In May 2014, Clonakilty Chocolate launched a crowd-funding campaign to raise funds to be able to make Chocolate Maker Allison Roberts’ dream of creating her own bean-to-bar chocolate factory in Clonakilty a reality. The target was to raise €15,000 and between 25th May and 11th July 2014 the good people of Clonakilty and beyond did not fail in supporting this great campaign, raising in total €15,025!
This money meant that that a transformation could begin starting with renovation of the space at the rear of her abode and resulted in culminating with the launch party of her brand new range of hand made chocolate from the bean at Molly’s Cafe on Thursday 5th March 2015. By anyone’s standards, that is some achievement in a short amount of time, and all the while keeping the existing business of producing and selling exquisite chocolate products ongoing.
The launch event itself was something quite special. The relaxed atmosphere of the wine bar being the perfect venue for the intimate gathering of people to experience a unique chocolate launch event. Allison recounted her own personal journey which started for her at the tender age of 13 in Canada, settling in Clonakilty and making chocolate from couverture, to her epiphany about the future of her chocolate business after her visit to a Fairtrade cocoa farm in Ghana. Then came the lesson in tasting chocolate – different concentrates, roasting and conching times and different sweetners and flavours. It highlighted how individual our tastes are – marmite to some, bliss to others and so on! And then the band struck up…and suddenly it was as if we were transported to Paris in Springtime! Jazz sounds and rhythms accompanied a varied and exciting tapas menu – firstly savoury and then sweet. A varied mix of all kind of chocolatey lovely things to eat. I contributed a couple of items, the Rosemary Salted Dark Chocolate and Candied Walnut Tartlet for the savoury platter and a Dark Chocolate Beetroot Brownie with Fennel Seed Glaze for the sweet. I’m pleased to say that my tartlet was nominated as one of the favourite things to eat by Cork food blogger Billy Lyons in his post about the event here – thanks Billy!
As the evening sauntered on in a heady mix of chocolate, red wine and jazz there was an undeniable sense that this was the start of something special and unique. 40 people can’t be wrong…and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. A great launch night and a monumental effort by Allison and her support crew. Next on the agenda? Easter, workshops and selling chocolate…just another day in the office for Allison then!
If you would like to buy Clonakilty Chocolate, visit the website where you can find a list of stockists or you can purchase online. Or you can pop down to the Clonakilty market on Friday and meet the lady herself where she sells her chocolate from a high nelly pushbike that doubles as her quirky stall.
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