- ABOUT US -
Solkiki are one of the few bean-to-bar makers in Europe.
We exceed the (already very high) artisan quality standards.
Rarer still, we trade ethically, organically and directly as possible.
Iris and Bob have been fascinated with food since childhood. Both worked the stove as soon as they could reach it. Both loved chocolate from an early age; Bob (aged 3) getting continually reprimanded for repeat midnight raids on jars and bars of chocolate stock when his family ran a village shop, Iris making 'chocolate' using cacao powder, water and a freezer (aged 6).
They studied, got a few degrees, worked hard for others including food companies large and small, Amnesty International and Ubisoft and realized it was time to start the labour of love and follow passions: ethics, flavour, quality, sustainability. We began our craft adventures in chocolate making in 2008 when we were looking for good bars of dark and dairy-free, vegan, white chocolate. Unable to find any - we decided to start experimenting. We already had a life long love affair with flavour in general, handicraft by nature and chocolate in particular, but got really passionate about chocolate when we found out about fine-flavoured artisan chocolate made from special cacao beans and heard the first reviews from our early repeat customers. These beans have depth and nuance that are not found in bulk chocolate. Just a few years into the dark chocolate revolution we let our passion flow to handcrafting milk, dark and unroasted chocolate for everyone to enjoy. Omni, vegan, lactose-intolerant, raw, free-from, gluten-free, diabetic, veggie... we think in chocolate we can all unite. Quality, taste, nutrition, sustainability and compassion co-exists at Solkiki! Not many makers worldwide can match us as we demonstrate plant-based chocolate is anything but restrictive!
Not only do we want to create the finest quality chocolate, we want every step to be ethical for people, economy, community, animals and environment. Buying fine-flavoured chocolate helps support the local communities and farmers that grow the cocoa beans and will preserve the natural rainforests and very special cocoa trees that produce unique tasting cocoa beans. We pay well over fair trade prices and keep the chain as short as possible to insure the money goes where it needs to go, so future generations can keep enjoying this very special chocolate.
Passionate about making a tastier, more ethical and equal world, we are dedicated to handcrafting uncompromised, outstanding chocolate for everyone to enjoy. Our chocolate ingredients are very carefully selected, hand sorted, roasted, hand tempered, hand poured and hand wrapped. We are obsessive about flavour, we think the best way to have a positive impact on the world is by choosing what you eat.
Our aim: make exceptional chocolate for everyone. Our purpose: improve the lives of those around us and leave the world a better place. We believe the mission of Solkiki is to not only reward our talented farmers properly - they're worth it, right(?!) - but to work ethically, to avoid exploitation and to evolve recipes and business techniques beyond the traditional to embrace a more aware and civilized World. No planets, people or animals will be harmed during the making of our chocolate.
Solkiki is a vegan owned and operated, family micro-business with lofty ambitions based in Sunny Dorset, UK.
We want to make the finest and tastiest chocolate for everyone to enjoy in a more divderse, delicious and democratic world.
Enjoy our chocolate!
Artisan chocolate awaits you
This bean redefines the notion of a good cut test! A thing to behold
In the foothills of the Andes, magic is afoot.
Artisan chocolate awaits you
The World's finest Chocolate starts with the World's finest cacao beans
We love what we do. Love approaching a new bean and unveiling it's most precious secrets using our senses, our equipment, a lot of organoleptic assessment (the best bit) and a litte alchemical luck. Every stage of our process challenges our scientific knowledge and our artistic approach in unique ways and it's intense, stimulating and rewarding work. We hope you'll share our passion - and taste - for fine, unique chocolate made the Solkiki way.
Read on to learn more about how we make our chocolate.
Solkiki's premises are powered completely by renewable energy. Our gourmet chocolate is handcrafted in every step from high quality, rare cacao beans, grown naturally in mature estates. Solkiki cacao is introduced to high quality, bonechar-free sugars and the World's purest raw cocoa butter in very small batches. This meticulous process is a labour of love and the extraordinary artisan chocolate that results is undeniably the product of passion.
We have concerns about the sustainability of modern agriculture on the ecosystem. We believe as a business that we have a duty to ensure that farmers are paid fairly and that their production is secured for the future without any negative impact to the environment or community. To ensure farmers are fairly compensated for their products we pay a significant premium for our cocoa beans, much higher than Fair Trade prices, sometimes 8 times or more than market prices.
Selecting Cacao Beans
We select fine-flavoured cocoa beans that are ethically farmed and have interesting notes and flavour profiles. We like to get to know our beans: their plantations and providers, the way they care for, ferment and prepare the beans. Resultingly we choose carefully our collaborations, always with a eye on a long and fruitful future.
Handsorting the Beans
We handsort the beans before roasting and discard any bean that is not up to standard. Sometimes a single unwanted bean can interfere with the flavour of the whole batch and introduce unwelcome notes to the palate.
Roasting the Beans
When we roast we use small batches in our specialist roaster and do our best to reveal the character and potential of the bean. This can be a challenging stage since different roasts can create wildly different chocolate with different flavour notes and fewer or more flavours from the same bean. So, here we battle out what we find is the best and tastiest outcome for a particular cocoa bean. Lots of tasting is mandatory!
Cracking and Winnowing
Once the beans have relaxed and stopped their snap, crackle and pop, we choose to remove the mineral-rich outer shell from the bean. Some beans rest longer than others. We crack the beans through a manual cocoa mill, then we use a manual winnower to separate the light shells (husks) from the heavier cocoa nibs. The nibs are used for chocolate making, the shells are used for tea or beer or other experiments.
Stoneground and Conche
This is a two- stage process of grinding nibs and sugar into liquer, followed by conching, our traditional granite melangeurs perform both duties. They run slowly but surely for hours or days at a time, cooly reducing molecules to microns, polishing and mixing ingredients together and encouraging the less desirable compounds to leave the liquer. The liquer might be allowed to mature for minutes or months depending on the unique demands of the recipe.
We hand temper all of our chocolate. Tempering brings out the snap and shine in chocolate, it is what makes the chocolate melt so slowly and seductively on your tongue. It also helps stabilize the chocolate so it improves the flavour, layers the flavour notes and can be kept for longer periods of time.
We handpour all of our chocolate in moulds. When the chocolate is set we seal and pack each of our bars by hand. We batch test our chocolate to make sure it's up to standard and delivering a flavourpocalypse!
As a young rural business with outstanding product and lofty ambition we have been able to secure assistance from the Dorset LEADER LAG.