...there's both eatin' and drinkin' in it

Let There Be Chocolate And Giveaways

Picture the scene. Willy Wonka leads you into the heart of his fabled chocolate factory, his instructions as follows:

Hold your breath. Make a wish. Count to three.

You’d probably wish for a lot of chocolate, right? At least that’s what I’d wish for under the circumstances. In any case, it turns out that we’re both in luck because there will be lots of chocolate on the streets of Dublin when the Temple Bar Chocolate Festival hits town on Friday October 30th, for what is shaping up to be three days of serious cocoa action.

Temple Bar Chocolate Festival

The detailed programme has just been published and I am already loosening a few notches on my belt in anticipation: truffle making, chocolate tasting, chocolate stout tasting, a screening of the original Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory and a Chocolate Fair in Meeting House Square on the Sunday, with more chocolate than you could hope to shake a stick at. Some events are free but do require advance booking – the folks in the Temple Bar Cultural Information Centre [ph. 01 888 3610] can help you out with that. There’s no need to book for Sunday’s Chocolate Fair, though, it’s free and open to all comers.

Better still, the Temple Bar Cultural Trust have kindly offered Spud readers two pairs of tickets to attend a talk by Willie Harcourt-Cooze, which takes place at 2.30pm on Saturday October 31st in the Button Factory in Temple Bar. Willie should be familiar to folks on this side of the pond following the Channel 4 series, Willie’s Wonky Chocolate Factory, which followed his exploits in setting up a chocolate factory in Devon.

Willies Chocolate Factory Cookbook

By now I realise that legions of you are cursing at your screens because you have no hope of attending the festival or the talk, so, in an attempt to make it up to you, there will also be two copies of Willie’s Chocolate Factory Cookbook up for grabs, which, if you should win, will be sent to you, wherever you’re at.

So let me know in the comments if you want your name in the hat for a copy of the book, a pair of tickets for the talk, or both. I’ll leave this open until midnight GMT on October 26th and let the winners know thereafter. In the meantime, you’d best get your festival training underway with some chocolate+chocolate+chocolate biscuit cake. It’s the stuff that chocolate dreams are made of.

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Roly’s Chocolate Biscuit Cake

Chocolate Biscuit Cake

First I should explain the theory behind chocolate biscuit cake (for those untutored in these matters): melt lots of chocolate, add in some broken digestive biscuits, leave to set. Couldn’t be simpler, really. If you’re in the US and don’t know what a digestive biscuit is, think graham cracker.

This recipe below is the Roly’s Bistro version, taken from my recently acquired Zest! cookbook. The original recipe topped the chocolate/biscuit mixture off with some chocolate icing. I skipped that part, however, figuring that I already had quite enough chocolate to be going on with. Instead, I sprinkled some nice salt on top of the biscuit cake and that was a fine addition.

As you can see, this contains a humungous amount of chocolate. The original recipe stated that this amount would make dessert for 10-12 people. I would say that you could feed many more than that, as it is unashamedly rich. You could easily make half this amount and still keep yourself in chocolate biscuit cake for days. The other thing to say, of course, is that because this is mostly just chocolate, the quality of the chocolate really matters. I used a mixture of Lindt and Green & Black’s chocolate bars for this.

The Summary:

  • If you cut the slab into pieces measuring roughly 3cm x 3cm, you’ll get around 45 little chocolate biscuit cubes; takes approx. 20 min to prep + 2 hours to set

You’ll need:

  • 400g milk chocolate
  • 250g dark chocolate
  • 200g white chocolate
  • 150g unsalted butter
  • 275g golden syrup
  • 275g digestive biscuits
  • some good quality salt, such as fleur de sel, to sprinkle on top (optional)

You’ll also need:

  • A large heatproof bowl for melting the chocolate mixture plus some kind of baking tray or dish to hold the chocolate biscuit mixture while it sets. I used a 28cm x 18cm x 3cm baking tin, which was just about big enough to hold this amount.

The Steps:

  • Line your dish or tray with greaseproof or parchment paper.
  • Break each digestive biscuit into 3 or 4 pieces.
  • Break all of the chocolate into very small pieces or chop finely.
  • Cut the butter into small pieces.
  • Place your heatproof bowl over a pot of hot (but not simmering) water and over a very low heat. Add the golden syrup and butter.
  • Once the butter has started melting, stir in the chocolate pieces and, stirring constantly, allow the whole mixture to melt together gently.
  • Remove from the heat as soon as the chocolate has melted. Add the biscuit pieces and stir to combine.
  • Fill your dish or tray with the chocolate biscuit mixture and, if you like, sprinkle with fleur de sel or other salt flakes.
  • Allow to set in the fridge for about 2 hours, then cut into slices of whatever size and shape you desire.

The Variations:

  • For some reason, I fancy adding some very finely grated or juiced fresh ginger to this.


  1. Jamie

    Oh, I must win the chocolate cookbook! Wow! And how I wish I could attend that chocolate-a-thon. Excellent! And do you really call that a cake? I call it a sin! Devilishly delish and decadent!

  2. Sofie

    I keep my fingers crossed for a copy of the book

  3. Daily Spud

    Lisa: delighted to say that your comment got through and your name is in the hat for the book – and I do appreciate that being in NZ is a pretty good excuse for not coming to the festival :)

    ikkinlala: Canadians are more than welcome to enter so you’re in, the more the merrier!

    Rachel / Crispy Cook: you’re in the draw and I will naturally have to call over to The Crispy Cook to see what cookbooks might be up for grabs over there :)

    Rachel N.: well, you’re now in with a chance at winning the book

    Zahra: the chance is yours :)

    Jamie: Yep, the term cake is very loosely applied in this case! I have also taken note of the fact that you must win the cookbook but shhhh, don’t tell anybody :D

    Sofie: you’re in with a shout, so keep those fingers crossed

  4. Romana

    Best wishes from Berlin, Germany
    I love chocolate and I would love to win a copy of this book. Fall and winter make me always want to try out new recipes.

    I also enjoy reading your blog!!!

  5. K.

    See, it’s festivals like this that make me regret moving from Ireland to the UK!

    I’m sort of signing up for both. The book would be for me, as a sort of consolation prize for not being in Dublin to attend the talk :) A friend of mine just had the most ridiculously stressful 2009 though. She’s missed out on all sorts of cake-related festivals and talks like this, and took only occasional breaks to bake with me when it all got super stressful.

    So, a copy of the book for me would be lovely and all, but now that she has some free time on her hands, can I enter for festival tickets on her behalf and give you her postal address if she wins?

    Thanks for the chance of a giveaway :) K.

  6. Alicia

    Best wishes from northwestern Ontario. I love chocolate and this recipe looks divine. I wonder what the rest of the recipes are like!! ;)

  7. Ung Chi Huor

    Fantastic cook book. Hopefully I’ll be the lucky one???

    Thanks for the great give away!

  8. Piroska

    I’d love, love, LOVE a chance to win the cookbook.
    Chocolate…is there anything better than that??

  9. Keosun

    Please enter me for this competition. I love have to win this cook book

  10. sunny

    this looks lovely! thanks for posting.
    please put me in for the book :)

  11. Daily Spud

    Romana: why thank you :) your name is now in the hat for the book

    K: no problem – you’re entered for both the book (for yourself) and the tickets (for your friend) – good luck!

    Alicia: I haven’t had a chance to look through the book myself, so I’m not sure what the recipes are like, but, with any luck, you’ll win and get to find out for yourself!

    Ung Chi Huor: who knows, you might just be one of the lucky ones :)

    Piroska: and so you will have your chance to win – chocolate is indeed a very fine thing :)

    Keosun: no problem, consider yourself entered

    sunny: thank you – you’re now in for the book

  12. Sam

    I gotta say that digestives are in no way comparable to Graham crackers. Lyles golden syrup or treacle I call it is defeniatley a must for this recipe. I see people have trouble finding the ingredients. I am lucky to have within about 30 of my house about five r six different places I can purchase mcvities biscuits and treacle. I <3 living in Canada

  13. emma

    This is delicious! It taste just like a twix!

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