Yaaay! I think Christmas came early this year!
I was browsing in Planet Organic yesterday afternoon, and was about to decide that it was time to call it quits as I had seen most of the shop, and I should really be getting on my way home as I was rather tired, when what did I see on a shelf in front of me but several tubs of pure cocoa butter!!!
I have been searching for cocoa butter for years. I thought it would be fun to try experimenting with a small amount of it to make some lotions and potions - skin cream, face cream, that kind of stuff. But I had no idea where to find it. These days we have the internet, and a couple of years ago I saw 3kg tubs of Valrhona cocoa butter for sale on a UK-based website that sells chocolate to the general public, but a) I only wanted something like 100g of the stuff in the first instance, to see what it's like, and b) the cocoa butter was only for sale to the trade, so not being a chocolatier, I wouldn't have been able to buy it from them anyway. A few days ago, while reading about the Chocolate Week that I had just missed, I came across a website - Choc Chick - that sells chocolate making kits (in small quantities!). I had never heard of them before, but they seemed to sell small amounts of cocoa butter as well. This was an interesting development, and I duly bookmarked the webpage so that I could go back and have a better look at it later. But with the strikes the postal system is having at the moment, I wasn't about to order anything over the internet just at this time.
But all of a sudden, here were these tubs of cocoa butter unexpectedly in front of me. They only had them in one size, 500g, which was admittedly more than I really wanted for an initial trial. On top of that, this was not just any old cocoa butter, but organic, raw, cold-pressed cocoa butter, so it was also very, very expensive (£20). What to do. I could go home and think about it, perhaps compare the price with the cocoa butter for sale on the internet, and come back a few days or weeks later. But I decided to carpe diem. I decided I could justify the purchase if I called it an early Christmas present, so I am now the happy owner of 500g of cocoa butter.
Although my initial interest in cocoa butter was to try using it as a moisturiser/skin cream, since I have ended up with organic cold-pressed cocoa butter, and there is quite a lot of it, I think in order to do it justice (and justify the expense) I will have to try cooking with it or making some chocolates. It's a hard life!