Most precious Olive Oils in the world

This gallery contains 6 photos.

Masia El Altet EVOO Classed as one of the Best and most Precious Olive oils in the World   It’s so exciting discovering new produce. Especially when it’s this good. I truly believe what you eat can effect your whole life. It effects the way you feel, look, act and think. So when I was introduced

Made with sour cherries


Whole Sour Cherries

Whole Sour Cherries

A wonderful gift to a friend or yourself!

A wonderful gift to a friend or yourself!

I love discovering new and exciting produce to enjoy. Verita Vita do the job for you by saucing the best produce from around the world. The team were kind enough to send me a few things to try. I have started with the Sour Cherries as I love the colour and decadence of them.

Here is what Verita Vita have to say:

 To us food is such a unique cultural experiance because it involves everyone and it has existed forever. We are devoted  to keep discovering  unusual  and high quality ingredients  to help you enhance  your dishes. Cooking is an art, so careful selection of  fresh nutritious ingredients and an unhurried approach are nearly all you need. There is one more thing – love.  Love for food and love for those you invite to your table…

 Our love for  great food and the need to share our findings are  the driving force behind all we do, whatever it may be  – searching for the best extra virgin olive oils to bring to you, creating new recipe for a tasty  spread or appetizer,  learning the secrets and traditions of making the perfect preserve, producing pure argan oil in  exotic lands  or exploring  vineyards in quest to find that special wine.

 Our promise to you is that we will keep finding the new , the forgotten and the unusual to make your  experience with food  more enjoyable and more healthy of course. After all ” let  food be your medicine and  medicine be your  food ”  Hippocrates has said.



Sweet and  tangy  flavour  of cherries   with every mouthful. 

A real treat  for your  taste buds  –  just spread on some toasted bread ,  use on  freshly baked  scones ,   yummy on  toasted panetone bread,   add to pancakes,  add to cheese boards ,   use as toppings to   cakes and cheese cakes,   or  use with roasted turkey ,  duck and game meats . Wonderful accompaniment to pate and terines.   Your  only  limitation is your imagination . Enjoy it !!!


I find the sour cherries really versatile and they work with so many things.

I enjoyed them with my chick pea pancake and my porridge.


Texture, flavour and colour

Texture, flavour and colour


Like adding magic to my breakfast

Like adding magic to my breakfast


My absolute favourite thing to make with the Sour Cherries so far has been sour cherry fudge brownies. I’m not even kidding when I say I had to give them away as gifts as I was eating them every day! Completely addictive. The sour cherries and chocolate work so well together. It is a match made in heaven. Also, it gave the brownies an amazing texture. With the cherries running through the brownie it was a delight in a bite.


Getting ready to bake

Getting ready to bake

Just out of the oven

Just out of the oven






450g Caster Sugar

375g Dark chocolate – melted and cooled

375g Butter

225g Gluten and wheat free flour

35g Verita Vita Sour Cherry

6 free range eggs

Live a roasting tin with baking paper and pre heat your oven to 165/Gas mark 3

Melt the butter and chocolate in a bowl over simmering water. Allow to cool.

Mix the eggs and sugar together and slowly add the chocolate and butter liquid mix. Mix in the flour ( thoroughly)

Finally stir through the cherries, saving some to drop on top of the mixture.

Bake for 35/40 minutes. You want the inside to be slightly gooey.

Ideally leave over night to develop the taste and fudgy texture.

Sour cherry Brownies. A great gift

Sour cherry Brownies. A great gift

Welcome to my new addiction!

Chocolate truffles for Valentines day



Valentine Red Velvet cupcakes



                                IF CHOCOLATE BE THE FOOD OF LOVE.. LETS MAKE IT.

We are a romantic bunch here at The Cocoa Box HQ. So even though its only the beginning of January we are already thinking about the most romantic month on the calendar, February.

February the 14th is a time to tell those closest to you that you love them. Now this doesn’t just mean boyfriends, girlfriends, partners, lovers etc. This could be your best friend, your dog, your mum or anyone you love really.

We love to run extra special chocolate and cupcake classes around this time of year. So we have bubbles and heart shaped decorations, balloons and roses. It’s just a bit of fun but it can make some one special feel very special.

We are running some great offers on our Valentine classes, chocolate and cupcakes so do get in touch : 

Some trivia for you :

In 1868 Richard Cadbury produced a heart shaped chocolate box to celebrate Valentines day and this became an instant success. He personally designed the boxes with the idea being after you had enjoyed the chocolates you would keep the box to store mementos in such as love letters and gifts. The boxes grew increasingly more and more elaborate until World War II when sugar became rationed. This resulted in Valentine day celebrations being scaled back. Today however, More than 35 million heart shaped boxes will be sold around the world on Valentines day. 



Cocoa Box Strawberry Tart






It’s chocolate week and WE LOVE CHOCOLATE!


To celebrate we are offering an exclusive 2 for 1 on our 2 hour chocolate making workshops.


We are also running some delicious packages for Christmas parties and corporate events.


Let The Cocoa Box be your sweet host!


Please email
pipe trufflesChocolate whiskget creative


theobroma cacoa tree tobago [Desktop Resolution]

Fun at one of our Team building corporate events Fun at one of our Team building corporate events

hand made truffles







Handmade chocolate



Why chocolate is so great

BY LISA HANLON – ( I wrote this a few years ago for iVillage)

chocolateI am a woman with needs and desires. I’m not obsessed with chocolate but I think I may need it and I certainly desire it. I have worked with chocolate for many years. I am a trained chocolatier. I know that makes me sound quite posh but, quite frankly, it just gives me a great excuse to eat more than the perceived ‘normal’ amount.

Chocolate has definitely become more fashionable over the past few years. We are a lot more aware of what goes into our chocolate. Most people when asked their favourite chocolate will say ‘Green and Blacks’, ‘Lindt’ or ‘Devine’.

They may claim they never eat anything with less than 70 per cent Cocoa. It’s a rare and beautiful thing when someone around the dinner table admits they love a chunky KitKat over a tiny piece of high quality dark chocolate.

Chocolate and health

Don’t get me wrong. I am one of the 70 per cent crowd. I know the health benefits of good quality dark chocolate. The higher the percentage of cocoa in chocolate the less sugar it contains. Chocolate contains vitamins and minerals, it contains phenylethylamine ( the same chemical released as when you are in love) and also contains good fat, cocoa butter and Iron.

In fact, good quality chocolate has more antioxidants than red wine and green tea. If you are a chocolate connoisseur you may wish to only eat chocolate from single origin or single estate chocolates. It’s like having single malt whiskey.

Tasting with five senses

Although most of us can’t help but eat chocolate quickly, with a bit of will power you can actually prolong the pleasure. Here are the five senses tasting techniques:

We eat with our eyes as the saying goes. Take the time to look at your chocolate. Does it have a gloss or sheen? This signals that the cocoa mass (cocoa butter) has been well-tempered, (cooled down in a controlled manor) moulded and cooled.

Does the chocolate have a wonderful aroma? This is a good sign of the percentage of the cocoa and quality of the roast. Single origin chocolates tend to have a delicious smokiness that a lesser quality chocolate lacks.

Is it a well-balanced taste? Does it have the right degree of sweetness? Is it slightly bitter? All these answers are indications of the quality of the chocolate, the percentage of cocoa and degree of roasting.

Chocolate should be smooth and silky. Is the surface slightly rough? Does it begin to melt as soon at you touch it? This should enable you to judge the cocoa butter content.

When you break a piece of chocolate do you hear a ‘snap’ or does it break silently? In s perfect world you want the combination of the two. A pronounced ‘snap’ could mean the chocolate is too cold to be sampled under optimum conditions

All chocolate comes from the cocoa bean. All cocoa beans come from the cocoa pod and all cocoa pods grow on the Theobroma Cacao tree. Harvesting is done by hand from May to December of every year.

The cocoa beans are scooped out of the pod and left to ferment. They are then dried and gently roasted to bring out the flavour. A process called winnowing is used to break down the cocoa beans so you are left with cocoa nibs. They then use a process called conching. This compresses the nibs so the cocoa butter is extracted in a liquid form.

Then it’s the tempering and forming of chocolate. The conched chocolate mass is tempered and moulded into bulk bars (depending on the manufacturers).

Things you may or may not know about chocolate

– There is no proven link between spots and chocolate. Just ask a dermatologist.
– Years ago, chocolate symbolised fertility, health, life and wealth.
– The cocoa bean was one of the first forms of currency.
– Frys was the first company to introduce chocolate bars in the UK.

So next time you get the urge to unwrap a piece of heaven you can sit back and do the five sense test. Or you can think, ‘stuff it’ and eat the whole lot in one go! As long as we have chocolate in the world I’ll be happy.

bbc 1


I am delighted to be returning to Birmingham for this Summers BBC Good Food show.

This is from my time in London/Birmingham last year.

As you may know (ahem) due to the fact I’m always banging on about it – I film recipes for Tesco Real Food.

I really enjoy the whole process so when I was asked to demo recipes at the BBC Good Food show I jumped at the chance.

I will admit I was a bit nervous as I wasn’t really sure what to expect.


I have presented in stores such as John Lewis for the Cocoa Box but as I was in my comfort zone it wasn’t a problem.

However, I had an absolute blast and the ‘crowd’ were great. Really enthusiastic and asked lots of questions.

I’m going to be in Birmingham for a week and I have lot’s of great Tesco Real Food recipes for you . Please come along and say hello if you are going.

Lisa x


I had four demo’s a day and this one is my favourite:

bbc 3

Chicken and prawn Pad Thai

  • 3tbsp tamarind paste
  • 3tbsp Thai fish sauce
  • 3tbsp light muscovado sugar
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 2tbsp vegetable or sunflower oil
  • 2 medium eggs, beaten
  • 2 skinless chicken breasts, very finely sliced
  • 200g (7oz) raw prawns, shelled and patted dry
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • pinch of chilli powder or 1 shredded fresh chilli
  • 1 x 31g pack coriander, stalks finely chopped
  • bunch spring onions, shredded
  • 100g (3½oz) beansprouts
  • handful roasted peanuts, roughly chopped
  • lime wedges, to serve

Combine the tamarind, fish sauce, sugar and lime juice with 1 tbsp water and set aside.

Heat a large wok or non-stick frying pan over a high heat. Add 1 tsp oil, then pour in the egg. Swirl around the pan to make a thin omelette, cook for 30 seconds until dry, then slide out of the pan onto a chopping board. Roll the omelette up, then slice finely. Set aside.

Add 2 tsp oil to the wok and stir-fry the chicken for about 5 minutes, until golden and cooked through. Tip onto a plate. Add the prawns to the pan, cook for about 3 minutes or until they are completely pink and turning golden, then return the chicken to the pan.

Tip in the garlic, chilli coriander stalks and half the spring onions. Cook for 1 minute until fragrant, then tip everything back onto the plate.

Heat the final 1 tbsp oil in the wok, then add the noodles and beansprouts. Stir-fry for 2 minutes until the noodles have separated and everything is heated through. Add the chicken prawns and the tamarind sauce. Toss with the noodles until well coated. To serve, scatter over the roasted peanuts, remaining spring onions, coriander leaves and lime wedges, if you like.


If you prefer, you can make this with tofu instead of chicken. Cut it into cubes and fry until golden in step 3.



I had a fantastic time at the opening of The Ideal Home Show 2013.
The show is huge and I would recommend taking two days to make sure you get to see everything on offer.
It was my first time hosting the Ideal Home Seasonal Cookery Theatre so I was nervous and excited.
My role on the day is to introduce the Chefs to the audience and chat with them on stage about the recipes they are making.
I’m normally the one doing the cooking so it was great fun to chat and watch for a change.
All the chefs hand picked their favorite recipe from the Ideal Home Seasonal cook book.
The book is well written and packed with beautiful photographs. I highly recommend it!
First on stage was Tom and Henry Herbert, otherwise known as the Fabulous Baker Brothers.
They have a new show on C4 and I am a big fan of their work. They were doing a ‘cook along’ with Melinda Messenger ( who is as pretty as a doll BTW)
The boys were super friendly and great fun to be around.
Tom and I started following each other on twitter and I may attend one of his baking master classes.
The highlight of my day was working with the legend that is Aldo Zilli. He has been cooking for over 25 years and still has a passion for good food.
Aldo was charming and funny and a real hit with the crowd.
I must say I also enjoyed meeting Lilly Simpson from the detox kitchen as well.
I did, however  hide the rather large slice of cake I had swiped from Aldo’s last demo!
Lilly is all about tasty, healthy, easy to make food and it was great to chat with her about clean living.
In fact I’m off to the gym now ( after the chocolate croissant has gone down….)

I’m looking forward to my next day hosting.


I love living in North London and was delighted to take part in a little interview with a fantastic magazine called LivingNorth.

interview 1

Lisa x


pipe truffles

Talk from professional chocolatier on:
health benefits of chocolate
process from bean to bar – how chocolate is made and where it comes from
Demonstrations on making your own centre for the chocolates – using fresh cream and melted dark chocolate

truffles lady
each guest will make a centre
demonstration on how to pipe the mixture
each guest will pipe the mixture
Demonstration on how to enrobe the centres
each guest will enrobe
demonstration on decoration techniques

hand made t
each guest will make around 25 chocolates


bags and ribbon to package chocolates
big bags and recipes sheet to take home



So you think men wouldn’t enjoy a cupcake decoration class? Or A chocolate class?


Think again my friend, think again….

couple 2 couple 1 couple 3 couple 4

couple 6  couple 7 couple 9  c 9

C15 C14 C13 C12

So there…

Lisa x


Can you BELIVE it’s nearly EASTER?????


Wasn’t it Christmas 2 seconds ago? Well the good news is it means better weather is on the way. Lets face it, by better weather I mean

it just wont be as dark or as cold.

We are running FANTASTIC EASTER cupcake decoration classes in London this year so do make sure you email us and book on.

It would be great to see you and eat some cake together! 🙂


Easter is a time to celebrate and less face it, a time to enjoy the sweet things in life.

I made butterfrosting the *usual way but I did add 5 table spoons of double cream. ( 250g butter, 250g icing sugar, vanilla) I used a mini cream egg as a topping. Happy Easter!

Line a muffin tray with cupake cases

EASTER 2  easter 4


250g softened butter

250g caster sugar

4 eggs

1 tablespoon cocoa powder

3 teaspoons vanilla extract

225g self-raising flour

6 tablespoons milk – room temperature

In a bowl mix together vanilla,  butter and sugar until it is light and fluffy. Really beat it until it is as light as a feather.

Gradually add the eggs until they are all beaten in.  I would do this one at a time.

Add the cocoa powder to the flour the flour and sift into the mixture

Add the milk slowly until it makes a smooth batter. You are looking for a ‘dropping’ consistency.

Pipe or spoon into cupcake/muffin cases. Bake for 18 -20 minutes on 160.