Strawberries and Cream - our first micro-batch - going, going...gone in less than one hour
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The very first one
Wow, we are finally ‘here’. Steve and I have talked about doing micro batches of fresh chocolates ever since we hatched the idea for the business. We’re really excited about this first cab off the rank, perfectly timed for World Chocolate Day today, Friday 7th July…
What’s the big idea?
So. the idea is for us is to hero local British producers and ingredients and then to totally hand-make a batch of about 100 pouches and sell them for a reasonable price – which to be honest barely makes us money, but we love sharing our love for real, high quality minimally-messed-with ingredients and Steve loves getting his hands dirty in the kitchen!
We had a go at describing below what we're all about...
Given that we use fresh organic cream in all of our chocolates, and Giles is something of a tennis fanatic – strawberries and cream for Wimbledon seems like a perfect place to start!
Strawberry – a surprisingly difficult flavour!…
The first challenge was to get a luscious and creamy tasting chocolate with the right balance of strawberries and cream. Strawberry is a challenging flavour to get right – so often in chocolate it tastes sickly-sweet or very floral – we wanted it to taste rich, fruity and with a touch of green/fresh notes.
Practice makes perfect
Our very first prototypes were made with a milk chocolate shell, but we quickly discovered that milk and especially dark chocolate over-powered the strawberry and thus moved to a gentler white chocolate to really help the strawberry fruit punch through.
After a few prototypes and a lot of tasting (the things we do for work), we agreed our favourite flavour was the Sonata single origin British strawberry jam from our friends Nicola and Ross at the Single Variety company – jam-packed full of British strawberries and hand made in small batches for the very best flavour, using much more fruit and less sugar than traditional preserves.
Once we’d finalised the recipe – we had to figure out how to make it.
From little kitchen to big kitchen
“The idea of making about 1000 chocolates entirely from scratch sounded like fun, but after only a short, while the pressure slowly started to dawn of how am I going to make this happen?!
The thing is, it all sounds easy, but two important elements were new:
- New ingredients – we didn’t know how the strawberries would behave on mixing with the cream and chocolate.
- New kitchen – we needed the ‘goldilicks’ kitchen – bigger than our test kitchen, but smaller than our manufacturing facility.
We are family
Luckily, we found ‘The Foodworks’ innovation centre in Somerset (recommended by old friend & fellow chocolatier Joel) and then we had to call in ‘the cavalry’ to help.
Both Giles and I have family involvement in the business, in this instance my niece Sharon and her daughter Masie have been invaluable helpers since day one.
The best laid plans…
We had one day to make everything - it was all planned beautifully in my head. The reality however was somewhat different!
Turning up on the day greeted by lots of new shiny stainless steel equipment, no idea how to run it, not even knowing where the pots and pans were!
The problems started early- we had to load the pure white creamy chocolate into the temperer to create the chocolate shells, However, the last user (ahem Joel) had left dark chocolate in the pipework which turned our beautiful white chocolate grey! As we deep-cleaned and flushed the machine, I was already concerned we’d run out of our creamy white chocolate!
Focus Steve, focus…
Then things started to come together – beautifully.
First I created the (now thankfully) white chocolate shells, Sharon poured in the Strawberry mix while Maisie, piped in the cream and honey ganache, with Sofya backing them off with the delicious white chocolate. The more we made, the slicker and faster we got, the messier we became, the more fun we had.
My confidence started to grow, the more we worked together, creating a small human production line. Everything in slo-mo, hand-made but made with great care and attention to detail.
Not even stopping for lunch, just a solitary cup of coffee, we made 1000 chocolates! Phew!! Just in time to clear up and leave the kitchen sparkly clean, even the temperer! Although we were pretty splattered in chocolates and strawberries, it had all been worth it“
We've only got 100,99,98...
So, that’s a wrap – our very first micro batch – they are being released at 1pm on Friday 7th July. If you’re lucky enough to get hold of a pack – let us know how you find them.
We’re already plotting which flavour to do next, but do let us know if you know of an amazing British food ingredient that would go beautifully with our fresh chocolates, we’re always looking for the next flavour to scare Steve with!