bullion, gold bars, expensive. No, though could be, cacao beans were used by the Mayans as currency, such did they value chocolate, which they consumed, not as bars or as chocolate, a hot spicy drink for their elite. Gold bars as currency.

Christopher Columbus encountered cacao beans on his fourth voyage, where he found to be used as currency.

Gonzalo Fernández de Oviedo, a seventeenth century writer and historian, gave an account of what the cacao beans would buy among the Nicaroa people.

  • one rabbit – ten beans
  • eight pieces of a local fruit munoncapot – four beans
  • the company of a lady – ten beans
  • a slave – one hundred beans

When Spanish Conquistadors raided closely guarded treasure houses they found not gold, sacks of cacao beans.

Chocolate was a gift from the gods. Mesoamerican cultures transformed cacao beans into a mystical drink that was a portal to other worlds and dimensions.

Chocolate maker Max introduced himself. Offered samples of No 2 and No 3 to try and apologised no No 1.

Taste was that of fruits, not added flavourings  God forbid, the natural favours notes of chocolate, each different.

I would have had a coffee, but no barista. I regretted my coffee at Foundry Coffee Roasters, as Bullion were sourcing top quality coffee from Caravan.

On offer various chocolate themed cakes.

I was looking forward to a cookie, but had sold out.

Currently experimenting with coffee infused chocolate. If chocolate good but not good enough to stand on its own merits.

The coffee beans ground very fine in an EK43 coffee grinder, then ground again with the chocolate.

I tasted. It changed the flavour profile of the chocolate, though not noticeable coffee.

Coffee grounds have their uses, add to compost heaps, add to cakes. I suggested try adding coffee grounds. Max was not sure due to water content.

I also suggested embed coffee beans on the top of the bar of chocolate to give a crunch and interesting texture when biting into the bar.

Another possibility chocolate coated coffee beans.

Food for thought.

Bean-to-bar chocolate is following in the footsteps of coffee. Direct trade, working with growers, fairer prices for quality, not the Fair Trade scam, transparency and traceability, care with fermentation to bring out the intrinsic flavours, roast profile to safeguard the intrinsic flavours.

I came away with a beautiful presentation box, into which exactly fitted three bars of chocolate and a bookmark with information on the chocolates. No number 1, but I was given a small sampler bar as recompense. I could have popped to Steam Yard but no time. Luckily I found I had No 1 from a recent visit to Steam Yard.

On the bookmark, details of the different chocolates.

There are as many wines as people, as many coffees as people, as many cacao as people.

We are used to seeing the name of the chateau or vineyard the year on a wine label. We are seeing the same with specialty coffee, starting to see with bean-to bar chocolate, the name of the farm, the grower, the variety, how processed, altitude, region.

Coffee has more flavour notes than red wine, chocolate more than coffee.

In the early 18th century,  in his Conversations with Eckermann,  Goethe said: ‘One cannot develop taste from what is of average quality but only from the very best’.

Taste is dictated by culture, some may think Cadbury’s make chocolate, to eat at McDonald’s is haute cuisine or that tax-dodging Starbucks serves coffee.

Paulo Coelho discusses with reference to fashion in The Winner Stands Alone, we all wish to belong to a tribe, dress in the uniform of the tribe, all look alike.

In Clear Bright Future, Paul Mason contrasts the diktat of  fashinistas with the individuals of the 1960s who led not followed.

Bourdieu calls this phenomena habitus, the influence upon us of our surrounding culture.

When the beans are roasted, be coffee or cacao, the roast profile is determined by the desire to bring out the intrinsic flavours of the beans. Which in turn are determined by the grower, the terroir.

The merit of a bar of chocolate is no more determined by how bitter, how dark, the percentage of cocoa mass,  than the merit of a bottle wine the alcohol content or a cup of coffee how bitter or strong.

The role of the barista source the best beans to deliver an excellent cup of coffee, that of the bean-to-bar chocolate maker source the best beans to deliver an exquisite bar of chocolate, no additives, no emulsifiers, only cocoa mass, cocoa butter sugar and maybe a little vanilla.

If do not wish to trek out to Kelham Island, then visit Steam Yard, excellent coffee and not only Bullion on sale but also Bare Bones.

Nearby Tamper Westfield Terrace on my last visit also had on sale Bullion, though I do not recall the complete range.

Both coffee shops serve excellent coffee.

Bullion is featured in From Bean to Bar, a whimsical tour of bean-to-bar chocolate makers in Great Britain.

Cutlery Works

February 6, 2020

Cutlery Works, a bus ride away from Sheffield city centre on Kelham Island, occupies two floors, claims to be the largest food hall in the North. Whether claim true or not I do not know.

Imagine the worst street food collected together in one building? OK, not that bad but get my drift. At least no hot dogs, kebabs or German sausages. Pies, a couple of bars, Vietnamese, a coffee roastery, pizza and a chocolate maker.

It was all but deserted as I had a wander around, but the smell of cooking lingered, not pleasant and I hate to think what it is like when busy and all the stalls cooking.

I had eaten earlier at Marmadukes and was pleased that I had from the choice on offer.

No atmosphere, lacking in ambience. Made worse by widescreen TV screens dotted around.

I tried a coffee from Foundry Coffee Roasters. It was not great, not worth trekking out from Sheffield city centre for.

Only business worth making a trip out from Sheffield city centre, Bullion bean to bar artisan craft chocolate.

Not acceptable, card only, do not take cash. This is discrimination. Hands money to banks, enables tracking, more data collected. Not the choice of the individual businesses. Imposed on the businesses by the management of Cutlery Works. They collect rent as a cut from turnover, hence card payment only to enable the management to keep track of all the businesses. This should be seen for what it is, sharp businesses practice.

Nor acceptable wifi that not only is not secure, is a crude scam to obtain and abuse personal data. Visitors who use the wifi will then start receiving junk e-mail.

There are better places to eat in Sheffield city centre, South Street Kitchen, ShuJu Kitchen pop up Taiwanese kitchen at Union St, Marmadukes.

Apart from Bullion, Cutlery Works not worth a trip to Kelham Island.

Cold early February day in Sheffield

February 6, 2020

Frost in the morning, frost on ponds en route.

In the sun, Sheffield crisp and cold but not too cold.

But, lovely and sunny, and Sheffield quite pleasant in the sun.

Northern Fail new trains badly designed.  Only two-coaches when require at least three-coach train. !3A power point hidden beneath seat, have to be a contortionist to access. No usb power points. Pillars obscure views out of the windows. Deafened by announcements. Widescreen screen in face for route announcements. Destination board obscures view out of the windows. Why not built in to coachwork as LNER Azuma trains? But at least the new trains have wifi. But why encourage the taking and posting of selfies?

East Midland Rail refusing to accept cheques from end of February.

Stunning view of power station on River Trent at Gainsborough.

Stopped at Motore Cafe coffee kiosk for a chat, but no time for a coffee.

Looked in Union St via a different route. No Now Then, no Taiwanese lunch.

Today, falafel, but what I saw did not look appetising.

I walked to Union St a different way, but no direct way. Path leading up from Sheffield Station ends at a  busy main road. Usually I walk via the Winter Garden.

To Marmadukes, past Town Hall and Peace Garden, then side street, Sheffield Cathedral one side, Mamadukes the other side.

To Marmadukes where both food and coffee always excellent.

A good selection of guest coffee on sale.

Burger for lunch, no sauce or relish. Nothing wrong with, but the burger stands on its own merits.

Followed by excellent cappuccino.

Marmadukes is always very busy. They have now opened at a second location near John Lewis but no time to check it out.

Hop on a bus to Kelham Island. Luckily two pulled in as I got to the bus stop. No 7 and No 8 go to Kelham Island.

I told the bus driver where I wished to be. He seemed clueless, and I got off further down the road.

I asked of a Flea Market the way.  And a man en route. Around the corner.

Could I find Cutlery Works? No. I was stood outside.

Cutlery Works claims to be the biggest food hall in the North. Whether true I do not know.

I was after Bullion bean to bar chocolate.

I had a wander around, two floors. Worst street food in one location. OK not that bad, no kebabs, no German assuages, nevertheless not good and the smell from all the food stalls all pervasive and not pleasant. The place was nigh on deserted. I hate to think what it is like when all the food outlets cooking.

I had thought of saving time, head to Kelham Island to eat. I was pleased I did not, and ate first at Marmadukes.

Zero atmosphere. Widescreen TVs everywhere did nothing to improve the ambience, with offers of sport.

Refusal to accept cash, credit card only, discriminatory and not acceptable. Neither acceptable use of wifi a crude scam to harvest personal data to then abuse.

I stopped and had a coffee at Foundry Coffee Roasters. Two bored looking people behind a long counter,  otherwise engaged on either laptop or smart phone.

I ordered a cappuccino. It was not good.

Back downstairs to Bullion. Long and interesting chat with Max.

I wanted Bullion 1 2 and 3. Only No 2 and No 3, apologies for no No 1.

Nearby, I would have liked to have visited Sheffield Cheese Masters, but sadly no time.

Whilst in the vicinity,  I decided to try and find Saw Grinders Union. I headed of in the wrong direction, retraced my steps, turned out I was heading in the right direction but had failed to turn down a very narrow muddy alley running alongside the River Don. Looking into the river, trees which must have come down in the recent floods.

Alley eventually turned into a street, twists and turns, cobbled streets, old derelict Victorian buildings.

Finally I fond Globe Works which house Saw Grinders Union.

No idea the name, I should have asked.

A bar and a coffee shop.

Helpful barista who knew her stuff. But, not a great choice of coffee roasteries on offer, Extract, Grumpy Mule and Workshop.

My cappuccino not great.

Helpful young lady then walked out with me and pointed out where I could catch the tram back into the town centre and hopefully train station.

By now I am panicking, already missed one train, would I make the next one?

Helpful guy at tram stop advised which tram to catch. Two due into the city centre, the second, only a couple of minute apart, went to railway station.

En route we had interesting conversation about failing public transport system and the need for not only investment, cancellation of HS2 gravy train, but far better integration of bus, train and tram. He told me of how bad public transport in Manchester.

For example, in Sheffield can use bus pass on tram, in Nottingham cannot. In Manchester train service dreadful, within Manchester and across country east west, no common fare structure across the different bus companies.

The same is true in Lincoln and Lincolnshire. With bus pass choice of PC Coaches or Stage Coach, but if purchase a ticket, can not be used on the different buses.

Arrived at train station with ten minutes to spare.

Platform not too crowded, but ten minutes later packed. All ready to jam onto two-coach train. They must have packed onto the other coach as on my coach not packed in like sardines, though still standing room only. At Worksop train empties and can get a seat.

After 1900, Lincoln Central Bus Station deserted. Nearly all bays bar a couple, no more buses for the day. The overhead screen shows more trains than buses.

Only 2C.