Fortnum's will be hosting a Harvest Week from 22-28 September in its flagship Piccadilly store in London’s West End, bringing together experts from the industry to talk about the joys, challenges and opportunities facing food and farming today.
WNWN, its CTO Dr Johnny Drain, and its in-house chocolatier will introduce its cocoa-free choc and explain how food technology can help build a more resilient and sustainable food system in the face of climate change.
“Fortnum’s is dedicated to the search for extraordinary food and drink experiences, and it just so happens that something extraordinary is happening right here in London in WNWN’s workshop,” said Hatty Cary, Fortnum’s Food & Drink Studio Producer. “Throughout our Harvest Week, we'll be examining the UK food system as it stands today and as it could be tomorrow, so it's great to be able to include a look at the possible future of chocolate.”
As reported by this publication, cocoa prices have risen over 66% in the UK and 46% in the US, in recent months, while cocoa suppliers and chocolate purveyors are increasingly being challenged on their environmental and human rights record.
EU deforestation ban
In the EU, a ban on cocoa and chocolate linked to deforestation took effect in June, while in the US, a federal lawsuit is calling for a block on imports of cocoa harvested by child labour. Globally, Starbucks is under fire for alleged repeated failures to address cocoa supply chain questions, while cocoa crops are also highly vulnerable to climate change, including rising temperatures and reduced rainfall, which has led experts to predict chocolate shortages in the coming years.
“Fortnum’s is an institution of good taste, and to be on their radar at all, let alone link up for this deep dive into food systems and sustainability, has been a great adventure,” said Drain. “For a retailer that’s been around since 1707, they are as forward-thinking and innovative as anyone in the industry, if not more.”
WNWN will hold two events on Thursday 28 September at 3 and 4 p.m. that include demonstrations and tastings. Drain, a world-renowned expert in fermentation and flavour, will also join Fortnum’s Monday events focusing on fermentation along with Douglas McMaster of Silo.