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December 2017

A busy period – we’ve been to Chocolate Shows in London and Amsterdam and this weekend we will be in Shrewsbury (The Quarry – new venue for this year). The first weekend in December (2nd & 3rd) we will be at the Lincolnshire Food & Gift Fair at the Showground just north of Lincoln.
In London we got more Awards, including a UK Gold and a “Judges Choice – Gold” for the Nicaragua Chuno. In Amsterdam we got more certificates from the International Chocolate Awards European round. We have quite a pile of Awards now!

We are going to have an OPEN DAY at both the factory and the Chocolate Studio on Saturday December 9th, from 10-4. We will have the Studio open as a shop (for our bars and for Spire Chocolates creations), you can make a Christmas-themed bag of chocolate shards with a range of flavouring for you to bag and take away and you can see how we make chocolate in the main factory. Entry will be free for everyone and there will be free marshmallows and chocolate for the children. If you have a beard or drove here you don’t qualify as a child – sorry.
 Also in London the new Moccachino bar was unleashed on the general public and it sold out – it really is that good. Creamy milk chocolate and fine coffee from Small Batch Coffee Roasters in Brighton – a nice pairing. We’ll be taking the bar to both upcoming shows. After we’d made it and I’d signed off the wrapper design I realised that there are several ways to spell Mocaccino and the way I’d picked wasn’t any of them. I will change it to the official Italian spelling soon – and pay more attention next time.
There’s another name change coming soon too. Apparently a Danish cocoa company has trade-marked the name “Chuno” when applied to chocolate. Chuno is a variety of cocoa beans and I buy beans grown on the original “grandmother” trees. I still have to change the names of two of my bars though – I can’t afford lawyers and don’t want to be drawn into a silly argument about who owns the rights to what in Nicaragua. I know I buy my beans directly from the grower and that everyone gets a very fair price for their beans and their work. May I introduce the Nicaragua Juno 70% and Oh Juno! 45%. Very silly but can’t be avoided. We’re having new cartons designed now – just small tweaks here and there – and we’ll make the change then
We are about to introduce Vouchers for sale. These can be used to send someone the choice of 2, 3, or 4 bars of chocolate or a truffle-making session at the Chocolate Studio. They should be on the website within a week or two.

Just before the Chocolate Show in London Jillian Toney came to visit again. I have talked about her before – she has moved back to St Vincent to grow her own cacao trees and make her own chocolate and chocolates. She has a small nursery and is planning a workshop and fermentation area. She has the drive to succeed, that’s for sure.

Having a Christmas Party but looking for something a bit different? Why not book The Chocolate Studio? We offer private parties for up to 14 people where you can come and make Christmas-themed truffles and decorations, taste chocolate and take away everything that you make in boxes and bags.  Most evenings in December will be available so send me an email if you want more information. You could bring something to drink too....
We had a couple of birthday parties last weekend which were great fun if a little hectic. I took a quick snap as we were starting out – the parents brought the helium balloons – before it got too messy!

 There was an interesting article in the Independent:
We have a couple of new stockists so keep an eye out for Michelle at Craft Chocolate in Glasgow and Lilla at Little Beetle Chocolates in Cambridge.
It's nearly the Festive Season so all the best to everybody and here's to plenty of chocolate in 2018!

As usual I have picked a name out of the hat (Bill, who has been notified) and he will get these three bars to compare, contrast and to enjoy.

Venezuela Ocumare 72% dark chocolate
Dominican Republic Taino 65%
Panama Tierra Oscura 72%


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