It’s good to have a forum where everyone in the chocolate business can get together and share knowledge and discuss issues. So it was great to be invited to speak at Kennedy’s Chocolate Network event – organised by Angus Kennedy, owner of Kennedy’s Confectionery magazine – fantastic to see a great mix of big and small in the audience – from Nestle & Barry Callebaut to Elizabeth Shaw and House of Dorchester. Sophi Tranchell, Divine’s MD, agreed to talk about “Why should cocoa farmers carry on growing cocoa?” – a Divine perspective on what will incentivise a future generation of cocoa farmers, and how that is key to maintaining a supply of good cocoa in the future as demand for chocolate grows around the world.
It was inspiring to hear the stories from other independent companies like Willie’s Cacao (Willie Harcourt-Cooze told his story of the farm he bought in Venezuela) and the iconic Scottishbrand Tunnocks, (Boyd Tunnock still runs the company which sells 5million of its famous caramel wafers every week, with a distribution to die for). You can hear the passion in their voices and total immersion in what they do.
The event finished with some startling psychological insights about the habits of different kinds of chocolate eater, and Angus Kennedy (dressed in a purple Willy Wonka coat with a chocolate flower pinned to the lapel) giving his predictions for 2013, ending with a reminder that chocolate enhances sexual stamina. He said he himself has five children to prove it!
The best part was catching up with friends and colleagues – Malachy McReynolds from Elizabeth Shaw, bloggers MostlyAboutChocolate and Chocablog, sampling some fabulous hand-made chocolates made with California raisons by William Curley – and then best of all Sophi having her photo taken with brand hero Boyd Tunnock (who kissed her hand very gallantly and invited her to sail on his boat!).
We went home very happily with a goodie bag containing a huge selection of chocolates – still exciting after all these years !