In 2008, Duffy Sheardown heard on the radio that Cadbury's was the only company in England at the time to make its chocolate directly from cocoa beans. It sounded like a challenge and a gap in the market.
Later the following year, on holiday in Guatemala, Duffy bought a couple of 500g bags of cocoa beans with the idea of teaching himself to make chocolate. Back home, he spent the next 18 months learning the techniques, experimenting with recipes and honing his skills. Then he took the plunge, rented a small factory in his home-town in Lincolnshire and Duffy's Chocolate was born, becoming the first small artisan bean-to-bar chocolate company in the UK.
Now, over 10 years and countless awards later, this dedicated, hands-on approach is still at the heart of Duffy's Chocolate.
We buy roughly 90% of our beans directly from the farmers that grow them and we only buy the finest 10% of beans available. This is key to the unique taste of our chocolate and, most importantly, supports our guiding principle of helping other small businesses along the way. We intentionally pay significantly above fair-trade prices in the hope that the farmers make a decent living and can afford to send their kids to school. They're also incentivised to grow unusual types of cocoa-beans, rather than the cloned, fast-growing varieties that the big companies rely on. These beans are what give our bars their signature complex, rich flavours.
We make no compromises on taste or quality. It takes us four days of careful roasting and stone-grinding to make just 30kg of chocolate, enough for about 300 bars. It's then stored for up to three months to allow the flavours to mature and develop. Each bar is individually wrapped by hand.
All this care and obsessive attention to detail is what makes Duffy's Chocolate so special. When you buy a bar of our chocolate you're supporting not just our small business but small cocoa farmers in countries such as Ecuador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama and Venezuela. And you're getting some of the best chocolate in the world at the same time.