Bean to Bar – Meet London’s Single Origin Chocolate Pioneer

01.23.18 | By
Bean to Bar – Meet London’s Single Origin Chocolate Pioneer

Phil Landers makes single origin chocolate from an old furniture workshop in London’s Bethan Green. “My earliest memory of chocolate is my dad telling me off for eating too much,” says the founder of Land Chocolate. Having spent most of his twenties working for the BBC and eating too much low-quality chocolate, a trip to Central America changed everything.

“The whole chocolate thing was never in the plan, it was just one of those things that happened by chance, but it became one of those obsessive things that I wanted to do. Nothing was going to stop me.”

Having learnt the basics in Central America, Phil honed his craft with chocolatiers like Paul A Young and the Mast Brothers and then set up on his own in 2016 in an old furniture makers workshop in Bethnal Green.

Today, Phil buys cocoa beans from Honduras and Nicaragua, paying more than twice what even FairTrade demands, to make a range of single origin and single bean bars. “Without the farmers, there aren’t chocolate makers, and unfortunately I think the importance of them has been lost along the way.” The price of his award-winning chocolate reflects its quality. “I want to make people question what they’re eating – in a positive way,” he says. “With this chocolate, you have to treat it like you’re tasting a wine, and you’ll get these incredible flavours coming through.”

Land Chocolate is still a ‘one-man show,’ with every part of the process carried out under one roof. “It is a labor love – you have to strive to be the best at every stage of the process,” says the man who carefully hand-folds every piece of chocolate into its foil wrapper. “It’s not a very glamorous job. As much as people would love to think it’s like ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,’ it’s so far removed it’s unbelievable!”

Special thanks to William Scothern for the video.

Katie Treggiden is a purpose-driven journalist, author and, podcaster championing a circular approach to design – because Planet Earth needs better stories. She is also the founder and director of Making Design Circular, a program and membership community for designer-makers who want to join the circular economy. With 20 years' experience in the creative industries, she regularly contributes to publications such as The Guardian, Crafts Magazine and Monocle24 – as well as being Editor at Large for Design Milk. She is currently exploring the question ‘can craft save the world?’ through an emerging body of work that includes her fifth book, Wasted: When Trash Becomes Treasure (Ludion, 2020), and a podcast, Circular with Katie Treggiden.