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Cocoa Cabana Reviewed

Anna Carruthers finds heaven in West Didsbury

Written by . Published on August 18th 2014.

Cocoa Cabana Reviewed

SARAH Gallacher is quite frankly having a brilliant year.

Based in West Didsbury, her chocolate shop is increasingly attracting attention for its mouth-watering truffles, brownies and hot chocolates and rightly so.

"Quite possibly the greatest brownies in Manchester. Have one and it will ruin you for all others"

Having already won the Inspiring Women Award in May of this year, Sarah Gallacher has now gone one step further by following up last year’s success at the Great Taste Awards with another two wins in this year’s competition.

Photo 3 %281%29Cocoa Cabana

Sarah gave us the rundown on what makes this competition so highly regarded.

“The Great Taste Award is a yearly award and they judge based on taste, no packaging and they don’t know who sent in the product. You just send in however many products you want to be judged and then each product is judged by twelve judges.”

“You can get one, two or three stars and they’re quite coveted. They don’t just give them away. In terms of your product, it’s basically a sign that your product is of good quality and it’s been judged by food critics and people in the food industry who know what they’re talking about.”

Green Tea Margarita and Thailand were the two truffles to receive the honour of carrying the Great Taste logo with the former receiving one star and the latter two. Last year’s honoured truffle was the Salted Caramel, a firm customer favourite.

Photo 2

Afternoon Tea can be made to order

Right next to the Burton Road Metrolink stop, Cocoa Cabana is a hidden delight that has proved to be a hit with the locals. The quaint little shop is a treasure trove of chocolate treats adorning every surface.

The small size means there’s only room for two tables but it’s certainly worth stopping by for a takeaway coffee or hot chocolate. The shop uses Hasbean coffee ground on site and has a wide selection of hot chocolates.

But the real stars of the show are the truffles and the brownies, which often combine unusual flavours or textures.

It was certainly the first time we’d ever had jam inside a truffle when we gave the Manchester Tart truffle a try. The raspberry jam complemented the coconut outer layer perfectly and certainly achieved Sarah’s aim of recreating the local classic.

She explained that the idea came, “through wanting to do something about Manchester. People are proud of Manchester. I’m not from Manchester so I thought it was important."

Our favourite truffle was last year’s recipient of the one star Great Taste Award, the delectable salted caramel. Bitter on the outside but with a sweet centre we were hooked instantly. It’s easy to see why it is Sarah’s best seller.

Img_0281The Salted Caramel Truffle

We were less taken with the Thailand truffle which was both sweet and savoury at the same time and had a strong spicy taste. However, what didn’t work for us certainly seems to do so for others as the truffle received two stars from the Great Taste judges and has sold out numerous times.

Img_0280The two star Thai truffle

Sarah explained the inspiration behind this high-flying product.

“I went to Thailand in January - I love Thailand - and took a cookery course and just got completely caught up in Thailand again. When I came back I wanted to create a truffle that made you think of Thailand when you ate it. Inside it is coconut, lime, lemongrass and chilli, and on the outside it’s chocolate and peanut.”

Utilising her loyal regulars Sarah often asks for feedback when experimenting with a new recipe. In the case of the Thailand truffle she changed the type of chopped peanut used following customer recommendations.

As well as truffles, Sarah also sells quite possibly the greatest brownies in Manchester. Have one and it will ruin you for all others.

With optional salted caramel topping these brownies taste like a combination of sticky toffee pudding and a Galaxy caramel (£2 each).

Soft, chewy and best eaten with a fork rather than your hands, these brownies are heaven on earth. And that’s only a slight exaggeration.


Can I have them all?

Cocoa Cabana has been warmly embraced by the residents of West Didsbury.

“They’ll really support you. They’ll come in and they’ll ask for a different flavour or they’ll say “well you changed that and we don’t like it”. It’s good.”


Some of the other treats

Sarah revealed that she has plans to expand although that's for the future. The ethos of the chocolates being handmade on site would be retained and Sarah has no plans to go down the chain route.

Cocoa Cabana may yet receive even more good news as Sarah is a finalist in the Enterprise Vision Awards and has been approached by BBC’s Dragons Den to appear on the show.

Either way, I’ll be back for more chocolate. 


Cocoacabana, 128 Burton Road, West Didsbury, M20 1JQ. 0161 282 5700

Rating: 18/20

PLEASE NOTE: Venues are rated against the best examples of their kind: fine dining against the best fine dining, cafes against the best cafes. Following on from this the scores represent: 1-5 saw your leg off and eat it, 6-9 get a DVD, 10-11 if you must, 12-13 if you’re passing, 14-15 worth a trip, 16-17 very good, 18 exceptional, 19 pure quality, 20 perfect. More than 20, we get carried away


128 Burton Road, West Didsbury, Manchester, M20 1JQ

Tel: 0161 282 5700


Twitter: @Cocoa_Cabana

You can follow Anna Carruthers on @AnnaECarruthers

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SquirrelitoAugust 18th 2014.

more of an interview than a review

NazcaAugust 18th 2014.

Who supplies the brownies for Rosie's in Hayfield? Much better IMO.

Alice McEnnerneyAugust 18th 2014.

The best hot chocolate i have EVER tasted!!

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