RANDOM STUFF :: about us - me and the hippo

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gareth blake - head chocolatier

me trying to look stern for some reason

So for those who are interested in what this company is about I have written this little rant to explain a bit about us. In a wonderfully narcissistic ideal I shall happily think some of you may even be interested in me, the merry owner of this small chocolate company, and so I shall even indulge in one of my favourite topics, me.

I have been wanting to play with food ever since I was a child, which caused some minor irritations with my mother and nan as I would sample the food they were in the middle of making, or simply make shapes with my food as I eat it (a habit I still enjoy today). When I left the family home and started to cook and support myself I started to play with food a lot and used to make my favourite curry; broccoli and carrot, very often. This curry fascinates me as I used to use three pans and make so much mess that I would have to move from my love of food to my distaste of cleaning up after myself. The thing about this curry is that now I can do it using one pan and still get the same result and as a bonus I make a lot less mess. This is what I love about cooking. Whatever stage I am at in my learning it always starts the same; lots of effort and mess to make a meal until after a bit of practice I get an almost effortless feast in front of me that my partner or guests are happy to clean up after me.

patrick - one of our happiest helpers

patrick - one of our happiest helpers

I started to write my recipes down and during the more tedious lectures at university I would doodle recipes out and think about what I would eat when I get home. This period is one of my favourites, from a food point of view, because I got to eat a new meal every few days. The down side was that whenever I was faced with the question, "So what do you vegans eat?" I was either confused as to where to start or would rant for so long that my little internal monologue started to nag me to shut up.

As much as all this interested me I was still left with that most constant of questions - how the hell am I going to make money to pay for my comfortable existence in this world and to stop my partner from harassing me about getting a job or doing something other than playing games, smoking pot and generally just dicking around. One of the things that was universally enjoyed during my cooking was my chocolate truffles so, like many of my plans, I just decided to run with it and see what happens.

The first recipe I came up with was a pleasing success with people loving the chocolate but it had one huge flaw, its 2 week shelf life. Even my tenuous grasp of business knew that this was a bit of a no-no. A couple of weeks before I was to start the business as a proper business I decided it was probably best to do some research and come up with a new recipe. A weekend of studying the reactions of oils and syrups when mixed with chocolate gave me my first, and what turned out as the final, recipe on a shoddily hand written note in front of me. The first time I made it it was like clay and fucking disgusting which, in a fit of pure drama queen wonder, I flew to the floor in tears and utter pity for myself. Thankfully a wonderful human, Sue, came to my rescue/pandered to me and gave me sympathy and good conversation. The second time I tried it I altered my techniques and as if by magic it created the truffle that forms the base of many of my chocolates.

bike trailer - chocolate delivery system

our favourite source of transport

Even though I know substantially more about chocolate than I used to I am still flailing in the dark and having a fantastic time as I try out new things. I have some yummy ideas bubbling away in my head including a soft white chocolate truffle (dairy free of course) and some floral chocs.

Like many business's out there I have a set of goals in mind to help guide us -

  • to continue to make a large range of cruelty free chocolate truffles that are either original or are dairy free versions without compromising on our high quality taste standards.

  • to run the business as a community with a flat pay structure and a four day work week.(patrick says,'what really, actually work a whole 4 days a week').

  • to maintain the business as a cruelty free and environmentally sensitive one. For more details on that please feel free to read our eco policy.

  • to make lots of money to help the business grow and to fund local groups and ethical projects.

I am unsure what else to say or whether I have rambled on and digressed too much. But, as it is almost half past one in the morning, I am going to bugger off and pass out for seven hours before waking up and cleaning my somewhat messy bedroom.

merrily

signature

gareth



The above video was taken at the Real Food Festival 2010.