We are days away from Valentine’s and what better way to bring a little sweetness into the lives of those we love than with a gift of organic, raw, vegan chocolate packaged in luxury boxes?
OCTOchocolate bars make perfect gifts.
OCTO are a UK company producing organic, raw, vegan chocolate, made of high quality cocoa beans and sweetened only with coconut blossom sugar. They process their chocolate below the low temperatures deemed acceptable for raw products to better preserve the natural state of their beans, elevate freshness and heighten the overall quality of their products. Each product is handmade, hand-wrapped and hand packed.
For those of us who remember Charlie and the Chocolate Factory with Gene Wilder, we can recall the sense of occasion that was the opening of one of Willie Wonker’s chocolate bars. Thick bars, double wrapped, they had a sense of decadence about them; this was real chocolate. Well, opening OCTO bars brought back these memories for us. The packaging is heavy weight, embossed cardboard, the bars are twice wrapped thick slabs of beautiful looking chocolate, secured with stickers that slide out of their boxes and before we’d even tasted them, we were fans of these gorgeous products.
Opening OCTO chocolates really does feel like opening a gift and we will be repurposing our packaging because it is too lovely to throw away.
We tried the Brazil Nuts coated in Raw Chocolate, the Raw Chocolate with Coconut Milk and the Raw Chocolate Bar with Goji and Cacao Nibs. Our favourite was the latter. Lightly sweetened dark chocolate, beautifully flavoured with gojis and cacao nibs that lend a wonderful texture to the chocolate that isn’t overwhelming, this is a gorgeous looking bar that tastes amazing. The brazil nuts were our second favourite; incredibly moreish, we could easily finish a bag in one sitting but what a waste that would be when we can savour them more slowly. In at number three was the milk chocolate bar. Last but by no means least, this creamy, milky chocolate melts in the mouth and carries a sweet scent of coconut.
All of these flavours are delicious, the chocolate smooth, well tempered, not too sweet and everything taken to a level of luxury by the stunning packaging.
We spoke to OCTO about their range…
Why are you passionate about raw cacao?
We are passionate about raw cocoa because it’s a pure, low fermented, unprocessed superfood in a league of its own. Raw cacao is packed with, to name a few, essential minerals such as magnesium, zinc and antioxidant flavanoids, which makes it good for you inside and out.
We began the company eight months ago back in 2016 but started trading publicly more or less four to five months ago. Mind you, saying this, we have six years of experience with organic chocolate production.
Our background is a simple one: two chocoholics that are health fanatics love the finer things in life and are obsessed with fine quality chocolate.
Talking from personal experience we have always searched for chocolate that’s free of any chemicals, animal products, soy, lecithin, gluten and wheat, to name a few. Alas we have always failed to find the exact product; luxurious in design, stylish in presentation and divine in appearance yet close to nature. To cut a long story short, me and my business partner decided to start our own chocolate company representing all the above and more.
How did you choose your name?
When it came to naming our chocolate brand I found this one of the most exciting tasks to do. I wanted an elegant feminine name and my business partner wanted a short easy memorable one. So after a few hours I came up with OCTO, meaning (from Latin language) the number 8. We also liked it because of its symbolic meaning of INFINITY.
Why raw and what makes you different to other raw chocolates on the market?
Easy! It’s less processed, meaning we capture and retain a greater level of intensity in flavour and health benefits such as micronutrients.
We live, breathe and care tremendously about our chocolate products.
The difference between us and other raw chocolate companies currently on the market is very evident:
- Our commitment to only using only organic ingredients sourced form ecological farming.
- Using the best organic natural sweetener, coconut blossom sugar which we think speaks volumes to how far we are prepared to go in order to provide the best chocolate treat.
- Exploring boundaries within the use of techniques and equipment i.e. processing our chocolate at temperatures below 45°C during production, giving an unforgettable chocolate experience each time and every time.
- Our packaging.
We wanted to create chocolate completely free from any chemicals including animal products. That led to finding an alternative for milk which was coconut milk or coconut water in our “white” chocolate or milk-like tasting products. Plus vegan is far more kind to nature, animals and the environment altogether.
What are the benefits of using coconut sugar?
For a start coconut blossom sugar is derived from the the nectar of coconut palm flowers. Compared to white table sugar CBS is more healthy and nutritious not to mention lower on the glycemic index too. We use it because it’s a natural sweetener, it offers more vitamins and minerals and it’s richer in flavour giving us a caramel-like taste. Another great fact is that we benefit from the natural colour CBS has, allowing us not to use any food colouring or chemicals!
Where are your products made?
All our products are made in our production site in Warsaw, Poland.
Are you fairtrade?
We are personally not Fairtrade registered but we are supplied by Fairtrade farmers co-operatives. That means all of the ingredients we use come from certified Fairtrade farmers. We think this is a brilliant way to give back to small scale farmers organisations and plantations. This also increases a better sustainability in their every day trade, working environment and basic rights.
Is your packaging recyclable?
Yes, our packaging can be recycled if handled in the right way. Our paper is dense in feel, non-uniform in touch and of course hot stamped with a gold aluminium effect. FSEA has recently published a report confirming the recyclability and repulpability of foil-decorated paper and paperboard, be it hot stamp or cold foil processed.
What does the future hold for the world of chocolate?
From a business point of view, hopefully new brands creating original products using quality, natural ingredients. From an ecological point of view, hopefully eliminating as much low-grade flavour cocoa beans as possible which will lead to better sustainability cacao assortments quality-wise.
We are hopeful and exited to create far more advanced, unexplored combinations of flavours that no one has produced before.
Use code Valentines10 for 10% off your Valentine’s order.