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FROM THE PUBLISHERS OF<br />

2010<br />

We hope you enjoy your<br />

FREE treat size bar of our<br />

dark 70% chocolate.


OVERVIEW<br />

Welcome<br />

Producing a magazine<br />

focused solely on delicious<br />

confectionery is surely one<br />

of the easier tasks an editor<br />

can perform? Well, in actual<br />

fact, it has proved rather difficult as we<br />

try and break down the more complex<br />

issues surrounding the use of palm oil in<br />

chocolate and uncover why stocking<br />

Fairtrade is beneficial to both retailer<br />

and consumer.<br />

We have also been looking at how<br />

to conduct successful tastings in-store,<br />

while finding out the production<br />

process behind high quality chocolate.<br />

All of these articles will hopefully<br />

provide an insight into the latest<br />

industry developments, thus leaving<br />

you with a more informed and<br />

profitable business outlook.<br />

Louise Miles, Editor<br />

CONTENTS<br />

4. View From the Top<br />

A collection of interviews with some of the<br />

finest confectionery retailers in the industry<br />

6. It’s Tea Time!<br />

Katie Christoffers explores the growth of<br />

tea-infused chocolate<br />

8. The Golden Ticket<br />

How one person’s purchase will affect the<br />

price of confectionery in coming months<br />

10. Trade Secrets<br />

An insight into what savvy retailers have<br />

been selling and their trend predictions<br />

12. New Opportunities<br />

Paul Hargreaves reflects on the influx of<br />

new independent sweet shops<br />

14-17 A Nation Wrapped in <strong>Chocolate</strong><br />

A portfolio of leading chocolatiers<br />

including William Curly and Paul A Young<br />

18. A Year in <strong>Chocolate</strong><br />

Top dates for retailers’ diaries<br />

20.A Day in the Life of a Chocolatier<br />

Duffy Sheardown of Red Star <strong>Chocolate</strong>s<br />

details how to make quality chocolate on<br />

a small scale<br />

21. Sourcing Palm<br />

Is this ingredient really as bad as it seems?<br />

23. Blast from the Past<br />

Natasha Lovell-Smith looks at the<br />

increasing popularity of retro sweets<br />

26. <strong>Chocolate</strong> with a Conscience<br />

Why should independents should be<br />

stocking up on Fairtrade chocolate?<br />

28. Life is Sweet<br />

Kate Martin of Shingle and Sherbet reveals<br />

the secret to sweet business success<br />

30. A Modern Classic<br />

Louise Thomas looks at the emerging<br />

trend for sea salted chocolates<br />

32. The Dark Side<br />

Gary Parkinson discovers why dark<br />

chocolate sales are on the rise, despite<br />

the financial downturn<br />

33. <strong>Chocolate</strong> Unwrapped<br />

Sarah-Jane Evans explores the art of<br />

effective chocolate tasting<br />

Tasty Trends<br />

Looking for interesting lines to stock this<br />

season? Louise Miles identifies the latest<br />

delectables likely to fly off the shelves<br />

hilst eating sweets<br />

might be a quick<br />

W moment of pleasure<br />

for the consumer, choosing<br />

appropriate lines can be a<br />

lengthy and sometimes even<br />

political decision for the<br />

independent retailer. There are<br />

so many issues to consider, from<br />

ethical to fashionable – getting<br />

the balance right in-store can be<br />

a tough call. Will Torrent, a<br />

leading chocolatier, has likened<br />

these confectionery trends to the<br />

fashion world. “What is brilliant<br />

about chocolate, and food in<br />

general, is that it’s fashionable.<br />

The flavours and combinations<br />

go in and out of vogue all the<br />

time, but will always re-emerge<br />

with a hint of modern artisanal<br />

craft,” he says. To help with this<br />

timely matter, we have broken<br />

down the current key trends<br />

likely to be of interest to your<br />

customers, so you are always<br />

one step ahead.<br />

Healthy sweets<br />

In previous years, ‘healthy’ and<br />

‘sweets’ wouldn’t have featured<br />

in the same sentence. However,<br />

in recent times, the emergence<br />

of healthy alternatives are<br />

progressively making a mark.<br />

Melissa Burton, director for<br />

Goody Good Stuff agrees.<br />

“‘Healthy’ and ‘natural’ have<br />

continued to be key drivers in a<br />

wide range of food and drink<br />

sectors and I think they will<br />

come to the forefront to become a<br />

major focus in the confectionery<br />

sector as well.<br />

“Artificial flavours, colours and<br />

e numbers have long been a worry<br />

for consumers and in the coming<br />

years I expect consumers to<br />

increasingly find sweets with these<br />

synthetic additives unacceptable.<br />

The Goody Good Stuff range is<br />

Editor<br />

Louise Miles 01206 505971<br />

louise.miles@aceville.co.uk<br />

25 Phoenix Court, Hawkins Road,<br />

Colchester, Essex, CO2 8JY.<br />

Group Editor<br />

Nicola Whiteford 01206 505981<br />

nicola.whiteford@aceville.co.uk<br />

Features Writers<br />

Natasha Lovell-Smith 01206 508623<br />

natasha@aceville.co.uk<br />

Group Advertising Manager<br />

Sam Reubin 01206 505936<br />

sam.reubin@aceville.co.uk<br />

Advertising Executives<br />

Sian Boyd 01206 505934<br />

sian.boyd@aceville.co.uk<br />

Tim Wilby 01206 500240<br />

tim.wilby@aceville.co.uk<br />

made using natural fruit and<br />

vegetable juices and with a plantbased<br />

gelling agent, offering sweet<br />

lovers and those with specific<br />

dietary requirements a great<br />

tasting sweet without anything<br />

artificial,” says Ms Burton.<br />

Barry Tilley, md at the Original<br />

Candy Company, also believes that<br />

sweets with natural flavours are<br />

currently in demand. “For Original<br />

Candy in particular, we’ve<br />

benefited from consumers who<br />

more than ever opt for products<br />

that are stylish, natural, GM Free<br />

and have some real quality and<br />

provenance. I have seen from<br />

recent press that blackcurrants are<br />

now the new ‘superfruit’. And, our<br />

range of Chocca Mocca chocolates<br />

includes, blueberries, cranberries<br />

and blackcurrants – all now<br />

deemed superfruits – and<br />

smothered in delicious Chocca<br />

Mocca chocolate!”<br />

It seems a quality blend of<br />

fruits and herbs is very popular at<br />

the moment, and producers are<br />

keen to promote the internal<br />

benefits of this confectionery. One<br />

chocolatier who wants retailers and<br />

consumers to recognise that sweets<br />

are not always ‘bad for you’ is Paul<br />

Da-Costa-Greaves who produces<br />

the therapeutic chocolate line,<br />

Feeding Your Imagination (FYI).<br />

The FYI range incorporates a<br />

number of bars including Lovely,<br />

Fantastic and Beauty. According to<br />

Paul, “The Lovely organic chocolate<br />

bar is ‘tummy-loving’ because the<br />

essential oil of peppermint is known<br />

to aid indigestion, whilst the<br />

cardamom softens the peppermint,<br />

allowing you to enjoy this soothing<br />

peaceful moment.” He also<br />

mentions the calming benefit of the<br />

Accounts<br />

Sue Carr 01206 505901<br />

Designer<br />

Tom Sanderson<br />

Adsetting<br />

Kevin Dennis<br />

Design/Repro/Typesetting<br />

Ace Pre-Press<br />

19 Phoenix Court, Hawkins Road,<br />

Colchester, Essex, CO2 8JY<br />

Publisher<br />

Helen Tudor 01206 505970<br />

Published by:<br />

Aceville Publications Ltd,<br />

21-23 Phoenix Court,<br />

Hawkins Road,<br />

Colchester, Essex, CO2 8JY<br />

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of the publishers. Every effort is made<br />

to ensure the veracity and integrity of the companies, persons, products and services mentioned in this publication, and<br />

details given are believed to be accurate at the time of going to press. However no responsibility or liability whatsoever can<br />

be accepted for any consequence or repercussion of responding to any information or advice given or inferred.<br />

2 www.specialityfoodmagazine.co.uk


OVERVIEW<br />

“The flavours and combinations<br />

go in and out of vogue all<br />

the time, but will always<br />

re-emerge with a hint of<br />

modern artisanal craft”<br />

Dreamy bar. “The Milk Organic<br />

<strong>Chocolate</strong> with Lemon & Geranium<br />

Rose is a soothing treat which helps<br />

you sleep and dream of chocolate.<br />

Benefits of Geranium Rose &<br />

Lemon combined, soothes and<br />

takes away that overload of<br />

every day pressure we all go to bed<br />

with,” says Paul.<br />

Sweets for all<br />

As well as producers recognising<br />

the need for ‘healthy’ confectionery<br />

there has also been a draw towards<br />

gelatin-free chocolates. For the first<br />

time ever the growth of alternative<br />

sweets has been huge as<br />

manufacturers understand the need<br />

to fill this void in the sweet market.<br />

With one in three consumers being<br />

affected by a food<br />

allergy in their<br />

lifetime and<br />

over two<br />

million Muslims residing in the UK,<br />

retailers need to be offering<br />

suitable confectionery which<br />

appeals to these target groups.<br />

To maximise confectionery sales,<br />

a selection of vegetarian, halal and<br />

kosher sweets is essential. Goody<br />

Good Stuff is one of the first brands<br />

to offer such an item. “Made using<br />

a revolutionary plant derived bio<br />

gum as a gelatine replacement. We<br />

are confident that Goody Good<br />

Stuff’s unique texture and exciting<br />

flavour combinations now fills this<br />

gap and ensures that no one has to<br />

miss out on great tasting sweets,”<br />

explains Ms Burton.<br />

In the past, there was a real<br />

lack of confectionery choice for<br />

consumers who had specific dietary<br />

requirements, but now it seems the<br />

choice has widened quite<br />

significantly and as options<br />

broaden so should retailers’ lines.<br />

www.specialityfoodmagazine.co.uk 3


RETAIL ADVICE<br />

View from<br />

the<br />

Top<br />

With the likes of Fortnum’s being<br />

open since the 1700s, SF decided to catch up<br />

with some of the world’s head chocolatiers and<br />

find the secret to successful chocolate retailing<br />

Danielle Roussel, UK director for<br />

La Maison du Chocolat explains<br />

why staff training is so important<br />

when selling chocolate<br />

What should retailers look for when<br />

stocking new chocolate lines?<br />

Retailers should look at the quality<br />

of the raw ingredients that go into<br />

making the products, as well as the<br />

level of creativity of the brand. At<br />

La Maison du Chocolat we have a<br />

team headed by our creative<br />

director, the renowned patisserierchocolatier<br />

Gilles Marchal, who<br />

sources the finest raw ingredients<br />

from all over the world. They<br />

create new and innovative taste<br />

combinations while maintaining<br />

the classic essence of the La<br />

Maison du Chocolat brand.<br />

What do you teach staff on the<br />

training courses?<br />

At La Maison du Chocolat our staff<br />

are trained based on their role<br />

within the company. A sales person<br />

will receive product, brand and<br />

sales training for example. We<br />

always try to have as many of our<br />

employees visit the chocolaterie to<br />

experience the making of the<br />

finished chocolates. It is also<br />

important that they see the level of<br />

passion that goes into making each<br />

individual product and then be able<br />

to talk about it with our customers.<br />

We look to develop our members<br />

of staff with specialised training<br />

sessions as well as career prospects.<br />

Is it important to get the<br />

hot drink and chocolate<br />

combination correct in-store?<br />

It is always important to get a<br />

good balance of tastes when<br />

associating chocolate with any<br />

other ingredient. Some like to pair<br />

wines, cognac even cheese with<br />

chocolate while playing on the<br />

notes within each product to find<br />

taste alliances. With regards to hot<br />

drink combinations, we have paired<br />

natural vanilla with our hot<br />

chocolate to create a smoother,<br />

less bitter taste. We serve this<br />

beverage in most of the La Maison<br />

du Chocolat stores.<br />

Tell us more about your<br />

education mission?<br />

Our education mission ensures we<br />

are developing and training our<br />

teams. Managers will take time to<br />

discuss prospects and training with<br />

team members. We often have<br />

extra responsibilities that are given<br />

Darren Williams, confectionery<br />

buyer at Fortnum & Mason<br />

believes that staying on top of<br />

trends is one of the best ways<br />

a retailer can enhance sales<br />

With such a wide selection to<br />

choose from, how do you<br />

decide which confectionery<br />

items to stock at the store?<br />

We are looking for products that<br />

offer a point of difference from<br />

the traditional branded ranges<br />

whether this be in recipe,<br />

production method, rarity etc. We<br />

focus our sourcing primarily on<br />

artisan English producers and<br />

compliment these with traditional<br />

regionally produced sweets from<br />

around the world.<br />

What should confectionery<br />

retailers focus on?<br />

To have a clear core range which<br />

is balanced between chocolate<br />

and sugar based products. The<br />

core should be focused on the<br />

type of customer profile the<br />

business attracts. With<br />

confectionery being such a wide<br />

market it is very difficult to offer<br />

everything to customers in a<br />

limited space. Therefore decide<br />

on a core range and it can then<br />

be supplemented with more<br />

niche, experimental, and more<br />

expensive lines. Give your<br />

customers the opportunity to try<br />

to team members to empower<br />

them. For example each La Maison<br />

du Chocolat store will have a quality<br />

advocate, who regularly performs<br />

internal audits at the store(s) and<br />

will issue a written statement back<br />

to our head office in Paris. From<br />

there actions are to be taken to<br />

correct any non-compliance.<br />

What is the secret to successful<br />

chocolate retailing?<br />

At La Maison du Chocolat the<br />

success of our brand is based on<br />

the highest quality products sold in<br />

our own stores, served by our<br />

expertly trained sales staff. We are<br />

an international brand with stores<br />

in Paris, New York, Hong Kong,<br />

Tokyo and London so it is<br />

extremely important that our<br />

customers find the same array of<br />

products and exceptional service<br />

wherever they may be.<br />

different products and from that<br />

feedback you are can ultimately<br />

drive the future direction of your<br />

purchasing decisions.<br />

What do you think are the key<br />

trends in confectionery right now?<br />

Within sugar based products there<br />

is still a strong market for<br />

‘traditional / retro’ sweets such<br />

as boiled sweets, old fashioned<br />

chews and fudge. Within the<br />

chocolate business customers have<br />

become more experimental and<br />

are willing to try different taste<br />

profiles from different origins.<br />

There is a growing demand for<br />

more “artisan” produced<br />

chocolate and in Britain there are a<br />

number of very good chocolatiers<br />

who are starting to become well<br />

known names amongst<br />

consumers, for example, Damian<br />

Allsop and Marc Demarquette. In<br />

the future I think we will see more<br />

and more bean to bar small<br />

producers of chocolate appearing<br />

on the market.<br />

What is the secret to successful<br />

food retailing?<br />

Excite your customer! Have a<br />

good core range that meets their<br />

everyday needs and enhance that<br />

with regular newness and interest.<br />

Listen to your customer feedback<br />

– if one person says it there are<br />

probably more thinking it!<br />

4 www.specialityfoodmagazine.co.uk


RETAIL ADVICE<br />

Stuart Gates, Harrods director for<br />

food development and hampers<br />

discovers that stocking quality is<br />

the key to success<br />

exceptional service and in-store<br />

expertise, as well as magical<br />

retail theatre, for which we are<br />

so well-renowned.<br />

How do you decide which<br />

confectionery lines to supply?<br />

At Harrods we only source the highest<br />

quality products from the finest<br />

producers - the <strong>Food</strong> Halls are all<br />

about offering the best of the best,<br />

both from the UK and internationally.<br />

In terms of confectionary, this means<br />

both offering exceptional chocolates<br />

from small artisan suppliers in the UK<br />

and working with the most respected<br />

chocolate brands from across the<br />

world to constantly surpass the<br />

expectations of our shoppers. Along<br />

with quality, innovation is also<br />

extremely important to us. We are<br />

always excited by unique products,<br />

new ingredients and flavour<br />

combinations, and of course never<br />

seen before items and ‘newness’.<br />

What is the trick to successful<br />

confectionery retailing?<br />

It’s all about understanding your<br />

customers, responding to their needs<br />

and constantly finding way to surprise<br />

and delight them. For us, this is about<br />

having an exceptional product range,<br />

with a host of exclusive and first to<br />

market products, all of the highest<br />

quality. The shopping experience is<br />

also crucial, you need to offer<br />

What are your key selling tips?<br />

It sounds obvious, but the most<br />

important element is taste and<br />

quality. Retailers should also look to<br />

balance their offering with both<br />

classic and traditional confectionery,<br />

as well as incorporating more quirky,<br />

current and innovative lines.<br />

What is popular at the moment?<br />

The key trends I see are a continued<br />

focus on natural ingredients, along<br />

with a call for ‘back to basics’ with<br />

the use of traditional and handmade<br />

production methods. We are also<br />

seeing a trend for products with a<br />

keepsake element, such as beautiful<br />

packaging and the use of extra<br />

special ingredients and stunning<br />

presentations such as gold leaf,<br />

edible glitter and hand-painting.<br />

In recent years, there has been a<br />

trend towards consumers becoming<br />

real chocolate connoisseurs and a<br />

growth in high-end dark chocolate,<br />

chocolate courverture and raw<br />

chocolate. In response, last year we<br />

launched our own Harrods Chocolatier<br />

range, featuring Harrods very own<br />

dark, milk and white chocolate<br />

courverture recipes, which has proved<br />

a real success with our shoppers.<br />

www.specialityfoodmagazine.co.uk 5


INNOVATIONS<br />

It’s<br />

Tea time<br />

Katie Christoffers, tea enthusiast and<br />

creator of Matcha Chocolat, explores the<br />

growth of tea-infused chocolate<br />

he allure of imaginative<br />

flavour combinations, the<br />

T provenance and quality of<br />

ingredients, and a keen interest in<br />

health benefits look set to remain<br />

centre stage in the world of<br />

chocolate. As these trends<br />

continue to convert followers to<br />

the cause of fine chocolate, a<br />

parallel story has been brewing<br />

in the world of tea, and UK<br />

chocolatiers have been quick<br />

to take notice.<br />

<strong>Chocolate</strong> makers and<br />

enthusiasts are not the only ones<br />

to recognise the rich diversity of<br />

flavour and aroma that tea has to<br />

offer. Customers are increasingly<br />

curious about the great variety of<br />

teas, their distinct methods of<br />

production, not to mention their<br />

reputation for improving health<br />

and well-being. All the emerging<br />

similarities between tea and<br />

chocolate have caught the attention<br />

of imaginatively minded<br />

chocolatiers, who are keen to show<br />

tea and chocolate as the perfect<br />

marriage of like-minded ingredients.<br />

An illustrious past<br />

Way before tea emerged as the next<br />

big thing for chocolate, the pair<br />

were leading separate yet parallel<br />

lives as some of nature’s most<br />

revered bounties. Both tea and<br />

cocoa have an equally illustrious and<br />

ancient past, which has seen them<br />

used similarly for religious<br />

ceremonies, for medicinal purposes,<br />

and even as forms of currency.<br />

Yet, it wasn’t until the 19th<br />

century that their paths first<br />

crossed. Europe’s budding café<br />

culture set the stage for the<br />

meeting between tea and cocoa,<br />

6 www.specialityfoodmagazine.co.uk


INNOVATIONS<br />

where along with coffee they vied<br />

for a prised spot on the café scene.<br />

Fortunately innovation took cocoa<br />

on a very different path than tea.<br />

When chocolate was born it was<br />

no longer a rival for tea, rather it<br />

prepared the way for the very<br />

special collaboration with tea that<br />

is emerging today.<br />

A match made in heaven<br />

The art of food pairing was brought<br />

into focus when Heston Blumenthal<br />

stumbled upon the combination of<br />

white chocolate and salty caviar.<br />

The pair turned out to be such a<br />

successful match that Heston<br />

sought the opinion of a scientist.<br />

The diagnosis was that the major<br />

flavor components these ingredients<br />

shared were giving the unlikely pair<br />

their complimentary nature.<br />

Though coffee and chocolate<br />

have long been hailed as the ideal<br />

match, it’s tea’s delicate taste that<br />

compliments chocolate’s inherently<br />

rich flavours, without overwhelming<br />

them. The taste of tea and<br />

chocolate is defined by the<br />

interplay between bitterness and<br />

sweetness. Their major flavour<br />

components clearly overlap and<br />

make them ideal foods to pair; yet<br />

it is their diversity and depth of<br />

flavour that provides endless<br />

opportunity for sensory exploration.<br />

An award-winning<br />

combination<br />

Tea and chocolate can be enjoyed<br />

side-by-side or fused together in<br />

the form of chocolate bars and<br />

ganache filled chocolates.<br />

Depending on whether you’re<br />

nibbling a bar of chocolate whilst<br />

you sip a spot of tea or trying an<br />

all in one version, tea and<br />

chocolate will reveal their flavours<br />

in quite different ways - and both<br />

are equally delightful.<br />

Consider the distinction<br />

between pairing a wine alongside a<br />

meal versus cooking your meal in a<br />

wine sauce. When chocolate is<br />

infused with tea both their flavours<br />

are altered and this allows new<br />

flavours to arise and for more<br />

subtle flavours to jump to the<br />

foreground, where they previously<br />

could have gone unnoticed.<br />

With a veritable rainbow of<br />

teas now available from white,<br />

green, yellow, to red (black tea in<br />

the west), black (puerh), and even<br />

blue (Oolong), there are truly<br />

infinite opportunities for ‘chocolatea’<br />

explorations. Yet, in case too<br />

much choice leaves you in a state<br />

of indecision, you needn’t worry as<br />

some of the UK’s best chocolatiers<br />

have already developed a few tried<br />

and tested pairings between tea<br />

and chocolate (see below).<br />

Doing a tasting is simple: just<br />

encourage customers to give their<br />

attention over to the taste and<br />

aroma of the tea and chocolate<br />

and enjoy. Black teas are often rich,<br />

malty or even smoky, whilst green<br />

teas containing higher levels of<br />

chlorophyll have more herbal,<br />

grassy undertones. Try having your<br />

tea without milk so you can learn<br />

to appreciate their range of<br />

flavours, which are as subtle and<br />

complex as a fine dark chocolate.<br />

Katie<br />

Christoffers<br />

is the creator<br />

of award<br />

winning<br />

Matcha<br />

Chocolat.<br />

She is an all around tea<br />

enthusiast with a love of<br />

all things chocolate. Katie<br />

can be reached at<br />

katie@matchachocolat.com.<br />

In-store suggestions<br />

How about offering<br />

one of the teainfused<br />

chocolates<br />

that picked up<br />

awards this year?<br />

MOROCCAN MINT TEA<br />

and JASMINE MATCHA<br />

GREEN TEA both by<br />

Demarquette<br />

MASALA CHAI TRUFFLE<br />

by Devnaa LLP<br />

JASMINE SILVER<br />

NEEDLES and SECRET<br />

GARDEN (Violet<br />

flavoured Tea) both by<br />

Matcha Chocolat<br />

LOST MALAWI BLACK<br />

TEA GANACHE by Paul<br />

A Young<br />

Fruity and floral to<br />

vegetal and earthy, tea<br />

and chocolate possess innumerable flavour notes, which can be<br />

enhanced and revealed through their pairing.<br />

Here are some suggestions for pairing tea and chocolate in-store,<br />

customers are more likely to buy when they try these<br />

complimentary combinations.<br />

White chocolate with a White Peony white tea.<br />

Milk <strong>Chocolate</strong> with a Dragon Well green tea or an oolong tea such<br />

as Phoenix Honey Orchid.<br />

For dark chocolate that has nutty flavours try an Indian Assam or a<br />

Chinese Yunnan tea and with a sweeter, fruitier flavoured dark<br />

chocolate try a Jasmine Silver Needle tea or a lychee flavoured black tea.<br />

www.specialityfoodmagazine.co.uk 7


ECONOMY<br />

Golden<br />

The<br />

amountTicket<br />

With a hedge fund manager buying the largest<br />

of cocoa in nearly 14 years, could UK chocolate retailers<br />

be at a lost this Christmas? SF investigates<br />

W<br />

hy invest your money in<br />

gold when you can put it<br />

into chocolate? Would<br />

be the point of view from Anthony<br />

Ward who recently purchased<br />

£650m ($992m) worth of cocoa<br />

from his Armajaro fund. This July,<br />

the money-hunger dealer snapped<br />

up 240,100 tonnes of cocoa -<br />

almost all the physical stocks<br />

registered with the London<br />

International Financial Futures<br />

Exchange (LIFFE) and seven percent<br />

of the world’s annual cocoa<br />

production- pushing the price up to<br />

a 32-year high of £2,465 a tonne.<br />

A profitable move for one<br />

trader, however, from a retail<br />

perspective, this dramatic move has<br />

left a hole in production and prices<br />

are already soaring after a decline in<br />

African manufacturing. With around<br />

60% of the world output coming<br />

from Africa, harvests have been<br />

disappointing this season. And, with<br />

a new tree taking around five years<br />

to produce beans, producers may be<br />

unable to meet the demand for the<br />

nation’s favourite treat in the run-up<br />

to Christmas.<br />

Ward may have won ‘The<br />

Golden Ticket’ but this somewhat<br />

selfish act has left the industry<br />

questioning how much the price of<br />

chocolate will creep up, as demand<br />

continues to increase, and<br />

production continuously falls. With<br />

seven percent of the world’s annual<br />

cocoa output tucked away in Liffe’s<br />

warehouses – mostly in the<br />

Netherlands and Belgium, will this<br />

Christmas be choc-less as<br />

consumers struggle to pay the<br />

price? Laurent Pipitone of the<br />

International Cocoa Organisation<br />

(ICCO) offers some expert advise.<br />

“A company might want to take<br />

the opportunity of the shortage on<br />

the markets to try to buy all the<br />

cocoa and benefit from the high<br />

price. Maybe they will have some<br />

market power in the coming<br />

months,” he says.<br />

In the last few<br />

months, over 16<br />

European cocoa firms<br />

and trade associations<br />

have already written to<br />

the exchange to<br />

complain that manipulation<br />

of trading rules – albeit perfectly<br />

legal – was becoming a problem.<br />

With the next African cocoa<br />

harvest not due until this October,<br />

there are concerns within the<br />

industry of a continued shortage of<br />

supply during the autumn – the<br />

exchange’s next trading season.<br />

“Companies will be buying for<br />

Christmas so we might have a<br />

problem,” suggests Mr Pipitone.<br />

“About a third of all cocoa<br />

available to European firms is<br />

traded on the Liffe but buying<br />

direct from suppliers in Africa<br />

incurs shipping and insurance costs<br />

and is unlikely to be much<br />

cheaper,” he says.<br />

“There will certainly be some<br />

nervousness in the market because<br />

Deeper poverty<br />

someone has cornered so much<br />

supply – that in itself can force<br />

prices up,” says retail analyst Neil<br />

Saunders. Bad news for retailers<br />

then, however, shoppers may have<br />

the upperhand.<br />

“One reason the consumer is<br />

in a strong position is that there’s<br />

quite a lot of competition in the<br />

market and resistance to putting<br />

up prices. The increase in costs<br />

could be absorbed between<br />

retailers and manufacturers. If<br />

consumers do share the pain, it<br />

may only be a matter of a few<br />

pence – or else they may see the<br />

weight of products reduced as<br />

prices remain static,” says Mr<br />

Saunders, of Verdict Research.<br />

Tim Jones, from the World Development<br />

Movement offers an insight into the impact<br />

of banks and hedge funds on food prices<br />

“In recent years, speculation on food prices has massively<br />

pushed up the price of basic foods like wheat and maize – making<br />

the basics unaffordable leaving poor families around the world<br />

going hungry and forcing millions into deeper poverty.<br />

(Armajaro’s purchase of cocoa is) a move designed to make<br />

millions for the hedge fund but losses for people in the UK who are<br />

partial to a Twix or farmers in developing countries who are finding<br />

it impossible to plan what to grow when the prices are rising and<br />

falling like a yo-yo.<br />

Banks and hedge funds ‘buy’ cocoa and other food all the time<br />

but they don’t normally request delivery and stash them in<br />

warehouses in Liverpool and London. Usually, they buy and sell<br />

without ever seeing a single bean or grain, they only see money.<br />

Prices rise and fall as a mirror image of speculative hot money<br />

flooding in and hot footing it out. The price rises are devastating for<br />

people in developing countries who can’t afford to feed their<br />

families or have to take children out of school to be able to survive.<br />

Here, in the UK, the speculation makes the price of our weekly<br />

shop more expensive too.<br />

Respected international bodies like UNCTAD and the FAO have<br />

conducted research into this issue and have found that speculation<br />

has increased the price of commodities and increased volatility. The<br />

Chairman of the US commodity regulator and the European<br />

Commissioner responsible for financial markets agree.<br />

The kind of reforms we are calling for are like those passed by the<br />

US Senate to regulate this dangerous speculation. These reforms<br />

would allow producers to hedge their risk whilst increasing price<br />

stability but would help to prevent banks betting on food.”<br />

Source: Channel Four News<br />

8 www.specialityfoodmagazine.co.uk


INTERVIEWS<br />

Secrets<br />

What should retailers be stocking up on this<br />

season? Richard Smith speaks to several industry<br />

experts and reveals the latest confectionery trends<br />

After much persuading, We<br />

have “ managed to convince one of<br />

the sweet makers to reintroduce<br />

‘Jap desserts’, a chewy coconut<br />

fondant in four colours, brown,<br />

yellow, pink and white. They<br />

actually disappeared from sweet<br />

shops fifteen years ago so<br />

reintroducing them was quite a<br />

big financial investment. But, by<br />

having them out on the counter,<br />

our older customers come in every<br />

day saying how they remember<br />

them from their childhood – we<br />

now sell pound after pound of them. Jap desserts have now gone<br />

nationwide again, selling on the internet and in other sweet shops.<br />

Other old favourites we’ve been re-introducing are ‘Spanish gold sweet<br />

tobacco’, a coconut strand, and Dutch imported ‘school chalk’, a<br />

liquorice confection. By selling these traditional products in traditional<br />

ways, we’ve been trailblazers.<br />

Keith Tordoff, The Oldest Sweet ” Shop, Nidderdale<br />

“<br />

We try and keep things different all the time with new monthly<br />

products and seasonal promotions. For example we’ve had speciality ice<br />

creams this summer, they’ve sold really well because we’re the only place<br />

that sells them in this area. Although variety and seasonality is important,<br />

quite often people have<br />

their favourites, and<br />

buy just one type of<br />

sweet so its important<br />

to keep some regular<br />

favourites. Our<br />

raspberry bonbons are<br />

always best sellers with<br />

young and old alike,<br />

we go through kilos<br />

of them!<br />

”<br />

Julia Edmonds,<br />

Mister Everett’s,<br />

Bury St Edmunds<br />

Where chocolates are concerned, we’ve<br />

noticed “ how customers’ tastes have become<br />

more choosy so they are tending to go for<br />

higher quality. In particular, we’ve noticed an<br />

increase in speciality sweets, like liquorice,<br />

Turkish delight and nougat. We have to<br />

maintain a balance – too traditional and it’s<br />

boring; too modern and customers don’t trust<br />

it. In recent times, the website is providing<br />

more income than shop sales and that is a<br />

continuing trend. The website means we are<br />

able to sell to companies now and not just<br />

individual customers, we’ve even secured a<br />

contract with Manchester City football<br />

club.<br />

Bill Anderton, “ Pilgrims <strong>Chocolate</strong> and<br />

Fudge, Gloucester<br />

10 www.specialityfoodmagazine.co.uk


We make absolutely everything by<br />

hand, “ from the fudge to the toffee to<br />

the packaging. We get our success<br />

from keeping it simple and sticking to<br />

the classic flavours. We only have three<br />

types of fudge and two of toffee, but<br />

our reputation and clientele, including<br />

Buckingham Palace, precedes us.<br />

Everything is made in exactly the same<br />

way as it was seventy of eighty years<br />

ago. The old favourites, treats like<br />

butter fudge and treacle toffee, still sell<br />

the best.<br />

Neil Boustead, “<br />

The Toffee Shop, Penrith<br />

We are experiencing a turn to the ‘dark side’, in that our customers are<br />

moving “ towards darker, higher percentage cocoa chocolate. People are realising<br />

that chocolate is sophisticated, just like coffee or wine. People are becoming far<br />

more interested in where their chocolate has come from, and the processes<br />

involved. What has been selling really well for summer is our British summer<br />

collection, with traditional British flavours, such as strawberry and clotted<br />

cream, inspiring notions of nostalgia and reminiscence. We source lots of our<br />

produce locally, from the fruits and cream to our sugar. Customers appreciate<br />

the locality of your produce and I think that during the downturn people have<br />

become more proud of where they come from, and want to keep the money<br />

within Britain. But they also what their luxuries, and Britain can provide this, it’s<br />

all in our own back yard.<br />

Marc Demarquette, chocolatier of Demarquette Fine <strong>Chocolate</strong>s<br />

“<br />

We have certain products that have been flying off the shelves this<br />

year, “ and we think it is because of their uniqueness. For example the<br />

chocolates in our large boxes have each been topped with bespoke, inhouse<br />

designed artwork. If a<br />

customer is going to spend a<br />

significant amount of money,<br />

either to treat themselves or to<br />

take to a dinner party, they<br />

want it to be worth it and seen<br />

as something very different and<br />

artisan. We definitely have a<br />

‘knowledge is best’ stance, with<br />

our staff talking the customers<br />

through the process of making<br />

our bars, of the ingredients and<br />

origins, and of the flavours. We<br />

do not believe in a ‘hard sell’<br />

approach at all; we let the<br />

customer taste what they like<br />

and decide for themselves, with<br />

our advice if they need it.<br />

Rebecca Knights-Kerswell, “<br />

Coco <strong>Chocolate</strong>, Edinburgh<br />

INTERVIEWS<br />

Hand making everything<br />

on “ site means the customers<br />

get beautiful aromas as they<br />

walk into the shop. You could<br />

say the aroma does the selling<br />

for us! Our traditionally<br />

flavoured White Horse fudge<br />

compliments this and is a<br />

strong seller. The chocolate<br />

shoes capture the imagination<br />

as well. It’s mainly women who<br />

buy them, but around<br />

Valentine’s Day it’s amazing<br />

how many men start to talk<br />

about our high heels! Having a<br />

strong website is essential, as<br />

we have a lot of people buying<br />

online these days.<br />

Graham Golisti, Giftag<br />

<strong>Chocolate</strong> Box, York<br />

”<br />

www.specialityfoodmagazine.co.uk 11


TRENDS<br />

New<br />

Opportunities<br />

Paul Hargreaves of Cotswold Fayre Ltd reflects on what is currently popular in the confectionery world<br />

and how the closure of Woolworths has encouraged the growth of independents<br />

aving just<br />

come back<br />

Hfrom the 11th<br />

<strong>Speciality</strong> and Fine<br />

<strong>Food</strong> Fair, it is<br />

interesting to reflect<br />

on how the industry,<br />

particularly in the confectionery<br />

sector, has grown and developed<br />

over the years. In the first half of this<br />

article I am going to look at some of<br />

those changes, and then look at how<br />

retailers can maximise sales through<br />

their confectionery offering.<br />

Let’s look at chocolate products<br />

first. One of the main changes over<br />

the last decade is the tremendous<br />

growth in British <strong>Chocolate</strong><br />

manufacturers. The size of the<br />

“<strong>Chocolate</strong> Fair” at this year’s<br />

show is testament to that. Ten<br />

years ago certainly most chocolate<br />

products were bought from<br />

European suppliers at ISM in<br />

Cologne in January or from<br />

wholesalers such as Crème D’Or or<br />

House of Sarunds, who have a<br />

predominantly European offering.<br />

Now there are far more British<br />

producers of chocolate either<br />

dealing direct with retailers or<br />

going through more wholesalers<br />

more well-known for their British<br />

range. This has increased over the<br />

last two years as the Euro has<br />

strengthened against Sterling<br />

making the British chocolate<br />

products more competitive. This<br />

has been noticeable in the seasonal<br />

ranges on display in the larger<br />

speciality retailers over this time.<br />

As with other speciality food<br />

products, customers are interested<br />

in ‘local’ and ‘provenance’, and<br />

more likely to buy products if they<br />

‘feel’ a connection through either<br />

the geography or the story behind<br />

the products. Let’s face it, a decent<br />

box of chocolates, is one of the<br />

more expensive single speciality<br />

food products that customers will<br />

buy, so some kind of connection will<br />

certainly help them buy it. Ranges<br />

such as Prestat are well-known for<br />

being British and by Royal<br />

Appointment, and it is probably<br />

these two factors that result in<br />

good sales, as well, of course, their<br />

bright, colourful packaging!<br />

Turn back time<br />

Over the last five years, there has<br />

been a huge interest in retro sweets<br />

and confectionery. Even before the<br />

demise of Woolworths, sweet<br />

shops were springing up all over<br />

towns and cities in the UK, and the<br />

closure of Woolworths – who were<br />

well-known for their “Pick & Mix” –<br />

has further increased the growth in<br />

independent sweet shops. I live in a<br />

small market town called<br />

Cirencester with a population of<br />

around 10,000. Before Woolworths<br />

closed there was one independent<br />

sweet shop, there are now three!<br />

(And Woolworths site still remains<br />

empty!) It will be interesting to<br />

see if all three survive; I hope they<br />

do, but three seems a little<br />

excessive even for a town that<br />

attracts quite a good tourist trade.<br />

It does, however, show the interest<br />

particularly in the old-fashioned<br />

kind of sweet shop, where there<br />

are large jars behind the counter<br />

being dispensed by a jolly member<br />

of staff. Interest in the ‘retro’ is<br />

evidenced by companies like Hope<br />

& Greenwood, where customers are<br />

prepared to pay quite high prices<br />

for products that are quirky and<br />

take them back to their childhood.<br />

Two other drivers in the sweet<br />

end of the confectionery market are<br />

a) natural colours and flavours and b)<br />

presentation. Labelling rules changed<br />

earlier this year so that now all<br />

products containing artificial colours<br />

or flavours need to have a warning<br />

saying ‘may cause hyperactivity in<br />

children’. As you can imagine this<br />

wouldn’t result in an increase in<br />

sales, so it has pretty much forced<br />

the remaining manufacturers to go<br />

down the natural route. The other<br />

factor that is driving the industry is<br />

consumers placing a higher premium<br />

on presentation even for children’s<br />

products. They have to look good. A<br />

classic example of this can be found<br />

with products from the Gourmet<br />

Candy Company, which even though<br />

some of them are made in the Far<br />

East, are both natural and have a<br />

considerable amount of design<br />

behind them. They look great<br />

and stand out on the shelves<br />

from other products that aren’t<br />

quite as design-led.<br />

TOP TIPS<br />

Now, based on what I see in our more successful<br />

customers’ shops, let’s look at some tips that will<br />

help increase confectionery sales:<br />

No excuses now. Every product should be free from artificial<br />

1colours and flavours.<br />

For seasonal offerings, whilst there will be the inevitable Easter<br />

eggs and Father Christmas chocolates, ensure that there is also<br />

2<br />

a wide range of gifting products that you can still sell afterwards.<br />

This will enable you to remain stocked up with good displays right<br />

up to Christmas or Easter.<br />

Particularly relevant to the chocolate offering, ensure that<br />

3there are ranges that complement each other on price. Not all<br />

your customers will be in the market for a £25 box of chocolates.<br />

You need a good value range, medium and premium.<br />

Make sure you have local products, British products and then<br />

4the best of imported products.<br />

Finally, quirky and retro are good, stock products like these,<br />

5<br />

but also remember that you need products suitable for granny.<br />

12 www.specialityfoodmagazine.co.uk


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CHOCOLATIERS<br />

W<br />

A Nation<br />

wrapped in<br />

<strong>Chocolate</strong><br />

With the awareness of artisan chocolate developing amongst consumers, Louise Miles<br />

interviewed some of the nation’s finest chocolatiers currently making waves in the industry<br />

hile France was famous for creating pastilles and sweet tablets,<br />

it wasn’t until 1847 when Bristol company Fry & Son made a<br />

‘chocolate delicieux a manger’ – the first bar of chocolate<br />

created in the same way we enjoy it today. Moulded into blocks and<br />

bars, and poured over fruit-flavoured centres, this plain chocolate was a<br />

real breakthrough. And, this revolution in the confectionery world has<br />

seen Britain as a real leader in creating sweet treats, and other nations<br />

will often look to the British Isles for ideas. This artisan tradition has<br />

carried through into the 21st century, and the UK’s finest chocolatiers<br />

are continuing to set the standard for confection perfection. Read our<br />

exclusive portfolios to find out more about their inspirations and<br />

industry predictions.<br />

William Curley has worked alongside some<br />

gastronomic icons, but his winning ways with<br />

chocolate have made his a start in his own right<br />

M<br />

y father was a docker so<br />

becoming a chef was the<br />

least favourite of his<br />

choices for me. I went to school in<br />

Fife, and went through the<br />

motions without any real<br />

enthusiasm for what I was doing,<br />

but at technical college, cooking<br />

appealed for me. At 17, I went to<br />

Gleneagles Hotel as an apprentice.<br />

When I arrived I didn’t know what<br />

a patissiere or a chocolatier was –<br />

that was another world to me.<br />

Later on I worked with Pierre<br />

Koffman at Tante Claire, Raymond<br />

Blanc at Quat’ Saisons and Marco<br />

Pierre White. I knew that it was<br />

important to have a good CV and<br />

I worked hard on it.<br />

My passion is for making<br />

desserts and cakes so making<br />

chocolates commercially was<br />

something I’d never done until we<br />

opened the shop in Richmond about<br />

six years ago. It had been my lifelong<br />

dream to open a shop, but<br />

when it actually happens you look<br />

at it bit differently. You think ‘What<br />

have I just done?’ I opened the<br />

business so I could continue what I<br />

love because, bizarrely as you work<br />

your way up the ladder you work<br />

yourself away from what you got<br />

into it for. You can end up sitting in<br />

an office behind a computer and<br />

that didn’t appeal to me. After<br />

three and a half years at The Savoy<br />

it occurred to me it was one of the<br />

few hotels in the world that would<br />

allow me to be creative and get in<br />

the kitchen whilst working at that<br />

level. So the next step forward was<br />

to open my own shop.<br />

Family support<br />

If I didn’t have my wife I would<br />

have been knackered; she’s a<br />

talented chef but equally<br />

understands the business side –<br />

organising the packaging and<br />

equipment, registering the<br />

business, paying VAT, paying PAYE.<br />

All those nasty things. If you’re a<br />

very small business you need to do<br />

it yourself – we’re a bit bigger now<br />

and I can employ some people to<br />

look after those things which is<br />

great. My background is being<br />

creative – it’s not dealing with the<br />

tax man or whoever.<br />

Where I come from there’s no<br />

great food history, whereas you go<br />

into little towns in France and<br />

they’ve got a patissiere, a<br />

chocolatier, a boulanger...it’s all<br />

there. As a youngster I’d eat poorquality<br />

confectionery. If someone<br />

had said to me ‘here’s a bar from<br />

Amedi’ or ‘Valrhona’ [two worldleading<br />

producers of fine<br />

chocolate], it might as well have<br />

come from a different planet. I<br />

think my palate has refined itself<br />

over the years; when you taste fine<br />

chocolate there’s a real difference. I<br />

still like sugar – I wouldn’t dispute<br />

that – but in a more premium way<br />

than a Mars bar. We do a chocolate<br />

rocher which could be seen as an<br />

upmarket Lion bar, and cinder<br />

toffee, which is an ingredient from<br />

Crunchies, but we coat them in fine<br />

chocolate. Poor quality chocolate is<br />

often virtually inedible: it’s bitter<br />

and astringent, and sometimes<br />

quite sweet because they’ve<br />

balancing those characteristics with<br />

a high amount of sugar. It’ll also<br />

use artificial flavouring.<br />

Confection reflection<br />

The world’s changed. When I<br />

started cooking in the late 80s<br />

even finding a good restaurant to<br />

work in wasn’t easy. You couldn’t<br />

just put a name into Google<br />

because it didn’t exist, so it’s much<br />

easier to find things out now.<br />

That said, today’s marketing and<br />

branding can make it difficult for<br />

the consumer. For example they<br />

might be told that a chocolate is<br />

single estate, but that doesn’t<br />

mean the estate is any good. Or<br />

a chocolate might come from<br />

Venezuela which grows great<br />

quality beans, but it could have<br />

been processed poorly which will<br />

affect the chocolate. When I was<br />

younger I just wanted to learn as<br />

much as I could. In good<br />

establishments you get the best<br />

ingredients and knowledgeable<br />

people. You absorb things, educate<br />

yourself. That process might not be<br />

as easy for consumers but they<br />

definitely want to know more<br />

about chocolate – its origin, the<br />

way its been processed. I think<br />

that’s very encouraging.<br />

I’ve been in London since the<br />

early 90s and the food scene has<br />

evolved massively, more than<br />

people realise at times. And<br />

chocolate’s one of the explosions<br />

going on. There are now about a<br />

dozen places in London; five years<br />

ago that didn’t exist. Now a lot of<br />

young people are coming into the<br />

profession – people come to me<br />

wanting to become a chocolatier.<br />

It’s funny.<br />

14 www.specialityfoodmagazine.co.uk


CHOCOLATIERS<br />

Adventures with <strong>Chocolate</strong>, published by Kyle Cathie<br />

Now selling his extraordinary chocolates from<br />

his two London shops, Paul A Young’s<br />

journey to the top started early<br />

y first chocolate<br />

memories are of<br />

M Thorntons Continentals<br />

at Christmas – my grandmother<br />

would always buy me a box. Mum<br />

would buy a box of chocolates<br />

from Maxwell & Kennedy in Eldon<br />

Square, Newcastle; money was<br />

tight when I was growing up and<br />

they were such a treat. I hope<br />

people feel the same way when<br />

they receive a box of my<br />

chocolates. I also remember baking<br />

at my Grandmother’s house every<br />

Sunday and it was there that my<br />

love of food started. We’d bake all<br />

sorts: scones, tarts, cakes, and,<br />

including of course, chocolate<br />

cakes. I have very happy memories<br />

of that time.<br />

Creating with chocolate<br />

I love working with chocolate – it’s<br />

such a versatile product. There’s so<br />

much you can do with it, adding<br />

different ingredients to create<br />

incredible combinations. My<br />

Marmite truffle has proven to be<br />

more popular than I ever imagined;<br />

customers regularly come into the<br />

shop and ask for a box of them.<br />

There are some ingredients that<br />

just wouldn’t work with chocolate<br />

but I never say never.<br />

To be a good chocolatier you<br />

need patience and accuracy, but<br />

also confidence and flair. An<br />

understanding of food, flavours and<br />

ingredients is key: I’m a trained chef<br />

and worked as head pastry chef for<br />

Marco Pierre White for six years<br />

which gave me an essential<br />

foundation to build on. In this job<br />

you also need to be a perfectionist...<br />

and a little bit bonkers.<br />

Appreciating taste<br />

I think we’ve taken great steps<br />

towards properly appreciating<br />

chocolate in the UK. It started with<br />

the launch of Green & Black’s a<br />

number of years ago and we’ve<br />

seen the opening of a number of<br />

wonderful artisan chocolate shops<br />

open around the country. In<br />

London there are initiatives such as<br />

<strong>Chocolate</strong> Week in October, shows<br />

such as <strong>Chocolate</strong> Unwrapped and<br />

the chocolate festival at Southbank<br />

along with The Academy of<br />

<strong>Chocolate</strong> Awards. It’s a really<br />

exciting time to be in the British<br />

chocolate industry.<br />

What am I most proud of?<br />

I don’t think there’s any particular<br />

product – they’ve all stood the test<br />

of time or have been inspirational<br />

for the team and continue to be<br />

popular with our customers. I’m<br />

proud of the way that the<br />

collection is continually changing<br />

though. I love creating new<br />

chocolates and our seasonal<br />

collection is always changing as<br />

I get inspiration, use seasonal<br />

ingredients and experiment with<br />

new flavours. We also have our<br />

signature collection which includes<br />

our award-winning products;<br />

house truffle, sea salted caramel<br />

etc, which can always been found<br />

in our chocolateries. It’s great<br />

working with a product that<br />

people feel so emotional about<br />

– I get such a positive reaction<br />

wherever I go.<br />

When it comes to<br />

creating picture-perfect<br />

and deliciously decadent<br />

chocolate, the<br />

team at House of<br />

Dorchester are<br />

past masters<br />

I<br />

t takes a lot of experience to<br />

handle the temperamental ways<br />

of top-quality chocolate, but<br />

with a local staff of dedicated and<br />

experienced workers, House of<br />

Dorchester has it sorted. “Our work<br />

force is very skilled,” says Jeremy<br />

Moore, the company’s sales director<br />

and champion of delicious<br />

confectionery. “Most of our<br />

products start life in the kitchen. All<br />

the fondant is hand-stirred on the<br />

stoves and then hand-pumped into<br />

mould. The truffles, pralines and<br />

marzipans – what we call our ‘cut<br />

lines’ – are made, poured and cut<br />

by hand. Every thing is hand<br />

finished too, as we strongly believe<br />

that he very high-quality ingredients<br />

deserve matching levels of care.”<br />

Taking time<br />

So is it important that we take<br />

extra time to savour the taste of<br />

chocolate? Perhaps treating it as a<br />

special occasion rather than using<br />

it to refuel as we might with a<br />

cheaper product. “Personally I<br />

think that goes for any fine food,”<br />

says Jeremy. “To appreciate its<br />

nuances and, in some cases, subtle<br />

differences one does need to focus<br />

on it. In fact, chocolate buyers I’ve<br />

met over the years say that the<br />

best time to eat it is first thing in<br />

the morning before your palate is<br />

diverted by anything else.”<br />

You may not be quite ready to<br />

tuck in whilst still in your pyjamas,<br />

but it’s certainly worth making a<br />

little effort to enjoy House of<br />

Dorchester’s confectionery, made to<br />

a recipe specially created for the<br />

company some 40 years ago. “The<br />

reason we’ve continued with our<br />

own recipes for dark and milk<br />

chocolate is that they have their<br />

own eating characteristics,”<br />

explains Jeremy. “This is particularly<br />

true in the case of our milk<br />

chocolate, which has a nutty<br />

characteristic and has been made<br />

from the same blend of African<br />

cocoa beans for many years.”<br />

History of refining<br />

Of course its more than its<br />

ingredient list that HOD has refined<br />

over the last four decades. “Snap,<br />

shine and shelf-life are achieved<br />

through the technical process of<br />

tempering the chocolate and that is<br />

absolutely paramount,” says Jeremy.<br />

“I’ve been working in the chocolate<br />

business for over 35 years and have<br />

learnt that tempering is one of the<br />

most important processes. We have<br />

people in our factory who can tell<br />

how well a chocolate is in its temper<br />

by how it feels – we pride ourselves<br />

on the quality of our work.”<br />

Of course the fully appreciating<br />

the broad range of flavours<br />

available may take a little courage<br />

from die-hard fans of<br />

conservatively-simple sweets. “I,<br />

like the next person, have moments<br />

when I adore sinking my teeth into<br />

a Mars bar but there are also times<br />

when you’re ready to be more<br />

adventurous and experimental.<br />

Perhaps even indulge yourself. The<br />

chocolates I particularly recommend<br />

people to try are those from our<br />

Dessert Selection. The Pistachio<br />

Mousse for example – which has<br />

the most incredibly intense flavour<br />

– and our our Lemon Meringue Pie<br />

which is made with Sicilian lemon<br />

oil. When I hold tastings I<br />

encourage people to try them; they<br />

get an incredible reaction. The<br />

same goes for the Strawberry<br />

Cheesecake. We get people who<br />

insist they don’t like creams but<br />

discover they love ours. It often<br />

roots to a childhood memory of<br />

eating the orange creams rejected<br />

by others at Christmas time.”<br />

Attention to detail and high<br />

levels of care have resulted in a<br />

wide range of products that can<br />

take an intrepid gourmet on a<br />

journey of discovery. “There are<br />

plenty more brands out there,”<br />

admits Jeremy, “and I buy them<br />

myself because I really enjoy the<br />

experience of tasting different<br />

chocolates. Some are more<br />

memorable than others but it’s a<br />

real adventure and I love the<br />

journey that tasting chocolate<br />

takes you on.”<br />

www.specialityfoodmagazine.co.uk 15


CHOCOLATIERS<br />

Brighton-based Holly Caulfield is motivated by<br />

organic, ethically-sourced ingredients, healthyeating<br />

and fresh handmade chocolate production.<br />

All of these values are reflected in the creation of<br />

the British award-winning, organic chocolate<br />

company, Chocoholly<br />

ne major attraction to<br />

Chocoholly is found in the<br />

Odistinctive flavour blends<br />

created and perfected by Holly.<br />

Holly hand-makes dark chocolate<br />

blended with Chilli & Coconut, Milk<br />

chocolate with Cardamom, White<br />

chocolate with Strawberry & Chilli.<br />

The Rich Milk <strong>Chocolate</strong> was<br />

awarded the Gold Great Taste<br />

Award 2010 for its high 46%<br />

cocoa content which produces a<br />

slightly darker bar and chocolate<br />

fish that leaves a delicious lingering<br />

cocoa flavour in the mouth.<br />

The flavours have received<br />

much critical acclaim by chocolate<br />

bloggers, stockists and celebrities.<br />

X-Factor’s Dermot O’Leary, owner of<br />

Fishy Fishy Seafood Brasserie in<br />

Brighton, says “They come in really<br />

unusual flavours and taste great...<br />

so we now have our own, fish<br />

shaped, Fishy Fishy chocolates made<br />

by Holly for sale in the restaurant!”<br />

Healthy alternatives<br />

Holly makes healthy eating a priority<br />

and consequently vegetable fats,<br />

additives, and preservatives are all<br />

excluded from the Chocoholly<br />

range. Cocoa has been associated<br />

with cardiovascular health benefits<br />

and all Chocoholly organic chocolate<br />

contain a higher percentage of pure<br />

cocoa than the standard 25-30%<br />

cocoa content found in other<br />

milk chocolate.<br />

Holly is also intrigued by the<br />

uplifting effects of real chocolate<br />

and the feel-good chemicals that<br />

naturally occur in cacao like<br />

Phenethylamine and<br />

Magnesium. Added to these<br />

chemicals are the organic natural<br />

flavours of the chocolate that Holly<br />

has developed with respect to their<br />

restorative properties. The bestselling<br />

Cardamom bar aids<br />

digestion and calms nerves whilst<br />

the Pelargonium which infuses the<br />

Geranium bar is used in<br />

aromatherapy to achieve Balance.<br />

Without chemicals<br />

All the chocolate is produced using<br />

exclusive organic Cocoa beans<br />

grown without pesticides and<br />

chemical sprays and sourced<br />

responsibly from the Dominican<br />

Republic. Given the recent<br />

economic climate some organic<br />

chocolate producers have released<br />

non-organic chocolate products<br />

but Chocoholly is proud to stay it is<br />

committed to organic principles<br />

through thick and thin. The<br />

consumer demand for ethically<br />

sourced food is on the up and both<br />

consumers and buyers can take<br />

confidence in the fact that all<br />

products in the Chocoholly range<br />

are 100% Organic.<br />

Alongside running the<br />

company, Holly has remained a<br />

professional artist and her artistic<br />

talent has rooted itself in<br />

Chocoholly. All of the packaging<br />

on the chocolate shows one of<br />

Holly’s original artworks. The<br />

bars show Holly’s goddess painting<br />

and the chocolate fish flavours<br />

each have a different princess<br />

artwork. All of Chocoholly’s<br />

chocolate is handmade and handpackaged,<br />

making the range an<br />

extension of Holly’s art and as such<br />

really enhances the indulgent<br />

attraction to the brand.<br />

Chocoholly is currently stocked<br />

by John Lewis <strong>Food</strong>hall, Bentalls,<br />

and regional Waitrose stores and<br />

is also available for wholesale<br />

from Infinity <strong>Food</strong>s.<br />

For over 25 years Kimberleys of Rangemoor<br />

has been producing fine English chocolates, but<br />

where did it all begin?<br />

I<br />

t all started when a<br />

father and son ate at<br />

a restaurant in<br />

Belgium that served<br />

the most amazing<br />

chocolates they had<br />

ever tasted. The<br />

taste and brilliance<br />

of these chocolates<br />

made them ask<br />

where they were<br />

made, only to be<br />

introduced to one of the<br />

finest pralineurs in Belgium,<br />

Mr Van Coillie, who was<br />

eating at the next table!<br />

Mr Van Coillie was<br />

offering training<br />

courses and after a<br />

few months of<br />

intense tuition,<br />

Kimberleys was<br />

soon producing<br />

chocolates. The<br />

company has<br />

grown from its<br />

humble beginnings,<br />

but one thing has remained<br />

constant – it is still family run,<br />

with as much passion, love<br />

and innovation as ever.<br />

Kimberleys ethos, which still<br />

remains today, is that it only uses<br />

the highest quality, freshest<br />

ingredients, sourced in England,<br />

to create exquisite chocolates<br />

and truffles. The company<br />

produce English classics such<br />

as Rose and Violet<br />

fondant creams,<br />

some amazing<br />

crème fraiche<br />

and mousse<br />

chocolates right<br />

through to some<br />

mouth watering,<br />

typically English,<br />

truffles with fillings such<br />

as Gin and Damson, Peaches &<br />

Cream, and even Champagne &<br />

Strawberry, to name but a few!<br />

Kimberleys produce a great<br />

range of chocolates and truffles<br />

exclusively for the House of<br />

Sarunds and these chocolates can<br />

be also found in some beautiful<br />

Kimberleys branded pre-packed<br />

products so any retailer can take<br />

advantage of an English range in<br />

their shop.<br />

16 www.specialityfoodmagazine.co.uk


N<br />

Paul Da-Costa-Greaves of Feeding<br />

Your Imagination discusses the<br />

therapeutic benefits of the nation’s<br />

favourite treat, chocolate<br />

ow <strong>Chocolate</strong> really isn’t<br />

a new product or a new<br />

idea, people have been<br />

enjoying the taste of chocolate<br />

for 3000 years, since it was first<br />

used by ancient civilizations in<br />

Central America.<br />

A treat for all<br />

People everywhere love chocolate.<br />

It has a unique and wonderfully<br />

comforting aroma you can eat it,<br />

drink it, put a bar in your pocket<br />

and snack on it, or survive on it in<br />

a life-raft. It’s an Easter egg treat<br />

for children or a ‘well done’<br />

reward, it’s even given as a<br />

luxurious box, or a timeless gesture<br />

of love and affection.<br />

So it’s no surprise the UK<br />

spend a massive £3.4 billion a year<br />

on chocolate. And, what's<br />

interesting is how much you can<br />

learn about the world from this<br />

much-loved indulgence, chocolate!<br />

Comprised really of three<br />

ingredients, sugar cocoa and<br />

human endeavour, chocolate is a<br />

storehouse of history, experience,<br />

ideas, and issues which spans<br />

continents and centuries.<br />

New discoveries about the<br />

benefits of chocolate are being<br />

made regularly and some are still<br />

undergoing. You can learn as much<br />

or as little as you like from<br />

chocolate and you can still<br />

enjoy eating it! This is a truly<br />

unique commodity.<br />

It is surprisingly that few<br />

people don't really give the benefit<br />

of chocolate much thought.<br />

Incredibly the story of chocolate<br />

can be used to explain much more<br />

about your feelings and the<br />

evolution of today’s world. An<br />

interesting discovery made about<br />

this temptation, is that drinking a<br />

cup of hot chocolate before meals<br />

may actually diminish appetite and<br />

can help you lose weight.<br />

Imagine that!<br />

Losing weight by<br />

consuming<br />

chocolate. It must<br />

be paradise on<br />

earth! So when<br />

asked why is my<br />

chocolate<br />

therapeutic? Take<br />

a deep breath and<br />

tell them to slowly<br />

enjoy what’s<br />

about to come...<br />

CHOCOLATIERS<br />

www.specialityfoodmagazine.co.uk 17


DIARY DATES<br />

A Year in<br />

<strong>Chocolate</strong><br />

Christmas, Easter and Valentine’s Day may be the<br />

Holy Trinity of chocolate selling, but there are plenty<br />

of other seasonal events for retailers to tap into.<br />

Natasha Lovell-Smith looks at the year ahead<br />

Valentine’s<br />

Day<br />

Christmas may<br />

be top of the<br />

chocolateselling<br />

calender<br />

for many shops, but Valentine’s<br />

Day is one of the only holidays that<br />

is almost exclusively geared<br />

towards confectionery. “In the<br />

same way as Christmas, consumers<br />

buying Valentine’s Day gifts are<br />

after value-added products. They<br />

don’t come to us for a bargain, but<br />

they do want to feel like they’ve<br />

received value for money,” says<br />

Mary Tetley, co-owner of Denbigh<br />

<strong>Chocolate</strong> Shop in North Wales. She<br />

tries to make the shopping<br />

‘experience’ as pleasurable as<br />

possible by decorating the store with<br />

luxurious materials such as red and<br />

black velvet, satin and silk.<br />

“Traditional boxes are the best<br />

sellers at this time of year. We have<br />

a big display fridge of chocolates<br />

and truffles and let people hand-pick<br />

the products they want. We even set<br />

up an area where customers can<br />

have a free cup of tea or coffee<br />

while they wait for their gifts to be<br />

wrapped up,” she adds.<br />

FEB<br />

Mother’s<br />

Day<br />

If Valentine’s<br />

Day is all about<br />

love hearts and<br />

red satin<br />

packaging, Mother’s Day is the<br />

time for florals. “You’re coming up<br />

to the Spring, so everything in your<br />

shop should be bright, fresh and<br />

clean. In terms of products,<br />

chocolate hearts and boxes are still<br />

relevant – so you can still make use<br />

of anything you have left over from<br />

February. Just tailor your packaging<br />

and decorations accordingly,”<br />

explains Sandra Shirran, shop<br />

manager at Willows Farm Shop<br />

in St Albans.<br />

APR<br />

Easter<br />

This year, Mother’s Day (3rd April)<br />

and Easter Sunday (24th April) are<br />

just a few weeks apart, so many<br />

retailers are planning on using<br />

similar products and decorations<br />

for both celebrations. “You need<br />

to freshen up your display, perhaps<br />

add some more fresh flowers and<br />

decorate the store with the usual<br />

chocolate eggs, bunnies and<br />

chicks, but there’s no need to<br />

spend loads of money on props.<br />

A few simple touches will suffice,”<br />

she adds.<br />

But with the multiples offering<br />

chocolate eggs for rock bottom<br />

prices, how can speciality stores<br />

compete? “There’s no way we could<br />

offer eggs for 99p, but we don’t<br />

have to. While consumers might get<br />

a cheap supermarket egg for the<br />

kids, many also want to get<br />

something a bit special for a friend,<br />

family member or partner,”<br />

comments Ms Tetley. Offering a<br />

personalised service and bespoke<br />

chocolate eggs is one of the best<br />

ways to add a point of difference.<br />

“We source good quality Belgian<br />

chocolate eggs. They come in<br />

halves, so we fill them with<br />

whatever the customer wants and<br />

wrap them up with colourful ribbons<br />

and paper as they wait. This kind of<br />

personal attention is essential when<br />

selling at this level,” she adds.<br />

MAY<br />

TO<br />

AUG<br />

Summer<br />

Weddings<br />

The summer is<br />

a notoriously<br />

slow time for<br />

selling<br />

chocolate, but savvy retailers are<br />

adopting a number of techniques<br />

to keep stock moving. “The period<br />

from May to August is famously<br />

‘wedding season’ so we’ve tapped<br />

into the market by offering a table<br />

present service. Last year we made<br />

up hundreds of organza bags filled<br />

with chocolates for people to offer<br />

guests at their wedding<br />

breakfasts,” says Ms Tetley. “It’s an<br />

idea that people may not have<br />

thought of, so it pays to advertise<br />

the service in-store. Offering a<br />

reasonable price promotion on<br />

these products is also key because<br />

then people will be more likely to<br />

come to you, rather than trying to<br />

do it themselves,” she adds.<br />

Many retailers see October as the<br />

beginning of the chocolate ‘season’.<br />

And while it’s one of the few<br />

products that will sell well all year<br />

round, sales really start to increase<br />

as the long summer evenings start<br />

to draw in. “One of the main<br />

appeals of chocolate is the fact that<br />

18 www.specialityfoodmagazine.co.uk


it’s so comforting. It’s proven to<br />

release endorphins, so people<br />

immediately start buying it when<br />

the weather starts getting cold and<br />

they need a bit of a boost,” explains<br />

Mary Tetley.<br />

<strong>Chocolate</strong><br />

Week (11th-<br />

17th)<br />

The celebration<br />

provides stores<br />

with the ideal<br />

opportunity to test their new lines<br />

out on the public, before the mania<br />

of the run-up to Christmas. With<br />

acclaimed premium retailers such as<br />

Chococo, Gorvett & Stone, Hotel<br />

Chocolat and Paul Wayne Gregory<br />

all hosting their own events to<br />

coincide with the celebration, delis<br />

and chocolate shops alike are set to<br />

get involved. “This year we’re<br />

planning on walking around our<br />

local town and handing out free<br />

chocolates. We’ll also be giving out<br />

leaflets about the store and<br />

promotional vouchers to attract<br />

new custom,” says Ms Tetley.<br />

OCT<br />

Halloween<br />

It may not be as big in the UK as it<br />

is in America, but offering a few<br />

special seasonal chocolate lines for<br />

children is a great way of boosting<br />

autumn sales. “<strong>Chocolate</strong> and<br />

Halloween go hand in hand<br />

because of the associations with<br />

trick or treating. Lots of companies<br />

“Many retailers see October as the<br />

beginning of the chocolate ‘season’.<br />

Sales really start to increase as the<br />

long summer evenings draw in”<br />

offer themed products and the<br />

celebration is a great excuse to get<br />

the shop all decorated. It never<br />

fails to grab attention,” she adds.<br />

Christmas<br />

“<strong>Chocolate</strong> is a<br />

star-seller at<br />

Christmas.<br />

People want gift<br />

boxes, novelty<br />

children’s bars and figures or even<br />

just a treat to munch around the<br />

fire,” says Ms Shirran. During the<br />

festive period the store balances its<br />

selection between items that have<br />

proven popular in the past and<br />

innovative new lines. “This year we’re<br />

trialling truffles and chocolates from<br />

Prestat. The products are available in<br />

some really exciting flavours and the<br />

presentation is beautiful, which is so<br />

important when people are buying<br />

premium gifts,” she adds.<br />

The key to shifting as much stock as<br />

possible in the run-up to Christmas is<br />

offering lots of items at different<br />

price points. The Denbigh <strong>Chocolate</strong><br />

Shop has gift sets ranging in price<br />

from £3 to £100. “Although people<br />

are willing to pay up to £100 for a<br />

DEC<br />

really special gift you need to give<br />

them lots of options. We have<br />

cellophane bags with truffles inside<br />

for a few pounds, chocolate pizzas<br />

and boxes for about £10 and then<br />

big hampers and ornate jewellery<br />

boxes at the higher end of the<br />

scale,” explains Ms Tetley. She has<br />

also noticed an increase in demand<br />

for party favours for both dinner<br />

parties or corporate Christmas<br />

events. “There’s plenty of money to<br />

be made from large and small<br />

companies in your area. Despite the<br />

recession, many businesses like to<br />

splash out on their staff at<br />

Christmas, so approach them and tell<br />

them what you can offer,” she adds.<br />

DIARY DATES<br />

www.specialityfoodmagazine.co.uk 19


PRODUCTION<br />

Day<br />

Eating chocolate may be a brief moment of<br />

pleasure for most customers, but here Duffy<br />

in the<br />

Sheardown of Red Star <strong>Chocolate</strong> details<br />

how it takes significantly longer to produce<br />

Life<br />

quality confectionery<br />

of a Chocolatier<br />

W<br />

hen I first started Red Star<br />

<strong>Chocolate</strong> a year ago<br />

I had never been to a<br />

chocolate factory of any kind and<br />

I have arrived where I am today<br />

through trial and error.<br />

When investigating a process<br />

or recipe and needing to modify it<br />

in anyway, I will only change one<br />

item (a temperature or a ratio<br />

perhaps) at a time, so I can be sure<br />

I know which particular factor<br />

affects the outcome. But, mostly<br />

I follow a similar procedure every<br />

time and this is how my day<br />

normally pans out.<br />

When a new batch of cocoa<br />

beans arrives at the factory I need<br />

to perform a test roast. Using a<br />

simple commercial baking oven<br />

I roast the beans in a single layer<br />

on a perforated tray for 45<br />

minutes, removing a few beans at<br />

the 20 minute mark and every two<br />

minutes thereafter until the end.<br />

These beans are labelled and<br />

bagged and then subject to a<br />

careful taste-test, I select the roast<br />

time that delivers the most<br />

potential from the bean. I am<br />

always looking for the greatest<br />

breadth of flavours and once the<br />

ideal time has been decided upon,<br />

the first batch of beans are roasted<br />

– again in a single layer on<br />

perforated trays.<br />

Into cocoa nibs<br />

The roasted beans are then quickly<br />

cooled, broken into small pieces by<br />

a small laboratory-scale machine<br />

whereby the shell fragments are<br />

removed. This leaves a batch of<br />

clean cocoa nibs that are weighed<br />

prior to the refining and conching<br />

processes starting. Each broken<br />

20 www.specialityfoodmagazine.co.uk<br />

piece of bean is about the size of<br />

a match head!<br />

After the nibs have been<br />

sourced, I use a low-speed granite<br />

grinder with two rollers and a<br />

rotating granite base for both the<br />

initial refining of the nibs and for the<br />

subsequent conching. Bigger<br />

operations use different machines for<br />

each stage which is more effective –<br />

but more expensive to buy.<br />

The nibs are then added a kilo<br />

at a time to the grinder. The rollers<br />

crush the pieces of bean into a thick<br />

dry paste which gradually loosens<br />

and turns into liquid as the particle<br />

size reduces and the friction warms<br />

the mix up. Over two or three hours<br />

all the nibs are added and then the<br />

grinder is left for a good few hours<br />

to refine the nibs down to a thin<br />

cocoa liquor. Nothing else has been<br />

added so far...<br />

Conching process<br />

The conching process, which really<br />

converts the thin and bitter 100%<br />

cocoa liquor into hopefully delicious<br />

chocolate, begins when sugar is<br />

added to the mix. The sugar has<br />

been dried and pre-ground and is<br />

gradually added over a two hour<br />

period. Heat is applied and this,<br />

together with the mixing friction of<br />

the granite against the cocoa and<br />

sugar particles, drives off more of<br />

the acidic volatiles and imparts the<br />

cocoa flavours into the sugar.<br />

The flavours of the finished<br />

chocolate develops over time. After<br />

12 hours it is raw and immature,<br />

after 24 it has more depth but little<br />

in the way of aftertaste and by the<br />

time it has been conched for 48<br />

hours or more, all the flavours are<br />

fully present and the complex<br />

“A quality chocolate bar should<br />

break with a nice clean snap”<br />

aftertaste has arrived.<br />

I take the temperature of the<br />

chocolate every hour during the<br />

day and keep a note of it. I also<br />

taste the chocolate every hour as<br />

there is no golden rule regarding<br />

conching – once the chocolate<br />

stops improving it is done. I add<br />

some cocoa butter (which is<br />

pressed from cocoa beans) to<br />

ensure that the texture of the<br />

chocolate isn’t too waxy or dry.<br />

And, 0.25% of soya lecithin is<br />

added to make the chocolate more<br />

readily mouldable and allows it to<br />

mix for another few hours.<br />

Finishing touches<br />

All that is left to do is to temper<br />

the chocolate and mould it.<br />

“Tempering” is a means of<br />

ensuring that the correct<br />

proportion of the right kind of<br />

crystals are present in the finished<br />

bars. A chocolate bar should<br />

break with a nice clean ‘snap’. If<br />

you’ve ever left chocolate in your<br />

car on a hot day you will notice it<br />

never regains that crispness once<br />

it has overheated and melted. The<br />

actual process is simple and just<br />

involves heating the chocolate<br />

until all the crystals are melted<br />

then cooling it quickly so the<br />

right “phase” crystals are created.<br />

It is then essential to warm it<br />

slightly before it turns into a<br />

semi-solid sludge that is<br />

impossible to work with.<br />

The tempered chocolate is<br />

poured into bar moulds by hand<br />

with a ladle and cooled briefly in<br />

the fridge before being tapped out<br />

of the moulds, hand-wrapped in foil<br />

and covered with a paper wrapper.<br />

The essence of all these<br />

processes is very simple and the<br />

equipment is often basic. A little<br />

extra care and attention and more<br />

time than is usually allocated,<br />

should enable you to make fine<br />

chocolate bars.


SourcingPalm<br />

The controversial issue of palm oil continues to<br />

hit the headlines on a daily basis, but is it really as<br />

bad for the environment as the media suggests?<br />

Here, Ian Duff, a forest campaigner for<br />

Greenpeace explains<br />

emand for palm oil is<br />

growing every year. At the<br />

Dmoment, it is present in<br />

hundreds of food products – from<br />

margarine and chocolate to cream<br />

cheese and oven chips. But, while<br />

the western world reap the<br />

benefits, the cost to the<br />

environment and the global climate<br />

is devastating – to feed this<br />

demand, tropical rainforests and<br />

peatlands in South East Asia are<br />

being torn up to provide land for<br />

oil palm plantations.<br />

Our consumption of palm oil is<br />

rocketing: compared to levels in<br />

2000, demand is predicted to more<br />

than double by 2030 and to triple by<br />

2050. Over 70% ends up in food,<br />

but the biofuels industry is expanding<br />

rapidly. Indonesia already has six<br />

million hectares of oil palm<br />

plantations, but has plans for another<br />

four million by 2015 dedicated to<br />

biofuel production alone.<br />

Hearing news such as this can<br />

often leave the small retailer<br />

questioning its use in the brands they<br />

stock, which is why Greenpeace is<br />

sending out the message that palm<br />

oil is not necessary against the use of<br />

it, as long as it is not causing longterm<br />

damage.<br />

What is Greenpeace’s opinion<br />

of the use of palm oil?<br />

As an organisation, Greenpeace is<br />

not anti-palm oil at all, we actually<br />

see it as a viable commodity that is<br />

important for the Indonesian<br />

economy. What we do have a<br />

problem with is palm oil that has<br />

come from rainforest destruction,<br />

and unfortunately the majority of it<br />

does. And, with the demand<br />

growing for it every year, that is set<br />

to put greater pressure on<br />

Indonesian forests. I would say our<br />

big grievance is with the<br />

companies using the unsustainable<br />

oil on a mass scale and therefore<br />

causing environmental problems.<br />

This is the reason we held a<br />

large campaign a little while ago<br />

which focused on businesses like<br />

Nestle who were sourcing its palm<br />

oil from one of the most infamous<br />

suppliers in Indonesia called Ciena<br />

Mass. This supplier has a track<br />

record in clearing rainforest and<br />

carbon-rich peatland and our<br />

demand on Nestle was not to stop<br />

using the oil but to start using it<br />

from companies that were not<br />

clearing natural landscapes.<br />

Putting aside the massmarket<br />

brands, how can<br />

independents ensure they<br />

are selling ethical products?<br />

Our call-out to independent<br />

retailers is not to stop stocking<br />

products that contain palm oil but<br />

for them to try and communicate<br />

to the makers of the confectionery.<br />

And, found out firstly if they are<br />

using it and secondly, how they are<br />

sourcing it and what their policies<br />

are? It is important to check our<br />

independents are not buying from<br />

companies that are destroying<br />

rainforests. It can be quite difficult<br />

for a small retailer to navigate<br />

through this and we recognise this<br />

issue, which is why the majority of<br />

our campaigns are aimed at<br />

supermarkets.<br />

However, it is something that<br />

independents need to be aware of<br />

and what they can do is check with<br />

the producers the traceability of<br />

PALM OIL<br />

the palm oil used in products. And,<br />

if they are buying from a large<br />

company like Cargill (biggest<br />

commodity traders) then they need<br />

to be asking what guarantees can<br />

you give which proves you are not<br />

driving deforestation. An example<br />

of this could be when stocking an<br />

organic chocolate bar, a small<br />

retailer could write to the<br />

manufacturers of the products and<br />

found out where the palm oil is<br />

coming from and the sustainability<br />

of it. Just as buyers would ask if<br />

there are any genetically modified<br />

ingredients in the products, in the<br />

same vein they can ask about the<br />

traceability of the oil. Most shop<br />

keepers have good relationships<br />

with their suppliers so it can often<br />

be easy enough to do.<br />

*With thanks to the Greenpeace<br />

organisation who provided<br />

all the statistics and<br />

information featured<br />

www.specialityfoodmagazine.co.uk 21


SF PROMOTION<br />

House of Sarunds<br />

While nothing can claim to be totally recession proof, especially in today’s<br />

unique times, chocolate is one commodity that generally fairs well.<br />

The following 5 points can only<br />

increase the chances of it being<br />

‘recession proof’.<br />

An affordable treat –<br />

make sure that you have<br />

1quality products at all price<br />

points. With the current ‘doom and<br />

gloom’, people need a treat to lift<br />

their spirits. Coined the ‘lipstick<br />

effect’ by cosmetics giant Leonard<br />

Lauder who noticed that during a<br />

recession people would stretch to<br />

life’s little luxuries such as lipstick.<br />

Good quality chocolate is perfectly<br />

placed to benefit too<br />

Make sure your customer<br />

service is up to scratch.<br />

2Product knowledge and a good<br />

welcome are especially important<br />

when there is so much competition for<br />

every pound spent. During a recession<br />

people naturally ‘shop around’ and<br />

look for someone they can trust, value<br />

and, most importantly, feel valued for<br />

their custom.<br />

Stock quality chocolate –<br />

fancy packaging with ‘fill’<br />

3will only lead to<br />

disappointment, definitely not<br />

return business. It is important that<br />

customers feel they are getting<br />

what they paid for. ‘One off’ sales<br />

are great, but strong businesses are<br />

built on regular, returning and<br />

satisfied customers.<br />

Provide value for money –<br />

during a recession people will<br />

4think more carefully before<br />

spending. Value for money is key in<br />

today’s times, do not fall into the<br />

trap that this means cheap, it is<br />

quality products at the right price.<br />

Innovation – Do not give up<br />

innovation in the current<br />

5economic climate. Customer<br />

opinions do not change – they<br />

always look to see something new<br />

and exciting. If you pack your own<br />

chocolates that extra bit of effort<br />

now will reap rewards later. Times<br />

are obviously hard but shops must<br />

remain strong and adapt where<br />

necessary to encourage consumer<br />

spend. Remember, people still have<br />

money to spend and, judging by<br />

recent retail figures, are happy to<br />

spend it, where one industry looses<br />

out another must pick up and<br />

traditionally the confectionery<br />

industry rides out a recession very<br />

well. Looking at our own sales, and<br />

speaking with many of you, to me<br />

it shows people are definitely still<br />

buying quality confectionery and<br />

there is still a good atmosphere<br />

within the industry. Don’t let other<br />

industry reports dampen your spirits<br />

and sales, continue to market your<br />

unique selling points, the quality<br />

of your products as we have<br />

always recommended and<br />

bring in those sales, it’s all<br />

about trading smart. We are always<br />

on hand or at the end of the phone<br />

to offer help and our experience<br />

and knowledge, as any good<br />

supplier should be, don’t forget<br />

you are not alone out there!<br />

22 www.specialityfoodmagazine.co.uk


SWEETS<br />

Blastfrom thePast<br />

With old-fashioned sweet shops popping up all over the country, cola cubes and<br />

lemon sherberts have never been more in vogue. Natasha Lovell-Smith<br />

investigates a booming sector<br />

G<br />

oogle the phrase ‘oldfashioned<br />

sweets’ and you<br />

will see pages of<br />

companies offering retro and<br />

traditional confectionery of all<br />

shapes and sizes – from<br />

liquorice sticks and treacle<br />

toffee to gummy bears and<br />

mint humbugs. This trend has<br />

certainly filtered down to the<br />

high street; over the past five<br />

years countless independent<br />

sweet shops and franchises<br />

have opened up in all<br />

corners of the country.<br />

Delis and farm shops have<br />

also got involved, with<br />

many now dedicating entire<br />

sections of their stores to<br />

retro specialities.<br />

However, with all the<br />

major supermarkets now<br />

offering their own versions<br />

of classics such as coconut<br />

mushrooms and pear<br />

drops for typically low<br />

prices, how can speciality<br />

stores maintain a foothold in this<br />

growing category? “Consumers are<br />

beginning to realise that there are<br />

pineapple cubes and there are<br />

pineapple cubes. There are literally<br />

hundreds of different varieties on the<br />

market, but the quality of these<br />

sweets varies enormously,” says Mark<br />

Rowntree, joint managing director of<br />

confectionery company Bon Bon’s.<br />

“The supermarket versions may<br />

be cheap, but they can’t match<br />

proper, traditionally-made sweets<br />

when it comes to flavour and<br />

colour,” he continues. The<br />

company sells an extensive range<br />

of treats, from chocolate mice and<br />

jazzies to rosy apples and flavoured<br />

liquorice. “All of our lines are<br />

sourced from tiny, regional<br />

producers that have been making<br />

sweets the same way for decades.<br />

Of course, there are lots of<br />

companies manufacturing them<br />

very cheaply on a large scale, but<br />

the taste just doesn’t compare,”<br />

adds Mr Rowntree.<br />

Retro revival<br />

Country Harvest, a large food<br />

business in Lancashire, has recently<br />

introduced a significant selection of<br />

traditional sweets into its food hall.<br />

“We’ve toyed with the idea of<br />

stocking this kind of confectionery<br />

for a while and have experimented<br />

with a range of lines, but about a<br />

year ago the trend seemed to be<br />

really kicking off, so we decided to<br />

go for it and dedicated a large wall<br />

near the tills to all kinds of brightly<br />

coloured sweets,” explains Sam<br />

Dixon, food hall assistant. The shop<br />

now has almost 100 different<br />

sweets, with toffee bon bons,<br />

strawberry and cream boiled<br />

sweets and traditional fudge<br />

proving particularly popular.<br />

“When selling this kind of food the<br />

visual impact is integral. You can’t<br />

just stick a few bags on a shelf and<br />

hope people will notice them –<br />

make a neat and colourful display<br />

that really inspires people. The<br />

beauty of many of these products<br />

www.specialityfoodmagazine.co.uk 23


SWEETS<br />

is that they have quite long shelf<br />

lives, so you can afford to buy a<br />

substantial amount without<br />

worrying whether or not they will<br />

sell quickly,” she continues.<br />

Although speciality retailers are<br />

bound to exclusively stock premium<br />

quality sweets from small, artisan<br />

producers, the majority of products<br />

on the market are still relatively<br />

affordable. Indeed, many retailers<br />

accredit the recession with<br />

boosting the popularity of more<br />

reasonably-priced treats. “Demand<br />

has definitely increased over the<br />

past couple of years. Everyone talks<br />

about the recession affecting the<br />

food industry but I think the<br />

market for retro sweets has<br />

actually prospered as a result of it,”<br />

says Ms Dixon.<br />

Dave Richardson, co-director of<br />

The Ultimate Candy Company, also<br />

believes the trend for<br />

affordable, nostalgic<br />

treats has increased<br />

because of the<br />

economic climate.<br />

“When times are<br />

tough, people go back to what<br />

makes them smile. People<br />

remember products like coconut<br />

ice, butter fudge and chocolate<br />

crumble mints from their<br />

childhood, so eating it makes them<br />

feel happy and comforted,”<br />

explains Mr Richardson. Interest in<br />

the company’s selection of<br />

flavoured fudge, chocolate-covered<br />

honeycomb pieces and luxury<br />

toffee has steadily risen during the<br />

recession. “As well as stocking<br />

loads of delis and farm shops in<br />

the UK, we also import to 16<br />

different countries. Our products<br />

seem to go down particularly well<br />

in Switzerland, which is a massive<br />

compliment considering the<br />

amazing quality of their own<br />

confectionery!” he adds.<br />

Creating an experience<br />

The presence of so many new<br />

sweet shops on the British high<br />

street is testament to this growing<br />

demand. Back in 2004, Mr Simms<br />

Olde Sweet Shoppe – a fastexpanding<br />

chain of old-fashioned<br />

sweet shops – opened its first<br />

outlet in Leek, Staffordshire. Today,<br />

the business has stores all over the<br />

country in locations such as<br />

Colchester, Romford and Stafford.<br />

Similarly, the more contemporarystyle<br />

sweet shop chain Sugacane is<br />

expanding even more rapidly, with<br />

stores opening in London,<br />

Cornwall, Sheffield, Chelmsford<br />

and Liverpool in 2010. This might<br />

seem like a threat to small<br />

independents, but many retailers<br />

simply see it as a sign that the<br />

sector is ripe for the picking.<br />

“We’re currently looking to<br />

expand into traditional sweets<br />

because it seems to be one of the<br />

most lucrative trends to happen for<br />

a very long time,” says Susan Lord,<br />

owner of Lords Farm Shop in<br />

Colchester. She recently visited the<br />

<strong>Speciality</strong> & Fine <strong>Food</strong>s Fair 2010<br />

for a bit of inspiration. “There were<br />

some really beautiful products on<br />

show, which has convinced me to<br />

focus on developing my selection<br />

over the next year,” she explains.<br />

Mrs Lords is planning to set up a<br />

display of quality sweets in oldfashioned<br />

jars behind the counter.<br />

“In many ways it’s a lost tradition<br />

that’s making a come-back. From<br />

the research I’ve done it seems that<br />

many consumers look back<br />

longingly at the days when you<br />

would pop down to your village<br />

shop and buy a pound of this or<br />

half pound of that. Offering sweets<br />

that taste like they ought to –<br />

combined with a really personal<br />

service – gives retailers a clear<br />

point of difference from the<br />

multiples,” she adds.<br />

Old and young<br />

However, traditional treats are also<br />

proving popular with the younger<br />

generation. “People love sweets no<br />

matter how old they are. The key<br />

to covering all the bases is offering<br />

products that all ages will enjoy,”<br />

explains Emma Walker, marketing<br />

director at well-established toffee<br />

producer Walkers’ Nonsuch.<br />

“Because the company is over 100<br />

years old we have a genuine<br />

history that the older generation<br />

really appreciate. People are always<br />

talking about nostalgia and<br />

tradition, but in our cause the<br />

‘story’ is true – we actually make a<br />

product that people will remember<br />

from their childhood,” she adds.<br />

However, alongside its selection<br />

of old-fashioned toffees, including<br />

English Creamy, Nutty Brazil and<br />

Treacle, the company also offers a<br />

selection of products targeted<br />

specifically at younger consumers.<br />

“Children absolutely love our Banana<br />

Eclairs. Even though they don’t<br />

necessarily appreciate the nostalgia<br />

factor, the flavour just really seems to<br />

appeal to younger palates,” she<br />

adds. Bon Bon’s has also successfully<br />

targeted this demographic. “Children<br />

love anything fun and colourful,<br />

and our Teeny Tiny Turtles and<br />

Rainbow Flutterbys do incredibly<br />

well with this age group. Often the<br />

name of a product can really bring it<br />

to life – although they really must<br />

taste as good as they look.<br />

Otherwise your customers won’t<br />

be back for more,” concludes<br />

Mr Rowntree.<br />

“The supermarket versions may be<br />

cheap, but they can’t match proper,<br />

traditionally-made sweets when it<br />

comes to flavour and colour”<br />

24 www.specialityfoodmagazine.co.uk


FAIRTRADE<br />

<strong>Chocolate</strong><br />

with a<br />

Conscience<br />

The latest statistics have revealed three out of five<br />

customers prefer to buy Fairtrade chocolate. With<br />

the desire to buy ethical confectionery growing<br />

considerably amongst shoppers, retailers should<br />

be stocking up to meet demand<br />

arlier this year, market<br />

research company GlobeScan<br />

E surveyed 1,500 people on<br />

their ethical purchasing habits and<br />

found that 62% of consumers in<br />

the UK said Fairtrade was their first<br />

choice when purchasing chocolate<br />

and cocoa.<br />

Recognition of the blue and<br />

green Fairtrade mark now stands<br />

at 72%– which means a whopping<br />

three in four people know that the<br />

Fairtrade symbol on products is a<br />

guarantee that disadvantaged<br />

producers are getting a better deal.<br />

Last year, sales of Fairtrade<br />

chocolate confectionery grew by a<br />

significant 147% reaching an<br />

estimated retail sales value of £79<br />

million. In part, this was due to<br />

mainstream brands like Cadbury’s<br />

converting popular products like Dairy<br />

Milk to Fairtrade, but also because<br />

the popularity and range of Fairtrade<br />

chocolate continues to grow with<br />

consumers, retailers and celebrities.<br />

TV chef Jamie Oliver has<br />

launched a range of four Fairtrade<br />

chocolate bars deliciously named,<br />

Tall Dark and Handsome, Some Like<br />

it Hot, Get Fresh and Light my Fire.<br />

And, following in the same vein is<br />

speciality food shop favourite, The<br />

Organic Seed & Bean Company,<br />

which has created a sumptuous<br />

range of organic and Fairtrade<br />

© 2009, Fairtrade Foundation<br />

chocolate with great combinations<br />

such as Lavender, Lime, Rose<br />

and Mint. The team is also<br />

planning to launch a new range<br />

of bars in Autumn 2010 – so<br />

watch this space.<br />

Another chocolatier keen to<br />

promote Fairtrade values is Plush<br />

<strong>Chocolate</strong>s. Plush offer a wide<br />

selection of high-quality,<br />

innovative, unusual and, most<br />

importantly delicious Fairtrade<br />

chocolates. Launched in 2008,<br />

Jenny Sliverthorne-Wright, coowner,<br />

explains why the company<br />

endorse ethical confectionery.<br />

“Fairtrade is at the heart of what<br />

we do and as producers we want<br />

to guarantee a fair price for<br />

everyone including those at the<br />

very start of the chain. As<br />

supporters of Fairtrade we want<br />

to ensure a ‘win-win’ situation,<br />

for both consumer and farmer.”<br />

Simply divine<br />

As the popularity of Fairtrade<br />

increases, licensees continue to be<br />

innovative and find new<br />

communities to source from.<br />

Divine, the only Fairtrade chocolate<br />

company co-owned by cocoa<br />

farmers has been working with<br />

Kupa Kokoo in Ghana since 1998<br />

and have recently started sourcing<br />

cocoa from Sierra Leone, a country<br />

that for ten years was ravaged by a<br />

brutal and disruptive civil war.<br />

Sophie Tranchell, Divine<br />

<strong>Chocolate</strong>’s managing director<br />

comments, “The cocoa is coming<br />

from the only Fairtrade certified cooperative<br />

in Sierra Leone, Kpeya<br />

Agricultural Enterprise (KAE). This<br />

amazing achievement in both<br />

creating a cooperative and trading<br />

company, and in addition meeting<br />

all the criteria necessary to be<br />

Fairtrade certified is to be<br />

celebrated as hopefully it brings<br />

with it a promise that the fortunes<br />

and prospects of the country’s<br />

farmers can be turned around.”<br />

Later this year, consumers will<br />

start to see the Fairtrade mark<br />

appear on the entire range of Green<br />

& Black’s chocolate bar and beverage<br />

range, another independent shops’<br />

favourite. The range will be rolled<br />

out across all of their 30 global<br />

markets making Green & Black’s the<br />

largest organic Fairtrade chocolate<br />

brand in the world.<br />

Harriet Lamb, the executive<br />

director of the Fairtrade Foundation,<br />

says this commitment demonstrates<br />

a new chapter in the partnership<br />

with Green & Black’s and Fairtrade.<br />

“Green and Black’s Maya Gold was<br />

one of the first products to carry the<br />

Fairtrade mark and this global switch<br />

means that even more cocoa farmers<br />

from the Dominican Republic and<br />

other developing countries will be<br />

able to participate in Fairtrade. In<br />

addition to cocoa, Green & Black’s<br />

will source other organic Fairtrade<br />

certified ingredients such as sugar,<br />

26 www.specialityfoodmagazine.co.uk


vanilla and coffee for its ranges,<br />

opening up new opportunities for<br />

Fairtrade farmers around the world.”<br />

Recession proof<br />

Consumer trust in the Fairtrade mark<br />

is growing according to the<br />

GlobeScan research mentioned<br />

earlier. It is currently high as it came<br />

out as the most trusted certification<br />

label recently. Cheryl Sloan,<br />

Marketing Director at the Fairtrade<br />

Foundation said: “It is very<br />

encouraging that UK consumers<br />

continue to be very receptive to<br />

Fairtrade and show high levels<br />

of awareness, familiarity<br />

and purchasing.”<br />

The message behind Fairtrade<br />

system is simple and clear for<br />

consumers to understand. Fairtrade<br />

works to enable the empowerment<br />

of the most marginalised within<br />

the global trade system – smallscale<br />

farmers and workers. By<br />

favouring democratic organisations<br />

of small farmers, Fairtrade provides<br />

the stability that rural families need<br />

to survive and plan for the future.<br />

By ensuring that farmers<br />

receive at least the Fairtrade<br />

minimum price which aims to cover<br />

producers’ costs of sustainable<br />

production, farmers have a safety<br />

net for times when trade prices fall<br />

below a sustainable level. When the<br />

market price is higher than the<br />

Fairtrade minimum, the buyer must<br />

pay the market price. In the current<br />

FAIRTRADE<br />

climate of volatile commodity<br />

markets – which have seen cocoa<br />

prices hit a 30-year high – Fairtrade<br />

farmers are finding that they are<br />

better equipped to negotiate higher<br />

prices, because they are armed with<br />

global market information.<br />

Lastly, on top of stable prices,<br />

producer organisations are paid a<br />

Fairtrade premium – additional<br />

funds to invest in social or<br />

economic development projects.<br />

The premium is most often<br />

invested in education and<br />

healthcare, farm improvements to<br />

increase yield and quality, or<br />

processing facilities to increase<br />

income. These projects can bring<br />

change to the whole community.<br />

The Fairtrade Foundation itself<br />

is responding to consumer appetite<br />

for Fairtrade with more consumer<br />

marketing campaigns all year<br />

round. The Fairtrade Foundation<br />

has revamped and re-evaluated the<br />

way in which it uses social tools<br />

such as Facebook and Twitter in<br />

response to a changing<br />

communications environment.<br />

Plans are underway for an<br />

interactive website link to a<br />

Fairtrade community, so consumers<br />

can chat to Fairtrade farmers and<br />

their families directly about the<br />

benefits of Fairtrade and get an<br />

insight into their everyday lives.<br />

Fairtrade is also working once<br />

again with creative agency Widen<br />

& Kennedy to produce eyecatching<br />

point of sales materials for<br />

next year’s Fairtrade Fortnight 2011<br />

(28 February- 13 March) which will<br />

available to order from the website<br />

from December onwards.<br />

The Fairtrade grassroots<br />

consumer base continues to grow<br />

and will hit the 500th Fairtrade<br />

town mark in October. These<br />

strong networks of family, friends<br />

and work colleagues actively<br />

promote Fairtrade and research<br />

show that one third of people first<br />

learn about Fairtrade through these<br />

personal networks.<br />

With continued consumer<br />

demand, product innovations,<br />

launches, marketing campaigns<br />

and grassroots support, the<br />

Fairtrade Foundation is moving<br />

closer than ever to tipping the<br />

balance in favour of small-scale<br />

© 2009, Dominican Republic, Simon Rawles<br />

www.specialityfoodmagazine.co.uk 27


MEET THE BUYER<br />

Life is<br />

Sweet<br />

Kate Martin, owner of Shingle & Sherbet reveals<br />

how her sweet tooth has turned into a profitable<br />

business venture<br />

s soon as you walk into<br />

Shingle & Sherbet you are<br />

A greeted with the delicate<br />

scent of sugary goodness and a<br />

delicious display of retro delights. It<br />

seems the owner has successfully<br />

married the nostalgia of oldfashioned<br />

sweets with modern<br />

colourings and design, but where,<br />

why and how did it all begin?<br />

The story behind Shingle &<br />

Sherbet began on Aldeburgh’s<br />

High Street in April 2009. The shop<br />

was bought by Kate Martin after<br />

several fond childhood memories<br />

triggered her business proposition.<br />

“The shop I took over used to be a<br />

sweet shop when I was a child. It<br />

was called Charlie’s Newsagents<br />

and I often visited there to buy my<br />

two ounces of sugared almonds<br />

every week. I always dreamed of<br />

owning a confectionery shop and<br />

as soon as the property went on<br />

sale, it inspired me to take up the<br />

opportunity. It was nostalgia<br />

really,” explains Kate.<br />

repellent! Selling items such as just<br />

doesn’t work, you got to provide<br />

good things. Customers often want<br />

decent old-fashioned candies and<br />

you have to meet demand. It’s like a<br />

trip down memory lane for most<br />

and as a retailer you need to make<br />

sure their experience is as enjoyable<br />

as possible. Sometimes, older<br />

customers will come in and ask for<br />

sweets I may never have heard of,<br />

but I take time to do some research<br />

and find out more about a particular<br />

type. I think people remember<br />

different sweets depending on<br />

where they grew up, and they often<br />

use nicknames for the same<br />

confectionery,” explains Kate.<br />

Design matters<br />

As well as offering a collection<br />

which matches customers’<br />

requests, presentation has also<br />

been a key part of the shop’s<br />

success. As the shop seems to<br />

successfully blend retro chic with<br />

modernism. “I used to work in art<br />

“I chose a very clean<br />

white background so the sweets<br />

really stood out and looked like<br />

glistening jewels”<br />

It seems enjoying sweets was<br />

not just a childhood pastime for<br />

Kate, as she stills enjoys a treat<br />

every now and again, and believes<br />

the business was born out of a love<br />

for all things sugary. “I do have a<br />

very sweet tooth and I love all the<br />

old-fashioned sweets. My favourites<br />

are bon bons and they are probably<br />

the most popular sellers too. You<br />

can get thousands of flavours but<br />

we have selected five types, and in<br />

my opinion the best ones are<br />

rhubarb and custard.” And, after<br />

trying a few sweets in-store, it<br />

becomes instantly recognisable that<br />

the sweets found in Shingle &<br />

Sherbet are of a high quality<br />

because the tastes are flavoursome<br />

and very authentic.<br />

“I think stocking good quality<br />

sweets is very important. Before we<br />

opened the business my son went<br />

into another sweet shop and<br />

brought some chocolate buttons,<br />

which were waxy and almost<br />

galleries so I quite aware of the<br />

visual impact of the sweets. I chose<br />

a very clean white background so<br />

the treats really stood out and<br />

looked like glistening jewels almost.<br />

However, it doesn’t always look like<br />

that, especially when you come in<br />

on a Saturday afternoon, after<br />

being ravished by small children!”<br />

laughs Kate.<br />

The main inspiration for a<br />

modern design came after Kate<br />

had visited many long-standing<br />

sweet shops which featured lots of<br />

dark wood - often creating a dreary<br />

and gloomy atmosphere. “I wanted<br />

to create the opposite to those very<br />

dark traditional sweet shops which<br />

often have sticky floors. I hate that<br />

sort of crusty feeling when the<br />

shopkeeper shakes the jar and<br />

there is something nasty at the<br />

bottom! I couldn’t bear that!” To<br />

keep a fresh looking display, Kate<br />

has also taken to removing the<br />

sweets from the suppliers’ plastic<br />

28 www.specialityfoodmagazine.co.uk


MEET THE BUYER<br />

pots and putting them into glass<br />

jars, she stresses that it’s quite<br />

labour-intensive, but worth it in the<br />

long-run. “I have noticed that if a<br />

jar is left sticky with finger-prints<br />

in-store, customers won’t go near<br />

it. It’s amazing the reaction you<br />

received once it’s cleaned. No-one<br />

wants to look at something that is<br />

not 100% perfect.”<br />

And, this cleaner, more<br />

modern take on the old-fashioned<br />

candy shop must have worked<br />

because Kate attracts customers<br />

ranging from ‘grannies’ to builders.<br />

“Surprisingly, one of our biggest<br />

customers is the local workmen. If<br />

there is any construction work<br />

taking place on the High Street,<br />

they buy big quantities of things.<br />

They are quite decisive too and<br />

often know exactly what they<br />

want,” says Kate.<br />

While builders form part of the<br />

shop’s customer base. Kate is keen<br />

to stress the importance of the<br />

school holidays and how business<br />

booms once the summer hits. “Our<br />

biggest time is undoubtedly during<br />

the summer season when the<br />

children are off school and people<br />

start holidaying in the UK. We<br />

need to make as many sales as we<br />

can during this period because the<br />

winter months are a lot quieter<br />

and we are therefore not open as<br />

often,” explains Kate.<br />

Gift ideas<br />

To maximise summer sales and cater<br />

for the tourist market, the store<br />

offers quite a few gifted items. By<br />

taking regular sweets such as the<br />

strawberry milkshakes and putting<br />

them into a box or jar with pretty<br />

packaging, the product instantly<br />

becomes an present. “We offer<br />

chocolate pebbles in jars and they<br />

always sell straight away because we<br />

are based by the beach they instantly<br />

make a great gift to take home to<br />

friends,” says Kate. By the business<br />

issuing well-presented goodies, it<br />

gives customers that extra point of<br />

difference and offers an alternative<br />

to bagged sweets. “You do have to<br />

sell some higher priced items to keep<br />

people coming in. And, from a<br />

business point of view, it means that<br />

you only need ten customers at a<br />

time rather than 50,” explains Kate.<br />

Future plans<br />

While profits have been steady this<br />

year, are there any plans to expand the<br />

business by developing a website?<br />

“The next step is to set-up a website, I<br />

know there are a lot of websites<br />

selling sweets and I am not hoping to<br />

compete with that. But I do need to<br />

publish the full address and opening<br />

times online, and may look into<br />

offering more gift items. I think this<br />

will be a winter project because we do<br />

need to catch up,” concludes Kate.<br />

www.specialityfoodmagazine.co.uk 29


SEA SALTED CARAMELS<br />

A Modern<br />

With the demand for sea salted<br />

chocolate soaring, retailers need<br />

to be researching popular lines for inspiration.<br />

Louise Thomas of the <strong>Chocolate</strong><br />

Consultancy investigates<br />

aving kept a more than<br />

observant eye on the<br />

H international fine chocolate<br />

scene over the past six years and<br />

owing to a more than indulgent<br />

sweet tooth, I have been fascinated<br />

with the rising popularity of the<br />

salted caramel.<br />

The word caramel dates back<br />

to 1000AD, after the opening of<br />

the first industrial sugar refiner in<br />

Crete, evolved from an Arabic<br />

phrase, kurat al milh, meaning<br />

‘balls of sweet salt’. It was not until<br />

1932 that this was taken quite<br />

literally when rival<br />

French confiseurs<br />

from the Lower<br />

Normandy<br />

region, Galliot<br />

and Dupont<br />

d’Isigny,<br />

created a<br />

recipe for<br />

hard caramels<br />

using salted<br />

butter.<br />

And, even in the 21st century,<br />

the salted treat is proving popular.<br />

As a chocolate consultant, I often<br />

visit unacquainted chocolate<br />

houses and I always ask for the<br />

classic flavours, such as<br />

champagne, house truffles and<br />

pralines, as well as for the<br />

assistant's favourite. Ever<br />

increasingly, if not now standard,<br />

the usual answer is the house<br />

variation of salted caramel, making<br />

it a modern classic.<br />

It was not until 2003 that salted<br />

caramels reached our shores in the<br />

UK, after being introduced into<br />

Gordon Ramsay’s at Claridges by<br />

Gerard Coleman of Artisan du<br />

Chocolat. It is now an international<br />

phenomenon moving from culinary<br />

obsession to mass-market. This has<br />

been highlighted by Starbucks’<br />

2008 menu addition of the salted<br />

caramel hot chocolate in America.<br />

In the UK, I truly believe we are<br />

leading the chocolate industry both<br />

with regards to a high level of<br />

quality and innovation in flavour<br />

and technique. Here is a round up<br />

of some of the most celebrated<br />

salted caramels available on the UK<br />

market. Retailers should observe<br />

how the tastes are described and try<br />

and depict similar terminology when<br />

discussing new lines with customers.<br />

Hotel Chocolat: Salted<br />

Caramel Puddles<br />

A leading high-street<br />

chocolate retailer,<br />

but a company<br />

who have recently<br />

won me over<br />

with the launch<br />

of their Rabot<br />

Estate boutique<br />

in Borough<br />

Market, London<br />

and work in St. Lucia. These<br />

puddles refer back to a more<br />

traditional salted caramel recipe;<br />

glinting nuggets of hard salted<br />

caramel run through the buttery,<br />

sweet milk chocolate. I struggled to<br />

pick up any salt, finding this<br />

unsurprising as it is not an<br />

additional ingredient but<br />

incorporated into the chocolate,<br />

alongside paprika. However, it did<br />

leave a salty acidic burn, which was<br />

rather unpleasant and as the<br />

chocolate melted away the nuggets<br />

of caramel were left, grainy on the<br />

tongue. Although, I did find the<br />

sweet, creaminess of the milk<br />

chocolate incredibly moreish.<br />

The <strong>Chocolate</strong> Tree: Sea<br />

Salted Caramels<br />

The <strong>Chocolate</strong> Tree is a small-scaled<br />

chocolatier based in Scotland, who<br />

Classic<br />

is already starting to make a name<br />

for itself below the border.<br />

In comparison to the other<br />

salted caramel samples I received,<br />

this was a wet caramel ensconced<br />

in a relatively thick, dark chocolate<br />

shell, garnished with generously<br />

sized flakes of sea salt. Therefore,<br />

the sea salt flavour was dominant<br />

on the tongue when first biting<br />

into the caramel, rather than a<br />

secondary incorporated taste. It<br />

provided a big, salty kick,<br />

reminiscent of pressing your<br />

tongue against the back of an<br />

artisan crisp, which I enjoyed. The<br />

dark chocolate was bitter, this,<br />

unfortunately, lingered in the<br />

aftertaste, suggesting a poorer<br />

quality chocolate. The caramel was<br />

also paler in comparison and could<br />

have been taken a little further to<br />

enhance the buttery, nutty tones.<br />

Paul Wayne Gregory:<br />

Salted Caramel [part of the<br />

Pure Indulgence collection]<br />

Paul Wayne Gregory is the UK<br />

Ambassador for couverture<br />

company, Cacao Barry, and runs his<br />

chocolate studio in Croydon. He<br />

also won Silver for the Best<br />

Ganache Filled <strong>Chocolate</strong> award by<br />

the Academy of <strong>Chocolate</strong>, for his<br />

Salted Caramel bonbon in 2009.<br />

This filled chocolate is incredibly<br />

glossy, reminiscent of polished<br />

glass or dark bullion, perfectly<br />

moulded; thick enough to hold the<br />

caramel without leaking, but thin<br />

enough to crackle in the mouth<br />

and an accomplished ratio of<br />

caramel to chocolate. The<br />

consistency and texture here of the<br />

caramel is wonderfully buttery, like<br />

fresh fudge before it has set, with<br />

smoky undertones and subtle, salty<br />

spikes balanced by the sweeter<br />

notes of the caramel.<br />

Melt: Sea Salted<br />

Caramel Bonbon<br />

Melt's Sea Salted Caramel Bonbon<br />

won Silver for Best Filled <strong>Chocolate</strong><br />

at the Academy of <strong>Chocolate</strong><br />

awards in 2007. The same recipe is<br />

“It was not until 2003 that<br />

salted caramels reached our<br />

shores, after being introduced into<br />

Gordon Ramsay’s at Claridges”<br />

also used for its 45g Sea Salted<br />

Caramel bar, which won two gold<br />

stars at the Great Taste Awards<br />

earlier this year.<br />

With the Caramel Bonbons<br />

there is a nice mouth-feel and<br />

generous filling of a very wet<br />

caramel in a cocoa powder dusted<br />

shell. This is a smooth, glossy and<br />

buttery caramel flecked with vanilla<br />

seeds. I did find the vanilla<br />

overpowering, but overall it was<br />

relatively well balanced, with a<br />

strong cocoa smell emanating from<br />

the shell, indicating a good quality<br />

chocolate and cocoa powder.<br />

William Curley:<br />

Sea Salted Caramel<br />

Presented Best Chocolatier of the<br />

Year, 2007, 2008 and 2009, by the<br />

Academy of <strong>Chocolate</strong>, William<br />

Curley is internationally renowned<br />

for his fresh chocolates and<br />

patisserie. Influenced by his wife’s<br />

Japanese roots, fellow patisserie<br />

chef, Suzue, and his own Scottish<br />

background, he is best known for<br />

contemporary flavours including<br />

Japanese black vinegar, Thyme and<br />

Scottish Heather Honey and<br />

Apricot and Wasabi.<br />

30 www.specialityfoodmagazine.co.uk


SEA SALTED CARAMELS<br />

Again, this caramel was<br />

mentioned among chocolate review<br />

experts and food bloggers, however<br />

I found the shell quite thick and<br />

that the ratio of caramel to<br />

chocolate was too small. What<br />

caramel there was, however, was<br />

enjoyable; a darker, smokier caramel<br />

than the others, with notes of<br />

molasses and black treacle that<br />

were pulled into balance by a dash<br />

of sea salt. The texture was smooth,<br />

glossy and faultless, but not as wet<br />

as Melt or Paul A Young.<br />

Paul A. Young:<br />

Sea Salted Caramel<br />

Another foodie favourite and Gold<br />

winner of Best Filled <strong>Chocolate</strong> by<br />

the Academy of <strong>Chocolate</strong> in 2006<br />

followed by Silver in 2007. Paul A.<br />

Young prides himself on his fresh,<br />

handmade and seasonal<br />

collections, including Goats<br />

Cheese, Marmite and Port and<br />

Stilton, however, this is a constant<br />

in-house favourite.<br />

This was the most well<br />

balanced among the selection of<br />

award winners. When tasting filled<br />

chocolates you are looking for<br />

chocolate to be the first and last<br />

flavour, the filling should not<br />

overpower the taste and the natural<br />

flavour notes of the chocolate<br />

should compliment the flavour of<br />

the filling. This being a perfect<br />

example. Inside a thin dark shell<br />

was a generous filling of soft, wet<br />

caramel, in similar a style to Melt,<br />

with a distinct saltiness. That was<br />

reigned in by the sweetness of the<br />

caramel so it was not overpowering<br />

or acidic. This caramel had a distinct<br />

earthy, sweetness to it, slightly<br />

reminiscent of eating honey straight<br />

from the honeycomb, with a<br />

moreish buttery undertone, like hot<br />

buttered popcorn.<br />

What is the future of the<br />

salted caramel?<br />

In America the salted caramel has<br />

now entered mainstream<br />

consumption via Starbucks,<br />

Walmart and Häagen-Dazs, and the<br />

UK mass market will soon follow<br />

suit. Within the fine, culinary<br />

industry the salted caramel is<br />

continuing to evolve; UK<br />

chocolatiers are moving towards<br />

simplifying the salted caramel<br />

chocolate, using fine flavour milk<br />

chocolate with strong caramel and<br />

toffee notes to balance a generous<br />

dash of sea salt.<br />

Other new trends include solid<br />

milk chocolate bars generously<br />

scattered with sea salt flakes and sea<br />

salted caramel lollipops. This fun and<br />

original use of the nation’s favourite<br />

flavours and textures can only lead<br />

to more exciting and interesting<br />

flavour sensations. Which begs the<br />

question, what’s next?<br />

Louise Thomas is a chocolate consultant from the <strong>Chocolate</strong><br />

Consultancy Ltd. For more information contact her on 07729 287198,<br />

email louise@thechocolateconsultancy.com or visit the website<br />

www.thechocolateconsultancy.com<br />

www.specialityfoodmagazine.co.uk 31


DARK CHOCOLATE<br />

The<br />

Dark<br />

Side<br />

Gary Parkinson of The House of Sarunds looks<br />

at why dark chocolate has been a recession-proof<br />

purchase this year<br />

T<br />

he past year has been a very<br />

turbulent time for the<br />

economy and many in the<br />

retail chain have been searching for<br />

that product to buck the downward<br />

trend and strengthen sales.<br />

<strong>Chocolate</strong> is probably the best<br />

to fill that gap, with spirits in the<br />

UK at a low ebb many turn to<br />

‘creature comforts’ to pick them<br />

up. <strong>Chocolate</strong> has seen a 20%<br />

increase in sales in many sectors<br />

of the market.<br />

Turning to dark<br />

Within the chocolate sector there<br />

has been a real move towards dark<br />

chocolate. Traditionally the market<br />

sales have been split into 50%<br />

milk, 35% dark and 15% white<br />

chocolate, but today we have seen<br />

a dramatic change. It is now 45%<br />

milk, 45% dark and ten percent<br />

white chocolate that is purchased<br />

by the consumer. Why is this?<br />

Well, to understand this<br />

change we must look outside the<br />

industry to general consumer<br />

trends. The past three years have<br />

seen a real increase in fitness and a<br />

decision to ‘eat, drink and think<br />

healthy’. Gym membership has<br />

increased but with the ‘want it<br />

now’ culture many looked to find<br />

either a quicker fix, (the increase in<br />

plastic surgery for example), or to<br />

slightly modify their existing<br />

lifestyle without putting themselves<br />

out. This has lead to a large<br />

increase in tabloid press stories<br />

about healthy foods, for example<br />

the introduction of ‘super foods’<br />

such as the acai berry, (how many<br />

of us can claim to have heard of<br />

this before six months ago!). We all<br />

know of the muted benefits of red<br />

wine rather than white and close<br />

on its heals is the idea that dark<br />

chocolate is good for you, let’s take<br />

a look at that.<br />

Dark chocolate is essentially made<br />

from the cocoa bean with the<br />

addition of sugar and some cocoa<br />

butter and occasionally a little bit<br />

of milk. As the cocoa bean is a<br />

plant it actually contains many of<br />

the same health benefits as<br />

vegetables. Dark chocolate contains<br />

a large number of antioxidants<br />

(nearly eight times the number<br />

found in strawberries).<br />

The actual benefit is from<br />

flavonoids, also collectively known<br />

as Vitamin P and citrin, which are<br />

found naturally in the cocoa bean<br />

and when absorbed into the body<br />

act as antioxidants. Antioxidants<br />

protect the body from ageing,<br />

caused by the oxidisation of cells,<br />

which in turn can produce Free<br />

Radicals that damage and can kill<br />

cells in the body. Ultimately in<br />

some serious cases this can cause<br />

damage that leads to heart disease.<br />

Flavonoids have other health<br />

benefits, they help in the process of<br />

reducing blood pressure and can<br />

help balance certain hormones in<br />

the body. It has also been proved<br />

that dark chocolate has been<br />

shown to reduce LDL cholesterol by<br />

up to ten percent. Also of the three<br />

Benefits of dark chocolate<br />

● It tastes good<br />

● It stimulates endorphins<br />

production, which gives a<br />

feeling of pleasure<br />

● It contains serotonin, which<br />

acts as an anti-depressant<br />

● It contains theobromine,<br />

caffeine and other substances<br />

which are stimulants<br />

main fats in chocolate only one<br />

actually impacts on your cholesterol<br />

levels. Oleic Acid is a healthy monounsaturated<br />

fat that is also found in<br />

olive oil. Stearic Acid is a saturated<br />

fat but one which research shows<br />

has a neutral affect on cholesterol.<br />

Palmitic Acid is also a saturated fat,<br />

and the one which raises<br />

cholesterol and heart disease risk.<br />

So why should we only eat<br />

dark? Well, it has been proven<br />

that many dairy products, especially<br />

milk, could actually prevent<br />

antioxidants from being absorbed<br />

or used by the body. Quality<br />

dark chocolate is the best for<br />

these health benefits because a<br />

premium dark chocolate should<br />

contain little or no milk. Unfortunately,<br />

many of the poorer quality dark<br />

chocolate, (and when we say poor<br />

quality we don’t just mean cheap,<br />

many so called perceived ‘better<br />

brands’), actually use milk and<br />

flavourings to mask the lower quality<br />

cocoa, again dramatically reducing<br />

the health benefits.<br />

Remember all this should be<br />

taken with a pinch of salt, eating<br />

too much chocolate will always<br />

mean you put on weight and<br />

the health problems far outweigh<br />

the bonuses.<br />

32 www.specialityfoodmagazine.co.uk


How to<br />

Taste<br />

Sarah Jane Evans, author of <strong>Chocolate</strong> Unwrapped<br />

explains how retailers can assess new chocolate bars<br />

whilst revealing the art to customer tasting sessions<br />

T<br />

his section explains how to<br />

taste chocolate like an<br />

expert. Many people find it<br />

difficult to approach chocolate<br />

rationally – not only because it is<br />

so delicious, but also because it has<br />

so many varied associations with<br />

pleasure. Yet tasting is a<br />

straightforward process that<br />

everyone can learn. The most<br />

important point is to be systematic:<br />

this allows you to compare every<br />

chocolate on an equal footing.<br />

Before we start tasting, let’s<br />

consider why it is both interesting<br />

and useful to take it seriously. First,<br />

tasting systematically makes eating<br />

chocolate even more enjoyable.<br />

Using all the senses – sight,<br />

hearing, touch, smell, taste – really<br />

enhances the pleasure. Second, it<br />

makes chocolate memorable. Just<br />

like remembering a tune and being<br />

able to sing it later, tasting carefully<br />

means it is possible to recall the<br />

flavours. This is particularly useful<br />

to people involved in the chocolate<br />

business, whether chefs or<br />

retailers, but can benefit everyone<br />

who buys chocolate. Third,<br />

regular tasting helps develop<br />

a vocabulary. <strong>Chocolate</strong>,<br />

like any specialist food or<br />

drink, has its own<br />

language. Being able to use<br />

the right words to express a fine<br />

difference between chocolates will<br />

increase your enjoyment, as you<br />

will be able to select flavours and<br />

TASTINGS<br />

styles with confidence. Look at the<br />

packaging: several producers<br />

include tasting notes, which may<br />

help you to distinguish flavours.<br />

Finally, having honed your tasting<br />

skills with something as pleasurable<br />

as chocolate, you can then transfer<br />

them – to wine, to cheese and to<br />

other fine foods.<br />

The world of fine chocolate<br />

can be as intimidating as the world<br />

of fine wine. Learning to taste like<br />

the experts breaks down the<br />

barriers. Today’s fine chocolatiers<br />

are keen to welcome new<br />

enthusiasts without<br />

preconceptions. There are two<br />

ways to taste: fast and slow.<br />

To start with the fast: however<br />

keen to eat you are, this takes only<br />

a moment. There are three steps:<br />

Look, Listen, Sniff. Look – even a<br />

quick glance at the chocolate is<br />

revealing. Listen – for the snap as<br />

you break a square off the bar.<br />

Then sniff – savour the chocolate<br />

aromas. Now put it in your mouth,<br />

enjoying the character of the bar.<br />

However fast you look, listen and<br />

sniff, you must allow time for the<br />

melt. Let the chocolate release its<br />

flavours slowly.<br />

The slow method may at first<br />

seem pretentious, and certainly it is<br />

best practised with other chocolate<br />

lovers,or by yourself. I learned the<br />

formal principles of tasting through<br />

wine tasting, and found that it is<br />

best to develop your skills in<br />

www.specialityfoodmagazine.co.uk 33


TASTINGS<br />

private (especially since wine<br />

tasting involves spitting). However, I<br />

also learned that even the fast<br />

method can uncover plenty of<br />

information,without making it<br />

obvious to outsiders that one is<br />

doing a geeky tasting in one’s head.<br />

The slow method covers six<br />

stages: Appearance, Snap, Aroma,<br />

Texture, Flavour, Length. Make a<br />

note of your personal opinion at<br />

each stage.<br />

Appearance: Unwrapping a<br />

bar can be a theatrical<br />

1moment. Take time to look<br />

at the wrapper, and consider the<br />

care that has gone into it. Set it<br />

aside to refer to later. Unwrap the<br />

whole bar and look at it front and<br />

back. Consider the shape and<br />

decoration of the bar. Is there an<br />

appealing sheen? Are there any air<br />

holes, signs of uneven handling,<br />

swirl marks on the underside? Or<br />

any sign of bloom? Consider the<br />

colour – different origins and beans<br />

will show different tones, as will<br />

different degrees of cocoa solids.<br />

Notes: Shape, thickness, design;<br />

sheen (or lack of); faults (bloom, air<br />

holes); colour (ochre, brown, redbrown,<br />

purple, brown, mahogany).<br />

Snap: Break off a small<br />

square. Listen for a<br />

2convincing snap or crack.<br />

This will vary with the thickness of<br />

the bar and the temperature, as<br />

well as with the type and quality of<br />

the fats used. A well-tempered dark<br />

bar should give a satisfying snap.<br />

Notes: Clean, crisp,weak, dull.<br />

Where wine and chocolate meet<br />

Aroma: Hold the square<br />

close to your nose and give<br />

3it a good sniff. Let it warm<br />

slightly between your fingers and<br />

then give another sniff. How<br />

intense is the aroma? Reflect on<br />

the aromas beyond the smell of<br />

chocolate. Notes: Floral, fruity,<br />

wine, honeyed, creamy,<br />

nutty, spicy, toasty, smoky, earthy,<br />

animal, chemical.<br />

Texture: Place a small piece<br />

of chocolate on your<br />

4tongue. Let it melt slowly.<br />

This is the time when it is easy to<br />

be distracted, but it is important to<br />

concentrate. Think about the<br />

texture and the flavour<br />

simultaneously. How rapid or slow<br />

is the melt? How does the<br />

chocolate feel as it melts? Is there<br />

any texture, ranging from a lightly<br />

grainy character to coarseness? As<br />

the melt finishes, is there any grip<br />

of tannin on the gums, as there is<br />

with some red wines, or with<br />

stewed tea? Or is the overall effect<br />

silky? Notes: Silky, smooth,<br />

uneven, grainy, sludgy, fudgy (note<br />

how the texture changes over<br />

time); melt (fast, medium,<br />

lingering); body (light,delicate,<br />

elegant, hollow, medium-bodied,<br />

full-bodied, bold).<br />

Flavour: While thinking<br />

about the melt and texture,<br />

5also monitor the<br />

development of flavour in your<br />

mouth. How does it begin? Does<br />

the flavour build slowly, boldly or<br />

not at all? What is the dominant<br />

Tasting chocolate with wines and other<br />

alcoholic drinks is a recipe for a great<br />

customer tasting session. However, it is not<br />

easy: separately the two are delicious but<br />

together they are uncomfortable. To make a<br />

perfect marriage a third element is needed:<br />

sweetness, either from residual sugar, or a<br />

supple sense of richness from alcohol.<br />

Dark chocolate has tannin (the dry grip on the<br />

gums given by a well-brewed Indian tea) and<br />

acidity. Red wine has tannin and acidity, too;<br />

the two together heighten these tough<br />

characteristics. Choose Grenache-based Vin Doux Naturel from<br />

Roussillon; Tawny Port for nutty or orangey bars; Late BottledVintage<br />

Port for bars with red fruit or red wine notes. Or try high-alcohol<br />

Malbecs and fortified Malbec from Argentina, or Barolo Chinato (a<br />

digestif flavoured with herbs) from Piedmont, Italy.<br />

Milk chocolate has little or no tannin, and lower acidity than dark;<br />

instead, it has milk and sugar. Match with low-alcohol, sweet<br />

sparkling wines like Italian and Australian Moscatos. A sea-salted<br />

milk bar with texture from nuts or nibs goes well with a ‘salty’ malt<br />

whisky, or a sweet rum.<br />

White chocolate: as for milk chocolate, ideally pick a bar with nibs,<br />

nuts or dried fruits. I have had great success matching sea-salted<br />

white and milk chocolate with almonds, with Montilla PX from<br />

Spain, and one of the sweetest wines in the world.<br />

Drinks that rarely work with chocolate: vodka and gin (their dry<br />

anonymity), Madeira (the acidity fights; unless it is a very sweet,<br />

flavoured chocolate); Champagne (despite the romantic image,<br />

not a good choice, as the fizz makes the acid more apparent and<br />

the tannin harsher).<br />

flavour at the ‘midpalate’– after the<br />

beginning,but before the finish? Is<br />

there any sense of acidity or<br />

astringency – and does it stand apart<br />

or is it balanced by the other<br />

flavours? Assess the flavour profile<br />

dispassionately – it may not be to<br />

your taste, but is it successful?<br />

Finally is the finish, the last flavour in<br />

the mouth, clean? Notes: Character<br />

(concentrated, complex, clean);<br />

bitterness; astringency; acidity;<br />

consider the balance between these<br />

three and the effect of sweetness, if<br />

any; full-bodied, hollow.<br />

Length: How long does the<br />

flavour stay in your mouth<br />

6after the chocolate has<br />

gone? Some producers claim their<br />

chocolates last for 30 minutes, so<br />

do not be in haste to taste too<br />

many samples too quickly. It is not<br />

necessary to sit for 30 minutes<br />

with a stopwatch, but it is enough<br />

to note whether the flavour<br />

disappeared quickly, or whether it<br />

persisted for a longer time. Notes:<br />

Short, long, intense; elegant,<br />

powerful Take a final look at the<br />

wrapper. Does the date stamp<br />

confirm your perception of<br />

freshness (or of staleness)? Did you<br />

have any views on the ingredients?<br />

<strong>Chocolate</strong> Unwrapped: Taste & Enjoy<br />

the World’s Finest <strong>Chocolate</strong> by<br />

Sarah Jane Evans is to be published<br />

on 7th October (Pavilion, £16.99). In<br />

the first book of its kind, Sarah Jane<br />

profiles more than 80 of the world’s<br />

leading fine chocolate producers and<br />

gives tasting notes on selected bars.<br />

There is information on how to taste<br />

like an expert, the differing national<br />

tastes and exquisite flavours from<br />

around the world, as well as the<br />

journey from tree to bar, from the<br />

roaster to the gourmet shop.<br />

Are there any tasting notes on the<br />

wrapper? Do you agree with<br />

them? If you do, make a note if<br />

they extend your vocabulary. That<br />

is the tasting process. It takes many<br />

words to describe what is, in<br />

practice, a reasonably rapid<br />

procedure. Remember that there<br />

is no right answer. Just be fair,<br />

honest and consistent.<br />

Examples of flavours<br />

Floral: jasmine, violet, rose,<br />

honeysuckle<br />

Fruity: citrus acidity (lemon,<br />

orange, tangerine, lime,<br />

grapefruit), tropical fruits, passion<br />

fruit, banana, dried fruits<br />

Winey: red fruit, redcurrant, balsamic<br />

Honey: vanilla, fudge, syrup,<br />

treacle, biscuit<br />

Creamy: coconut, milk,<br />

cream, caramel<br />

Nutty: walnut, hazelnut, almond<br />

Spicy: white pepper, black<br />

pepper, chilli, ginger, liquorice,<br />

cinnamon, nutmeg<br />

Toasty: lightly roasted, high<br />

toast, burnt<br />

Smoky: leather, tannin, ash,<br />

rubber, tar, meaty, tobacco<br />

Earthy: woody, mushroomy<br />

34 www.specialityfoodmagazine.co.uk


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