There are many lovely things about living in West Cork. As a food-obsessed “blow-in” all my Christmases come at once living here, every day of the year! So imagine my utter delight to hear how Allison Roberts, founder and master chocolatier of Clonakilty Chocolate ( www.clonakiltychocolate.com ), was launching a crowd-funding initiative to open the first ever Irish Bean-to-Bar fully fairtrade and ethical chocolate factory right here in Clonakilty! If ever there was a band-wagon worth jumping on, this was it right here for me!
So off I went to her IndieGoGo page and made my contribution/donation. A day later I received an invitation by e-mail to her official launch party to be held at one of my favourite spots in Clonakilty right now, The Winery, in Asna Square. An invitation that included no less, a free glass of prosecco and some of her wonderful hand made truffles. With the summer surprising everyone and finally arriving at full volume, the thought of imbibing some fizz and indulging in chocolate with friends as the sun went down after work was just the kind of vision of heaven I was willing to grab and run with.
“Hi Allison, I’m Kate” I said nervously – something I didn’t need to be as she herself was clearly bubbling with a mix of nervous excitement that made me look positively zen! “Hi Kate” she said, “drink some prosecco, have a read of this and enjoy”. Awesome.
Asking if she had a site in mind, she told me that the funding was for equipment mainly and that she was in the process of building a purpose built extension at the back of her house where she currently handmakes all her own chocolates. “After that, we will see how things go. I have lots of sites in mind – there are plenty of options which is great because one of my main things is that I want to be able to either walk or cycle to my place of work. I really want it to be in the heart of Clonakilty; it has to be authentically local. With Clonakilty Black Pudding announcing that they are also ‘coming home’ it seems like the time is right to finally begin putting Clonakilty on the map as a proper foodie town”.
I said that this was the most exciting prospect for Clonakilty I had heard for a while, and that she must be buzzing with excitement at the prospect. “It’s like Allison and the Chocolate Factory” I said.
At which point I hastely took a couple of snappy snaps and was handed a plate of truffles. The queue behind me for fizz, chocolate and donations was growing to I retreated outside to the sunshine and to eat some chocolate – it was, afterall, why I had come! Mmmmm, sea salted rich dark chocolate pieces…..MMMmmmmm cinnamon dusted dark chocolate truffles….MMMMMMMMmmmm dark chocolate dipped locally grown strawberries, beautiful in all their bumpy, juicy loveliness. The wine was good too…hic!
What a success. What a continued success it should be. It has, literally, all the right ingredients including and most importantly, a vehemently passionate artisan food producer…and she’s right here on our doorstep.
So go on, click on the link below and donate to her fund. You can even choose a perk to be delivered in 2015 when the factory is up and running. It is the quintessential win-win situation. Money for Chocolate – makes sense to me.