Getting messy with Steven Bartlett and the Diary of a CEO team
Who wouldn't like to spend a Friday afternoon in a chocolate workshop, learning everything from bean to bar and then designing your own delicious fresh chocolates...?
SO MUCH HAS HAPPENED IN A YEAR
Last March, after an unbelievable response to our Dragons’ Den and Gogglebox appearances, we managed to become a chocolate company with no chocolate to sell at Easter – bonkers.
Instead, we convinced Steve (and it did take some doing) to give up some of his secrets and share a simple recipe for making fresh chocolates at home. It took us 3 months to stabilise supply and we spent the rest of 2022 working on how to scale-up.
We even posted the alternative logo below on 1st April as while amusing, it was how we felt & looked!
Now in 2023, things look a little different. We launched our NEW limited edition Tropical Passion Fruit flavour in February, you can read more about it in our blog ‘from Brazil to Birmingham’. We’ve also got actual chocolates to sell for Easter (although they are selling fast) and today we’ve hosted our first chocolate workshop for over a year!
MAKING CHOCOLATE WITH STEVEN BARTLETT AND HIS TEAM
It’s been amazing to watch the success of THE DOAC podcast – reaching 10 million monthly downloads in September 2022, to become the UK’s no1 most downloaded podcast; with stars ranging from actor & writer Seth Rogan to world food & diet expert Professor Tim Spector. If you haven’t already – give it a listen!
Having just returned from recording episodes in the US, we thought it would be fun for our Steve to run a chocolate workshop as a thank you to Steven and his team for their help and guidance over the past year.
HOW TO BECOME AN EXPERT CHOCOLATE TASTER
One of the most frequent ‘offers’ we get from our lovely customers is to become a chocolate taster for us. The truth is that we all love chocolate, but knowing how to taste it like a professional is a lot harder than it sounds!
So, Steve packed his pro-taster chocolate kit, including a heavy marble slab for tempering (to give the chocolate a smooth and beautiful finish) and hopped on the train from our Birmingham Chocolate HQ, to the big smoke.
A CHOCOHOLIC'S DREAM...
Having arrived and set-up everything in the DOAC office, including ensuring all had an apron to avoid trashing their clothes, we got into the workshop.
First question our Steve always likes to discover is 'whats your favourite chocolate bar' - it helps him get a sense of the audience, what they like and dislike and understand a bit about then too - your childhood experiences and what you are given as a kid can have a lifelong imprint on your go-to chocolate, it's why being a new challenger brand can be difficult - people will always try you, but they ofter go back to old favourites.
Well, we discovered that Steven Bartlett's favourite chocolate used to be a certain red Swiss sphere (we can't bring ourselves to write the 'L' word, sorry!) but ever since he first tried R&A - we converted him!
THE CHOCOLATE GOT EVERYWHERE...
Steve Russell is in his element delving deep into the magical world of chocolate and could talk for hours on detailed technicalities like fermentation and particle size, but we knew what the DOAC team really wanted was to do was to taste and play with making their own flavours – so that’s what we did!
No chocolate workshop hosted by Steve would ever be complete without getting messy.
Below is a still (you can see a video on our social media story) of the lovely Danny in Steven's team making his own bar.
THEN WE HAD TO JUDGE THE 'BEST BAR'
Using criteria of visual appeal, flavour balance and variation, we chose the bottom left bar (which proved a little controversial) - it just had so much going on with sweet & savoury, pure chocolate, and most interestingly variation in size of onclusions (yes, that is a thing!)
ALL GOOD THINGS HAVE TO COME TO AN END
We made a total mess of Steven Bartlett’s office (oops sorry) but everyone left with chocolate spatters all over their clothes, some hopefully interesting knowledge to bore their friends and family with when someone gives them (ahem) sub-standard chocolate and of course Russell & Atwell free chocolates and our 'taster' aprons.
BACK TO EASTER AND BEYOND…
So, one year on from our TV appearance, we’re feeling a little more grown-up, we’ve just sent out first pallet of chocolate to Booths supermarkets, we’ve got actual chocolate to sell from our site over Easter and we’ve just completed our first fundraise with about 20 private investors.
All of this takes a great deal of work - many thanks to our team and to you, our customers.
Now to pack some of the last Easter orders and get them out the door just in time!
P.S. You can still grab some of our fresh chocolates in time for Easter. Order by midnight Sunday & we will do everything we can to ship your chocolates early next week for arrival in time for next weekend