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In conversation with Caro, Somerset

In conversation with Caro, Somerset

After our conversation with Mec Coffee in Cardiff,  we then brought our search a little closer to home.  This led us to our lovely friends at Caro, Somerset, run by Natalie Jones.  Caro is a beautiful shop on Bruton high street, a B&B and event space. We worked with Nathalie last year, providing some stunning, bespoke flavoured chocolate bars for her business that now sit proudly in the shop, online and on the shelf. Not only are they beautiful but we can confidently say that they're delicious too!

I sat down with Natalie and asked her some questions about the importance of independent business and the creative process involved with creating a bespoke chocolate collection for her brand.

Dani: What is Caro and what do you do?

Natalie: Caro is a brand for life and home. Based in Bruton, Somerset, we have a store, B&B and event space where we host workshops as well as photoshoots - the light is so fantastic in there. 

Dani: Why is quality especially important to an independent retailer?

Natalie: Our ethos at Caro is rooted in creating a life that is considered, thoughtful but also approachable and enriching. Quality is the embodiment of this sentiment, not necessarily meaning expensive but well made and designed well. Independent businesses have to fight hard for a slice of the retail-pie so it's important to offer something that customers can rely on in terms of how they're made and where they come from.

Dani: What made you want to create own brand chocolate?

Natalie: Firstly, who wouldn't want their own chocolate bar!? Secondly, Caro is a place for our local residents as well as those travelling from afar. Taste is such a powerful sense and brings an immediate smile to someone's face. It is a pleasure to offer our visitors something so tasty which they can easily take back home with them, in a suitcase or in their handbag - a taste of the countryside!

Dani: How has your own brand chocolate been received?

Natalie: I think it's our best seller instore so that's saying a lot! We always have a few broken pieces of chocolate on the counter for visitors to try which seems to win their hearts. We've noticed that once people had has a taste, they can't help but add it to their basket of goodies!

Dani: How did you find the creative process working with The Chocolate Society?

Natalie: Working with The Chocolate Society was exceptional. From discussing flavours, to testing, packaging and delivery, the experience was fluid, thorough, welcoming and most of all fun. Alistair is a chocolate connoisseur!

Dani: Can you explain why collaboration between independent retailers is so important to you?

Natalie: Collaborating with independent retailers is really rewarding. Not only does it encourage ideas but it creates a community. Your customers are likely to enjoy other brands that you partner because they are likeminded in their creative output, their values and their service. It's a way of introducing your following to someone else's like introducing two of your best friends!

Dani: Finally, what's your favourite flavour and why? 

Natalie: My favourite is the pine, black pepper and cocoa nibs. It has layers of flavour and is delicious with a cup of tea or a swig of whiskey.

To get in touch with us about creating your own bespoke chocolate bars, email us at hi@chocolate.co.uk or give us a call on 01963 824366.

To get in touch with Caro, Somerset, please contact them via their Instagram.

Instagram:@carosomerset

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International Women's Day - Box of the Month - March 2020

International Women's Day - Box of the Month - March 2020

This month, we saw International Women's Day burst into the spotlight once more, raising the voices of women across the globe.

You might not have realised as you tuck into this month's box of chocolates, that we've done something very special behind the scenes.

In honour of International Women's Day, we chose to honour the women in our team, without whom we simply wouldn't be where we are today. We took all of the women of The Chocolate Society out for coffee.  We discussed the women who made us who we are, and how we'd most like to honour them.  We decided to devote March's Box of the Month to the women who inspire us, today, and every day thereafter.  

Let me introduce you to the team and their creations...

Top row, left to right: Mother Murray, Pamela Eve, The Royal Marsden. Bottom row, left to right: Number 26, The Blank Canvas, Myrtle House

Mother Murray - Created by Shelley

Shelley works in production and designed the Mother Murray in honour of her good friend, Mrs Murray. One layer of vanilla and brandy white chocolate ganache, and one layer of coffee milk ganache, all generously enrobed in dark chocolate. When Shelley moved to Dorset Mrs Murray soon became a second mum. Shelley has always admired her incredible strength of character and ability to tackle whatever life throws at her but most of all her desire to stand up for those who are most vulnerable. As such, her flavours are strong yet smooth, perfectly brought together with some feisty spirit...

Pamela Eve - Created by Sarah

Sarah works in production and designed the Pamela Eve, inspired by her amazing grandmother. It’s a lavender and rose infused milk ganache, generously enrobed in the most decadent milk chocolate. Sarah’s chocolate is a nostalgic nod to how Pamela Eve taught all of her grandchildren the true meaning of unconditional love. Sarah is now lucky enough to live in her Grandmother’s house, where the roses and lavender that Pamela planted still thrive.

In Sarah’s words ‘If I am ever a grandma, Pamela Eve is the Grandma I want to be’.

The Royal Marsden - Created by Alison

Ali works in accounts and designed The Royal Marsden, inspired by her Mum. A dairy-free delight, dark chocolate raspberry ganache, sumptuously enrobed in the smoothest dark chocolate. Ali’s Mum grew up on a dairy farm, but when her Mum fell ill and was advised to go dairy-free, the whole family followed suit. With a country garden full of raspberries, Ali created a chocolate that the whole family could enjoy. Happily, Ali’s Mum was given the all-clear from the Royal Marsden Hospital, London.

Number 26 - Created by Dani

Dani works in sales and marketing and designed the Number 26 in honour of her Granny and long-term confidant.  The Number 26. is a perfectly sweet blonde chocolate shell, fit to burst with a tarte, pineapple caramel, for a fruity flavour sensation. Inspired by her late grandmother who lived at Number 26, on every visit down to the west country to visit her grandchildren, Eileen would bring a perfectly ripe pineapple, super sweet and delicious. It continues to be Dani’s favourite food.

The Blank Canvas - Created by Charlotte

Char manages the factory and designed The Blank Canvas, inspired by a new year and an opportunity for self-improvement. It’s a dark chocolate and violet liqueur ganache, encased in a rich, dark chocolate shell, hand-painted by Char herself. As a developing artist, florist and harpist, Char wanted to represent her intention to embrace opportunity throughout the year and to develop her hobbies and creative potential – starting with hand-painting each and every chocolate!

Myrtle House - Created by the Garnsworthys

A nod to where it all began.  Al and Duncan Garnsworthy are the brothers behind the business, so inspired by their Mum, we developed the Myrtle House. A honeycomb and almond praline, nestled in a hand-decorated, glossy milk chocolate shell. Myrtle House was where Al and Duncan returned to their Mum in Somerset to learn how to make honeycomb 10 years ago and Dee’s hob is still used to make our honeycomb in the factory today!

Not only is our chocolate delicious, but it's made by real people with real stories, and it's a total privilege to be able to share them with you. 

To taste it for yourself, the March Box of the Month is available to order here.

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The best hot chocolate in Cardiff - Mec Coffee

The best hot chocolate in Cardiff - Mec Coffee

We’ve been reaching out to some of our favourite coffee shops. First in line was Mec Coffee in Cardiff which has been on our list for a while. They’ve been using our Hot Chocolate Shaker to make their incredible hot chocolate for some months now. We thought it was about time we checked in to see how they were getting on, and if they agree that hot chocolate really is better shaken, not stirred.

Dani works in Sales & Marketing and asked Will, the manager of Mec Coffee, some questions about the coffee shop, the coffee, the staff and of course, how they’re getting on with their shakers in a busy café.

Dani: Tell us all about you and your coffee shop - how did it all start and what inspired you to do what you do?

Will: Mec was set up by three close friends with a shared love of coffee. Our aim was to bring the best possible coffee to the already rich coffee scene of Cardiff. Will, the manager has been running coffee shops since 2011, Luke is the editor of Standart magazine, a specialty coffee magazine with a global readership, and Sabine is doing a PHD in Anthropology focusing on specialty coffee in Brazil... so we’re pretty into coffee.

Dani: How did you hear about The Chocolate Society and our Hot Chocolate Shaker?

Will: Eddie at Round Hill Roastery recommended you guys to us, we were relieved to have a recommendation from such a trusted source!

Dani: How have you found the shaker and how do your customers react to it?

Will: People usually react in a kind of “what are you doing with that cocktail shaker?!” way. Often seeing one be made sparks interest in it and people order one, so I often find making one hot chocolate leads to making two or three!

Dani: What’s the best creation you’ve made with your shaker? (for yourself or for a customer!)

Will: I really like the dark chocolate with Oatly Barista oat milk. It’s really creamy and delicious and the slight ‘oaty’ taste works well with the dark chocolate.

Dani: Do you agree that hot chocolate should be shaken, not stirred?

Will: Duh.

You can find Mec Coffee on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter:

  • Insta: @mec.coffee
  • Facebook: @mec.cardiff
  • Twitter: @meccoffeeltd

If you run a busy café and think the shaker could work for you – drop us a line at hi@chocolate.co.uk or give us a call on 01963 824366.

All images courtesy of Mec Coffee

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Branded Corporate Gifts

Branded Corporate Gifts

We’re sure you already know that we’re experts in chocolate, but what you probably didn’t know is that we also provide branded corporate gifts, the perfect little extras for your marketing events, client ‘thankyous’ or promotional giveaway ideas.

There’s nothing to dislike.  It’s excellent quality chocolate in beautiful, branded packaging.  You tell us the numbers, we’ll send you a packaging net for you to design so it’s exactly on brand, and we’ll do the rest.  Any of our edible products can be corporately branded to suit you, and whatever idea you have in mind, we’re happy to chat and make it happen.

Libraries of chocolate in a book box?  No problem.

Ribboned bundles of chocolate bars in branded colours? No problem.

Bespoke artwork printed across our chocolate bars? No problem.

That’s not all, if you’re looking to deliver the best corporate gifts in the business, why not offer your clients or customers a unique taste of nostalgia with a chocolate hamper? Let us know your budget and your likes and dislikes, we’ll rustle up some delicious hamper ideas for you to choose from and enjoy. In our packaging or yours, they’ll be equally delicious! 

In the past we’ve worked with lots of people, from English flagship stores and art galleries, iconic fashion brands, huge corporate players all the way to bespoke honeycombs for quaint, rural farm shops.  We love working with you and making your ideas a reality is what we love, so please don’t hesitate to get in touch and we’ll be happy to help.

We’re a small company who work closely with our printers and suppliers, so we can be reactive to your requests and be flexible, working with you to make it possible to give you exactly what you want, when you want it.

Simply give us a call or email us at hi@chocolate.co.uk

The sky’s the limit.

 

Image courtesy of : 

https://www.lyst.com/data/chocolate-bar-designs-fashion-brands/

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Valentine's Day - Why Choose Chocolate?

It seems almost a given that we’ll give or receive chocolate on Valentine’s Day, and noone’s complaining, but few of us have put the chocolate box down long enough to wonder why. As the shops flood with heart-shaped confectionaries, shelves are lined with everything from the edible to the unspeakable. We began to question why chocolate held such a firm grip on Valentine’s tradition and honestly, it goes way back.

As far back as the 15th century, the Aztecs made important links between love, desire and chocolate. Back in 2006, the New York Times stated that historic emperor Montezuma was known to eat cocoa beans as if they were sweets in order to “fuel his romantic trysts”. It’s already beginning to add up…

Even the Greeks agreed.  Chocolate comes from the cocoa tree, which is also known as the Theobromo Cacoa.  In Greek, this translates to ‘food for the gods’. We can’t say we disagree.

Each Valentine’s week, we buy over 58 million pounds of chocolate and if we dig a little deeper, it becomes obvious why chocolate is the gift that keeps on giving. Chocolate contains tryptophan and phenylthylamine, two chemicals which affect the brain’s pleasure and reward centres, though there has always been some discussion about their significance within chocolate we think the experience of eating good quality chocolate speaks for itself, a pleasure and a reward by nature!

Historically speaking, the reign of chocolate continued without pause. In Victorian England, chocolate became a common connector to love and the art of seduction.  Men were able to demonstrate their taste and expertise when choosing the ‘right’ box for a particular lady friend, much like we would spend time choosing a bottle of wine today.  The seductive allure of chocolate was such an acknowledged force, that some Victorian etiquette books go as far as to warn women against accepting chocolate as a gift from anyone they were not engaged to!

At around the same time, Richard Cadbury took the chocolate world by storm, finding a way to make chocolate bars that were delicious and economical. Previously only the elite could treat their loved ones, but suddenly, Cadbury produced chocolate that was available to the masses. Everyone could treat their loved ones to a little luxury.  As Cadbury’s popularity steadily grew, his next step was to create beautifully shaped boxes of chocolates, Richard himself designed beautiful illustrations and decorated the boxes with roses and cupid. The boxes were marketed as dual purpose. They were too pretty to dispose of, so once the chocolates were finished, it was suggested that they were used to keep locks of hair and love letters! Adopted as a ‘giftable’ symbol of romance, the chocolate gift exploded in popularity.  Cadbury also expanded his offering and is credited as being the first to invent the heart-shaped box of chocolates which would change Valentine’s Day forever for future generations of lovers.

Chocolate is a powerful mood enhancer too. As a sweet, it’s an item most of us associate with childhood. Therefore, it harnesses a powerful nostalgia, a unique trait which allows us to recapture the delight of your first square of milk chocolate as a child.  There’s a striking amount of history surrounding chocolate and its significance to the cultural traditions of romantic gift giving.  People have been celebrating their significant others with chocolate for centuries and we can’t see that that will change.  If you can’t beat them, join them!

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A Busy Start to 2020 - A Factory Move and our Factory Shop Closure!

Happy New Year!

Many of you will know that we’ve been operating from our little factory in Holton for 7 years now but we’ve got some big news.

As we embrace 2020 with open arms, we are incredibly excited to announce that we have recently moved to larger premises, just down the road in Bruton. We loved Holton and thoroughly enjoyed meeting many of you as you popped in to say hello and browse the factory shop, but as a business, it’s exciting to see that we’re growing. 

With this in mind, the new premises in Bruton allows us the potential to keep growing, to grow our team and our capacity to chase relationships we could previously have only dreamed of. It’s an amazing opportunity for us, which we’re ready to embrace as a team.

However, this does mean that we have had to close the doors on the Factory Shop in Holton and we’re sorry that we didn’t get chance to warn you beforehand.

We’d love to reopen a factory shop in Bruton but for now, for health and safety reasons, we don’t have that option at our new site.  We’re looking into our options for the near future and we promise to keep you updated on any developments, watch this space!

For now though, sadly we don’t have a physical factory shop for you to visit, which is a shame because we love meeting the people who love our chocolate! That said, we’ve reopened our ‘Almost Perfect’ Factory Seconds page on our website and we’ll be updating the product listings every Friday from now on.

In summary, thank you.  From the bottom of my heart, thank you for supporting us and our venture and allowing us to grow. We’re so grateful and can’t wait for you taste our efforts!

Here’s to 2020. May it be healthy, happy and sweet.

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Hot Chocolate Shaker Recipes

Hot Chocolate Shaker Recipes

With our Hot Chocolate Shakers starting to make their way around the world, we thought it was the right time to release some recipes for your Hot Chocolate Shakers.

Here are the first few: Traditional Hot Chocolate, Mocha, Shorty Vegan Hot Chocolate, Multiple Hot Chocolates in One Shake, Set Hot Chocolate Dessert.

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The Independent's Indy/Best Best Buy - Our Box of the Month

The Independent's Indy/Best Best Buy - Our Box of the Month

Our Box of the Month makes The Independent's Indy/Best Best Buy Subscription Box!

Very excitingly, our Box of the Month has been selected by The Independent as their IndyBest Best Buy for the “best chocolate subscription boxes to satisfy all your chocolate needs”. For their research, they had the very unfortunate job of trying a whole host of chocolate subscription boxes, tasting and indulging some seriously delicious post to come up with their top 11 subscriptions on the market. 

Each month we work tirelessly to bring together a brand new and truly delicious box of the fresh chocolates, made using real herbs, spices and no preservatives for a truly clean and fresh delicious treat. We are elated that it has been recognised by IndyBest Best Buy as the top of the 11.

This July, the 18 chocolates in our Box of the Month are inspired by our favourite ice-cream and gelato flavours including Mint Choc Chip, Rum & Raisin and Stracciatella. The article describes our Box of the Month as a stylish letter-box friendly gift box tied with a white fabric ribbon making it ideal for gifts. Personally, we think chocolates through the letterbox is a no brainer, with each box contains a mixture of shiny colourful domes and chocolate squares, with either a ganache, caramel or praline centre, it’s brilliant that The Independent agree with us!

So thank you to The Independent for recognising our Box of the Month! We have a few July collections available, click here to order one whilst you still can.

 

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Win a Years Supply of Chocolate Bars

Win a Years Supply of Chocolate Bars

Suggest a flavour to win a years supply of bars!

We are very excited that later on this year we will be bringing you a whole host of new chocolate bars, fruit & nuts and other products to add to our range. 

With the new range, we wanted to give you the chance to win a years supply of chocolate bars, by letting us know what your ideal chocolate bar would be! 

All you need to do is comment below or email us through the contact page, with your ultimate flavour suggestion and the one we like the look of the most, we will develop and launch it as part of our range. If it's your bar which is selected, you'll receive 52 chocolate bars, enough for 1 a week for a whole year!

So please get creative, let us know what type of chocolate it would be, would it be milk chocolate? Dark, blonde or white? Would you add fruit or essential oils? Let us know! We're excited to get in your responses.

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