Willie’s Chocolate Revolution Review: Good Enough To Never Stop Eating
WILLIE’S CHOCOLATE REVOLUTION, Tuesday 7th April, Channel 4, 8.00PM Alert Me
Despite his ever so upper-middle class family ties, I have the greatest respect for Willie Harcourt-Cooze and his wife Tania Coleridge (direct descendent of Samuel Taylor Coleridge dontcha know). It is inspiring to see someone so utterly dedicated to realising their dream, a man who proves to the blasé naysayer that through hard graft and perserverance comes achievement and personal accomplishment.
In this, the second opportunity for Willie watching (no pun intended), Mr Harcourt-Cooze is trying to combat the British chocolate fallacy. What we in the UK have come to know as cocoa-licious confectionary would fail to qualify as “chocolate” on the continent. As Willie describes, it is little more than “milk, sugar and vegetable fat with a thin layer of chocolate coating”. What our real life Wonka wants to produce is a real chocolate bar – made with the best ingredients on the planet.
Willie’s arduous quest for success is presented with a unique brand of realism; the strain on his family life creates a lingering air of tension putting his emotional journey in context. Though wife Tania describes Willie as “a victim of his own success” given his hectic work schedule, Harcourt-Cooze makes it clear that despite a Channel 4 show and a line of Venezuelan Black chocolate selling well in Waitrose and Selfridges, the project is still very much a one man show where he cannot afford to pay others. But rather than wallow in self-pity, Willie is bolstered by his project and continues to keep his unfaltering eye on the prize. I swear he has “The Eye Of The Tiger” playing on his brain’s imaginary internal Ipod.
In order to develop his ready to eat chocolate bar, Willie must first combat the public misconceptions about how chocolate should taste. He recruits a group of chocoholics he cunningly dubs the “Cadbury Brigade” and arms them with a 70% ch0colate kit, to rely on when future cravings hit. The gourmet guinea pigs’ reaction to Willie’s raw product, range from mild discomfort to full-blown, vomit-worthy gurning and it becomes increasingly clear that, if the product is to remain as pure as nature (and Willie) intends, the flavour of the cacao beans is key.
Willie travels back to Venezuela to visit his plantation, and it is heart-warming to note that he truly does take care of his staff (at least on camera). He treats his team of hardworking harvesters to a Duck and Cacao Casserole followed by Eltazzuro Mousse Cake. By peppering the action with recipes, and straddling the boundaries of both “cookery show” and “documentary” not only is Willie providing a darker, saucier alternative to Jamie Oliver, he is also showing single women everywhere that you really can have chocolate in every meal!
And, he claims, it can actually help burn fat rather than cause fat. Yes you did just read that correctly. Fat burning chocolate exists – fact.
This USP-to-rival-no-other is far from mere myth, Willie conducts scientific tests alongside Physiology expert Dr Emma Ross at the University of Brunel and proves that, after a hearty swig of Willie’s hot chocolate drink (otherwise known as “rocket fuel” ) candidates perceived exercise to be easier, with positive effects on peformance across the board. Girls, we always knew the chocolate diet was out there, and Willie is the man to bring it to us.
For anyone who is tirelessly working towards their dream, Willie represents a welcome hero. As pints of Guinness everywhere have taught me, good things come to those who wait, and it won’t be long before Willie is reaping all the rewards of his toil.