The Business of Chocolate
I made it a duty to attend the Chocolate Show held at Olympia, I had business as well as personal reasons for attending. Well that’s what I told myself. I sampled a range of very high quality chocolates, chocolate induced liqueurs; one which I bought and watched food demonstrations.
The results: I struggled to find examples of good Joint Ventures and collaborations however I was able to fulfil my personal reasons by eating a lot of dark chocolate.
I attended 2 very informative and thought-provoking presentations: one by Clay Gordon entitled Chocolate in America – Lessons from the Front lines and the other by Duffy Sheardown about his adventures in chocolate making entitled Red Star Chocolates.
Clay was engrossing in his delivery about the chocolate industry, highlighting who actually makes money in the industry: usual suspects of course. He presented a fairer system than the one is in operation at the moment; one which ensures that the farmers benefit as much as the distributors. He unravelled the Fair Trade system and offered an alternative that was more financially rewarding to small farmers. Duffy was just down to earth and funny. His practical yet successful venture into chocolate making has created, what I consider to be, a better dark chocolate than other known brands and a quality on par to Tobago Estate Chocolate who were also exhibiting.
Collaborations and Partnerships
The worker who was representing the Tobago Estate Chocolate makers made the visit to her stand interesting by talking about the processed used to make the chocolates. I asked her whether the chocolates were made in Tobago and she explained that the raw ingredients were taken to France and made on a very well known Chef’s site, “He was kind enough to let us use his premises.” I wanted to ask more about how that partnership came about, is it a formal agreement and if not how do they maintain it etc but I thought maybe next time I bump into her I will ask a few more probing questions.
Thinking outside of the box
I loved the fashion show at the end of the day which featured wondrous costumes made out of chocolate; the Lindt dress stole the show for me.
Oh and did I mention the Thinking outside of the box olive and garlic entrepreneur who was also present?