Regular coffee frequenters at CARO, Al and Lucy from The Chocolate Society kindly invited me to their factory for a tour! Having discovered a severe sweet tooth from eating so many of The Bakemonger cakes, of course I jumped at the chance. A 10 minute drive through rural Somerset, I arrived at their premises behind a farm in Wincanton and were welcomed by the passionate couple. White-aproned and hair-netted up, I was invited to wear a similarly fetching outfit but mine was a more chemical brother-like boiler suit in RED.
The open-planned room where all the action takes place was segregated into areas of cooling shelves, raw chocolate storage, a packaging station and machinery all working on different processes - honeycomb coating was a particularly special one. Apart from the surrounding smell of sweet chocolate, the eye-catching, colourful delights and secret sneak previews of Christmas designs, I was totally inspired by the the story behind The Chocolate Society. Bought by 2 brothers in 2009, Duncan and Alasdair Garnsworthy took on the company with a mission to reestablish its roots whilst focusing on quality and natural ingredients.
Trained by the industry-respected French chocolatiers Valrhona, the team are backed with the best knowledge and taste buds in the chocolate world. Al's self-confessed obsessive nature has lead him to research, refine and master his craft whilst developing flavours such as Yuzu Lime + Basil, Wild Strawberry + Caramel and Raspberry + Earl Grey! I was offered to try all 3 flavours which honestly, was a taste sensation. The chocolate was the prefect size with a smooth melt and punchy but subtly flavour. Like coffee, chocolate has many different qualities to recognise when your tasting - don't guzzle, let it melt in your mouth was my main concern.
Lucy is the one at the wheel of the company which has lead to an impressive portfolio boasting Liberty's, Selfridges and Fenwick's as stockists. There is also the independent online store which offers consumers to buy directly and of course the ongoing refining of their product. It was a pleasure to band about ideas for their latest packaging design which endeavours to refit a selection of luxurious chocolates.
I can only say watch this space - conversations of doing a CARO-special-something together has started. We should have something to offer our visitors when the weathers turn in the Autumn!