Easter is almost here, and supermarket shelves are stacked high with cheap chocolate eggs.
But one company is taking a very different approach when it comes to making the chocolate for its Easter eggs.
Based in Falmouth, in southwest England, Chocolarder is one of a handful of bean-to-bar chocolate makers in the UK. These chocolatiers are able to control every aspect of the chocolate-making process, from the roasting of the cocoa beans right up to the packaging of the finished product.
“We make chocolate. It’s a pretty simple job when you write it down on paper, we make chocolate, but to add infinite complexity we make chocolate the best we can without any compromise,” says founder Mike Longman.
For Longman, a no-compromise approach means a stringent commitment to ethical and sustainable practices, including plastic-free packaging for all products, no use of palm oil or emulsifiers and supporting reforestation projects.
Chocolarder’s process begins with sourcing organically-grown beans from single estate, family-run plantations based around the world, from Madagascar to the Dominican Republic.
The beans are roasted, winnowed, stone-ground, roll-refined and conched to develop the chocolate’s individual flavour before being left to mature for at least 28 days.
The chocolate is then tempered and crafted into bars and eggs before being wrapped in plastic-free packaging.
Bean-to-bar is a small industry, so there aren’t many machines designed specifically for the manufacturing of small batches of chocolate.
But this has given Chocolarder the opportunity to restore some incredible antique production machines.
“We’ve got this phenomenal machine called a three roll refiner and you don’t see them very much, we know that ours is one of only two or three in the world,” says production manager James Hill.
Chocolarder produces a variety of dark, milk and white chocolate bars as well as their Easter eggs.
This year, they are launching an egg flavoured with recycled orange peel from a local beach café and cocoa beans from a rainforest preservation project in Sierra Leone.
Watch the video to see how they make their chocolate.