MIA sets a new milestone for Made-In-Africa products by taking home three coveted Great Taste Awards this year, bringing the brand total to four.

Organised by the Guild of Fine Foods leading up to the Speciality & Fine Food Fair in London, the Great Taste Awards are widely recognised and often used by retailers to qualify new brands. Award winners are divided into three rankings: 1-, 2- and 3-star.

With nearly 13,000 entries, only 1,500 products received the 2- or 3-star ranking: MIA received three 2019 Great Taste Awards, including two with 2-star ranking:

Baobab & Salted Nibs — 2-star Award: “A well balanced acidity… a lovely crunch and citrussy note… quite fascinating bursts of flavour: sweet, salty savoury and fruity…”

75% Dark Chocolate — 2-star Award: “The melt is smooth and clean and there is a fine texture…. rounded mix of dark berry-ish tones with brighter refreshing notes… keeps a delicious flavour on the palate which is clean and rich.”

100% Cocoa — 1-star Award: “Intense dark chocolate with fruit on the nose. The flavour is long and the fruity element comes through…”

Thanks to the cocoa farmers, chocolate making team, supply partners and customers for helping MIA achieve so much in such a short time! If you want to share the success with friends and family, MIA is available in the UK at Whole Foods Market in London and online via Cocoa Runners and Amazon for shipment worldwide.

Cocoa Runners: www.cocoarunners.com/?post_type=product&s=mia

Amazon: www.amazon.co.uk

Following our collaboration earlier this year for Valentine’s Day, we’re incredibly excited to be back at Hammer & Tongs. With a shared passion for Africa and delicious food, Hammer & Tongs is a perfect partner for MIA. This time, we’re collaborating on a year-round vegan Coconut Mint Chocolate Truffle.

Created by talented chef Rodrigo Navarro using the new ‘MIA for Chefs’ chocolate drops, the truffles are rich and silky with the tropical taste of coconut balanced by a minty coolness and the nuanced flavours of Madagascan cocoa.  

Rodrigo at work at Hammer & Tongs

Starting in September, all Hammer & Tongs guests will receive a complimentary truffle at the end of the meal.  The truffles will also be exclusively offered at Taste of London Festive this November. 

Bringing the famous South African braai to London since launch in 2016, Hammer & Tongs is passionate about materials and ingredients. One example is the decision to import a special wood from southern Africa to give the braai a special flavour while helping game reserves protect their land against an invasive species called sekelbos.

Head Chef Rodrigo Navarro:

“We look at every ingredient we use from many angles: how it tastes, where it comes from, how it was produced, how it is packaged and its impact on the environment. All these considerations are vital to our dishes, our business and important to our customers, so we’re delighted to collaborate with MIA on our new Coconut Mint Chocolate Truffle.  The quality of the chocolate is fabulous, offering absolute provenance and a great opportunity to do some good in Africa with every order we make.”

The collaboration with Hammer & Tongs is part of MIA’s new strategy to target the foodservice sector and the growing number of innovative chefs who are putting greater importance on quality, ingredient provenance, sustainability and social impact.

MIA baking drops (3g) are easy to measure and melt

A new ‘MIA for Chefs’ catering pack is now available in 5-kg bags of 65% dark chocolate specifically made for bakers, chefs and chocolatiers. Those interested in receiving further product information enquire at hello@miafoodie.com.

About Hammer & Tongs

Inspired by a love of traditional South African braai, Hammer & Tongs offers juicy, tender and smoky cuts of meat cooked over wood.

Braai (rhymes with try) is quintessential South African barbecue. Hammer & Tongs only ever cooks with sekelbos (sickle bush) wood imported from Namibia. Sekelbos smoke married with beef, pork, vegetables or fish creates a whole new dining experience and depth of flavour.

South Africans have been braai-ing for thousands of years and over the centuries the flavours have evolved thanks to the diverse culinary influences brought by the many settlers. What has always remained the same is the simplicity of braai and the skill of cooking over woodfires.

The unforgettable flavours experienced at Hammer & Tongs warm the soul. The beer bread, marinades and chutneys are all homemade and inspired by the tastes of the Karoo and Stellenbosch regions of South Africa. Hammer & Tongs source only the highest quality, local, seasonal ingredients. All meat is British free-range and the fish is from sustainable sources.

More at www.hammertongs.co.uk/.

Chocolatiers at the top of their game are widely recognised and often have cult followings. But what about the skilled people behind the scenes who make that perfect chocolate possible? One such person is the roaster, key to the magical transformation of raw cocoa into finished chocolate.

We take a look at the rarest of rare in the chocolate industry; a cocoa roaster in a far corner of the world where the profession is not common. This is the world of Josia, head roaster for the production of MIA chocolate on the far off island of Madagascar.

Considering less than 1% of the world’s chocolate is made in Africa, it’s no surprise Josia had to start from scratch without any formal training. Despite the challenges, he has been quietly mastering his skills over the past decade under the master chocolate maker’s guidance. Equipped with a vintage coffee roaster and a lot of passion, Josia has learned the art of roasting Madagascan fine flavour cocoa one batch at a time.

Like top grade coffee, fine flavour cocoa is roasted at a lighter temperature and for a shorter time vis-a-vis its mass market counterpart. Josia: “The goal is to bring out the flavours that have been developed in the fermentation and sun drying of the beans through the magical Maillard reaction which creates hundreds of different flavour compounds.”

Asked how he chooses the perfect time to transition the delicate Madagascan beans from the heat of roasting to the cooling tray, Josia explained, “Like coffee, cocoa beans pop in the latter stages of roasting. This is when I constantly taste the beans to achieve the perfect flavour profile.”

When it comes to MIA chocolate, Josia has applied his skills to a new frontier; the nuts, coconut, hemp seed and other ingredients in MIA inclusions. Josia: “We use a copper drum for the MIA inclusions because copper an excellent conductor of heat, providing an even roast. The inclusions are a perfect extension of cocoa roasting because I can balance the added flavours and touches of salt with the natural red fruit notes that make delicious Madagascan cocoa part of the world’s top 10%.”

As highlighted in the Huffington Post article, “What’s Fancy Chocolate Made Of That Makes It So Expensive,” master roasters like Josia depend on the work of many others to create delicious chocolate, from dedicated cocoa farmers to skilled chocolate makers who care for the rest of the process. In a nutshell, tasting a craft chocolate bar is tasting the combined work of many artisans brought together as one.

Read the Huffington Post article at https://www.huffpost.com/entry/fancy-chocolate-expensive_n_5b7d8c4de4b07295150f25c6?guccounter=1.

MIA Chocolate Swirl Banana Cake is very low in sugar and achieves a delicately fluffy texture without lots of butter. Besides being a guilt-free snack or treat, this cake is a great way to make delicious use of old bananas.

PREP TIME: 30 min

SERVINGS: approx 8

INGREDIENTS

 

 

1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Coat the inner surface of a 24 x 13 cm metal loaf pan (or pan of equal volume) with butter and dust it with flour. Remove the excess flour from the pan by turning it upside down.

2. Melt the chocolate in a bain-marie.

3. Mix the bananas and sugar in a bowl, mashing the bananas with a fork until the mixture is smooth. You can leave some small pieces of banana to give the cake more texture. Add the oil and eggs and mix together. Mix in the 90 g (¾ cup) of flour as well as the baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir in the yogurt and vanilla. This is your BANANA BATTER.

 

         

 

 

4. Stir 1 cup of BANANA BATTER into the melted chocolate. This is your CHOCOLATE BATTER.

5. Fill the baking pan in alternate layers of BANANA BATTER and CHOCOLATE BATTER. Repeat the layers until all batter is used. Then gently swirl the batters together by running a butter knife through them.

 

         

 

6. Bake the cake until it is brown on top and a toothpick can be inserted into in the centre and come out clean (approx 45 minutes).

7. Cool the cake in the pan for 20 minutes. Then turn it out onto a wire rack to finish cooling for another 20 more minutes. Serve warm or cool.

 

The simplest foods are some of the best, and it’s no different when it comes to silky smooth and rich MIA chocolate mousse. There aren’t many indulgent recipes with just two ingredients but that’s all this one takes.

SERVINGS: 4-6

INGREDIENTS

 

    

 

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Melt the chocolate in a bain-marie (this avoids burning the chocolate).
  2. Separate the egg whites from the yolks.
  3. Whip the egg whites until all the liquid is transformed into fluffy white clouds. You can test the firmness of the whipped egg whites by holding the bowl upside down. When the whites defy gravity they are ready.
  4. Remove the melted chocolate from the bain-marie and fold scoops of the whipped egg whites into the chocolate. It’s important not to mix the whites and the mousse too much as this will break the air bubbles in the whipped egg whites and the mousse will be dense rather than airy.
  5. Pour the liquid chocolate mousse into small bowls and refrigerate for 1-2 hours. (You can transfer the mousse to a zip bag, cut a corner and squeeze it out if that’s easier for the dish you are using.) Serve with fresh raspberry or strawberries to accentuate the richness of the chocolate and highlight a seasonal fruit!

 

 

 

 

 

 

When it comes to drinks that work well with chocolate, rum has to be one of the greatest partners.

Whether it is an aged sipping rum alongside a piece of 100% Cocoa bar or you simply love to add a splash to your favourite bakes, we recommend you experiment this summer ahead of National Rum Day on the 16th August.

To provide a bit of inspiration, we’ve linked up with Happy Skin Kitchen and Guyana’s amazing rum brand El Dorado to create these utterly indulgent, super chocolatey truffles.

The combination of silky coconut milk, rich dark chocolate, gooey dates and aged rum means these truffles are the ultimate chocolate treat. They are also ideal to make in advance as you can store them in the fridge for up to two weeks.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup of full fat coconut milk from a tin

200g of medjool dates – the softer the better

75g of MIA 75% dark chocolate

2 tbsp of maple syrup

2 tbsp of El Dorado Rum – 12 year old

3 tbsp of raw cacao powder

1/2 tsp of vanilla bean paste

For the coating:

1/4 cup of chopped hazelnuts or any other nut of your choice

1/4 cup of raw cacao powder

1/2 cup of cacao nibs

Method

With a third of UK consumers now thought to be cutting out or reducing the amount of meat they consume and veganism continuing to grow at a fast rate, we’re delighted to announce that our full range of MIA bars has been accredited by the Vegetarian Society.

The 8-strong MIA range has always been vegetarian- and vegan-friendly but now the bars will provide absolute clarity thanks to Vegetarian Society accreditation and on pack display of the much-coveted trademarks.

Brett Beach, MIA Co-founder said:

“More and more people are adopting a plant-based diet and paying more attention to the amount of animal products they consume. There are many reasons why people are choosing to become vegetarian and vegan but whatever the rationale, it’s clear most people want clarity when it comes to how the food they eat is made.”

“While many people wouldn’t think animal products were used in dark chocolate, you would be surprised with some producers using ingredients that we would consider vegetarian until we learn that animal products such as bone char have been used to process them. To this end, we have investigated every ingredient throughout our entire supply chain so we can provide an absolute guarantee to our customers that our chocolate bars are 100% vegan.”

MIA is now on offer to guests at the site that is home to one of the largest conservation projects for Madagascar’s flora and fauna: Zurich Zoo.

Zurich Zoo has a strong focus on environmental conservation and the Masoala Rainforest of Madagascar is at the heart of their mission. The Masoala Rainforest, located in northeastern Madagascar, is one of the world’s top three species-rich habitats with new discoveries constantly being uncovered.

The Zurich Zoo features a living rainforest ecosystem in a massive greenhouse called the Masoala Rainforest. The rainforest gives visitors an experience of plants and animals in their natural habitat, allowing them to learn more about the importance of the Masoala Peninsula for world heritage.

MIA Co-founder Sarah comments, “We were thrilled when the Zurich Zoo Restaurants decided to offer MIA to visitors. It’s great because the Masoala Reserve project not only educates visitors in Europe but also invests in education and conservation in Madagascar.

At MIA, we take a similar approach in that we share the story of Africa with our customers while benefitting supply partners in Madagascar with much more value than the export of cocoa. We do this in part by ethically producing finished chocolate locally and in part by committing 1% of sales to our 1 for Change social development program.”

Beyond the social benefits of MIA, every two kilos of chocolate produced sustains a cocoa tree for a year. This prevents deforestation and provides a habitat for indigenous plants and animals in northwest Madagascar.

Sarah: “It’s great to work with like-minded organisations that are making a positive difference in Madagascar. The relationship allows us to support our respect missions and give consumers a great experience in the process!”   

More about the Masoala Rainforest project at Zurich Zoo

https://www.zoo.ch/en/naturschutz-tiere/naturschutzprojekte/masoala?language=fr

Zurich Zoo’s biggest nature conservation commitment is in the Masoala region in Madagascar. Every year, the zoo contributes at least USD 125,000.00 to running costs and a sustainability fund at Masoala National Park. It also supports rainforest maintenance, reforestation, sustainable agriculture, water supply and hygiene projects, as well as children’s schooling in the surrounding communities. These projects, implemented in close cooperation with Masoala National Park, the Wildlife Conservation Society WCS and Medair, offer residents economic alternatives to ‘slash and burn’ methods in the rainforest.

The Masoala Peninsula is one of the world’s three most species-rich habitats. New plant and animal species are constantly being discovered there. Zurich Zoo champions the beauty of Masoala and raises awareness of the rainforest in Switzerland and Madagascar. It wants to help maintain Madagascar’s substantial biodiversity into the future and to secure benefits of the ecosystem such as protection against erosion, safe drinking water and the fertility of agricultural cultivation outside the park for the long run.

Known for foraging the best local produce and hard-to-find specialty products from around the world, the Texas-based Central Market grocery stores now list the full MIA range of fine flavour chocolates.

Boasting full-service kitchens, wine classes and culinary schools combined with over 600 varieties of cheeses and a wine selection to match, Central Market is frequently credited as one of the best food markets in the US and was recognised by Specialty Food Magazine as “Outstanding Specialty Food Retailer.”

MIA Co-founder Sarah reflects, “We really couldn’t ask for a better partner to introduce MIA to the US market. Central Market creates a really unique customer experience by combining the best of local products with a phenomenal variety of delicious international foods. As a result, a trip to Central Market is something like visiting farmer market stalls and travelling abroad all in one.”

With stores in Austin, Fort Worth, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio, Central Market gives MIA a chance to reach customers in the major urban centres. MIA joins the company of US brands like Vosges, Taza and Dick Taylor on the one side and European chocolates such as Willie’s Cacao, Amadei and Divine on the other.

Sarah: “There is a lot of good competition at Central Market, and we’re thrilled to give customers the chance to expand on their experience by trying what we believe to be Africa’s best chocolate. If we can get customers to taste MIA once, we are sure they will be come back for more. We’ll be doing some tastings and promotional activities in collaboration with Central Market to encourage trial and support this new partnership.”

Banana bread is our go-to for energy, yet it still feels like a real indulgent treat. It’s become so popular that you can see it now on nearly every café menu and blackboard but it’s so simple to make so why not try it yourself at home?

Ingredients

4 very ripe bananas

Half a bar of MIA (we prefer 75% Dark Chocolate or our Hemp & Almond)

120g of butter/margarine plus a little extra for greasing

180g of coconut sugar

2 eggs, beaten

240g self-raising flour

40g wholemeal flour

2 tbsp of maple syrup

Method

Preheat the oven to 180c and grease the loaf tin. Mash the bananas well in a large bowl until they are gooey and soft. In a separate bowl, beat the butter and sugar until it’s light and fluffy. Next mix in the eggs to this. Chop up your chocolate into small chunks. Now add the mashed bananas and chocolate to the large mixture and stir well.

Stir in the flour through a sieve, then the maple syrup. Once this is done you can scrape the mixture into the tin and bake for 30 minutes. When you reach this time, lower the heat to 150c and bake for a further 10 minutes until it’s golden brown.

It’s not compulsary but we made a quick sweet potato and MIA spread too. Simply boil your sweet potato until soft, melt some MIA and mix together. If you want something sweeter, add a dash of maple syrup. Pure bliss!