Saturday, May 15, 2010


I have just had a cocoa revelation. Not all cocoas are equal.

I have to admit to blithely ignoring Nigella’s instructions to use the best quality cocoa in her recipes for years. Not because I didn’t think it would be better, but when feeding a family on a budget it seemed to be wanton extravagance. After all if my standard Nestle cocoa will do the job, why spend a whole lot more on another variety?

This parsimonious attitude was helped by the fact that our local supermarket only stocked two basic cocoas anyway, so in my once-a-week whisk round the shelves there was no temptation to splash out… until recently. Our Spar has been creeping up in the world. Exotic items have been finding their way onto the shelves over the last year, upmarket brands with understated packaging politely inviting the garish mass-produced goods to 'shove over, make room for your betters'. It has been harder and harder to resist impulse buys of gourmet food-stuffs. I've done pretty well, until today... when my usual brand of cocoa seemed to have run out and sitting next to its empty space there was a cool and trendy tin of Nomu cocoa. More expensive of course.

If you’re forced to try a new brand what can you do. Buy the one that is even cheaper (undoubtedly nastier) than your trusted standard brand, or buy the quality alternative that promises to be even more chocolatey? I succumbed to the lure of the good stuff. It was for my sister-in-law’s birthday cake so the choice was doubly justified. But would we be able to taste the difference?

I am proud to announce that we could. The cocoa itself was darker, finer and denser than the usual stuff. Even the cake mix of my favourite chocolate birthday cake recipe taster deeper and richer. The cake had a different texture, more crust to it and a bigger crumb, it wasn’t as sweet as usual, but deeper in flavour, much more of a grown up chocolate cake, (though the kids devoured it happily as usual) and the butter icing made with the cocoa was a chocoholic’s addiction in itself.

I’m afraid my budgeting habits are blown. I’m going to have to upgrade myself to Nomu cocoa on a permanent basis, or else start shopping in a less tempting supermarket.

Disclaimer: I wasn't asked to review this product, paid my own hard-earned cash for it in fact, so the views expressed here are completely genuine... but I'd more than happy to receive free cocoa, chocolate or other delicious goods to review here at any time in the future.


  1. HA! Yes, it can quite easily blow your budget. I buy it on rare special occasions to bake with. Today at the GFWS I had some new Lindt hot chocolate. Oh my aching choccie nirvana!!

  2. The facts that you use a word like "parsimonious", use it (and spell it) correctly, and aim it at yourself make me want to hug you until you squeak.

  3. That Lindt hot chocolate sounds amazing, Colleen... don't tempt me!

    Thanks for the hug, Marcheline, she squeaks! Have you ever read The Talking Cage by Gerald Durrell? It has always been one of my favourite children's books - there is a parrot in it whose job is to exercise all the words in the dictionary at least once a year, so that they don't fall into disuse, may be where I got my love of long words from!

  4. I haven't tried this product (I'm also parsimonious!) but will definitely look out it. Great post, Kit.

  5. I'm a recent convert to Nomu cocoa myself. Like you, I also just used to use the regular cocoa and also bought Nomu once just because our local Spar didn't have anything else in stock {maybe Spar is part of a Nomu conspiracy?! :-)}.

    I agree with you wholeheartedly though about it's quality - it is much much more chocolatey and as a confirmed chocoholic that scores fullmarks in my books.

  6. Parsimony is its own reward :)

    I don't think I have ever bothered to buy anything but Bourneville cocoa from Cadbury's - it's what I grew up with - and am still confused as to what Dutch process cocoa even is... but I am willing to be converted (especially if my cake looks anything like that first pic!!). I can, however, confirm that it's always worth it spending more on hot chocolate - I make a special trip to Fortnum & Mason's to buy mine!!

  7. If it's a Spar/Nomu conspiracy it's working, seeing as it got us both, Marisa!
    Parsimonious is the new frugal, Juno... the gourmet version of course!
    If only I could nip over to Fortnum's and try their hot chocolate, Jeanne. It would be ruinous, not in the least parsimonious, but I'm willing to risk it!

  8. That sounds absolutely wonderful! It looks great, too. I hope everyone enjoyed it.

  9. I will look out for Nomu. (Is it FairTrade?)

    Nowadays, I'd far rather have quality than quantity. If it's a choice between saving my pennies for something good, I'd rather delay gratification than give in to chocolate lust and go for the cheaper item. Plus, I've been boycotting Nestles for ages. Their cavalier attitude to the initial boycott really exasperated me. I almost always go for FairTrade chocolate, and the great thing is, it's generally always better.


Thanks for your comments - I appreciate every one!