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Who would have thought it – making chocolates and selling from market stalls! Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined this would be my life. Moving to the stunning Scottish Highlands from Essex was a dream come true – although we soon realised that employment up here meant adapting. To continue in my old profession was not viable and I had begun to ponder where my life was taking me. My husband Martin worked in IT and luckily was allowed to work from home.

 

My daughter Nikki, partner Dan and two boys (Reuben & Reilly) moved up to be with us and we soon realised that both boys were cursed with multiple food allergies. It was particularly hard when they couldn’t enjoy Christmas chocolates or Easter eggs. It was at this point that an idea began to form – mmmm could we make our own?

 

Martin had previously completed several years on a part-time catering/patisserie course at our local college and one module covered chocolate making. The year we moved up Nikki & Dan married locally (that’s another story!) and Martin offered to make their chocolate favours. We were lucky to discover a delicious Belgian chocolate (Belcolade) that everyone loved –with both boys enjoying and being able to tolerate.

 

The business plan began to hatch. We had to learn about allergens, food hygiene and fillings for the chocolates that were ‘free from’. The first year was definitely a learning curve! Some success, some failures, some tension – lots of tiredness! Then finding events to book and trying to calm our nerves! We needn’t have worried; everyone we have met are lovely with someone always recommending other events. We didn’t want to turn down anything last year ending with us overbooking ourselves! Phew I have never worked so hard for no money! Unfortunately, the first year consisted of buying lots of equipment but this year we are starting to see some reward. We are having some fantastic reviews and recommendations and now have some wonderful customers who follow us from event to event. I’ll fill you in soon with how our events have gone.

Love Sue

 

Blog 2:

 

Preparation for events is often manic! Deciding how much to take to an event is never easy. Not only do I spend every day making the chocolates but Nikki then packages them, labelling them and announcing on social media where our events are taking place. Some events are indoors and others are outside. Of course, living where we do you have to consider all eventualities! Although, if its outdoors we hate the sun! Panic sets in trying to protect our chocolates from melting!

 

Outdoor events such as Highland Games are fantastic to attend with many challenges, excitements and rewards. Enthusiasm abounds, attended by local people, families and tourists. Unfortunately we don’t get to see much ourselves as we can’t leave the stall. Meeting so many interesting people from all walks of life fills the day. Although Martin has a full time job, he loves to help out and attend many of the events, Nikki has nicknamed her dad ‘The Minion’ and of course he comes in handy when it comes to erecting the gazebo! We have found other stall holders extremely friendly and will help to man our stall when nature calls! Mind you most outdoor events have porta loos – not my favourite part – the other month I was forced to endure a visit only to find a family outside having a discussion, I failed to notice the event timetable on the outside of the loo door! I decided to wait until they had left before leaving.

 

Taking ‘The Minion’ along to events dispels the myth that women talk a lot – I beg to differ! Although Martin says he comes along to help, for the first couple of hours he is no where to be seen, wandering off talking to other stall holders. Not much help really!

 

The health and safety aspect of every event is a nightmare, with many forms to fill in stating how to avoid hazards such as storage boxes being stored correctly, advertising banners securely fixed, but they don’t cover forgetting parts of the gazebo, forgetting the table or the car getting stuck in the mud. Move over Glastonbury.

 

Watch this space for descriptions of our mouth watering chocolates………

 

Love Sue

Blog 3:

 

Well this is what you have been waiting for! Drum roll please …..  I will now attempt to do justice to our wonderful chocolates and their sumptuous fillings:

 

Raspberry:

These beautiful fragrant chocolates; burst with flavour. From a crisp chocolate outer to a fruity soft ganache with a hint of lemon and the floral beauty of rose – taking the combination to a whole new level – and we all know raspberries and chocolate are sublimely matched.

 

Orange & Cointreau:

Chocolate and orange go together like Ant & Dec. A marriage made in heaven with a touch of Cointreau mmmmm; With the crisp outer layer to the delicious soft orange middle. Out of this world!

 

Hokey pokey: (sorry no left foot in or left foot out!)

This is a Cornish term for Honeycomb, a traditional and old time favourite – a mouth watering light, bubbly, sweet nibble. Cinder toffee covered in Belgian chocolate – our best seller.

 

Salted brown sugar caramel:

For all you legions of salted caramel lovers out there – here is a new experience. The treacly taste of dark muscovado sugar mixed with coconut milk, vanilla extract and sea salt flakes is a little different from the norm. A temptingly yummy encounter.

 

Coffee truffles:

Dark chocolate covering a mouth watering soft filling – infused with strong coffee. Such a social little chocolate that enjoys mixing with the elite.

 

Of course you may just prefer to revel in pure heaven and feast upon our gorgeous Belgian chocolate with no added flavoured centre, just plain old fashioned sumptuousness. Don’t worry we wont judge you! Our slabs with topping choices of freeze dried tarty raspberry, tangy blackcurrant, or intense chilli flakes or for the young at heart – skittles, may be more to your liking.

 

Well, hopefully you are salivating over these descriptions – but don’t worry there are more choices on our website. I will leave you now and my next blog will be after the Christmas mayhem (if I survive that is!).

 

Love Sue