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Meet The Maker Of Locally Made Cornish Chocolate: Chocolarder

Chocolarder is Cornwall's exclusive bean-to-bar chocolate, crafted by owner Mike Longman who embarked on a journey when he realised the absence of locally-made chocolate in the region. Delve into the story behind Cornwall's thriving chocolate industry here.

Why did you decide to create Chocolarder?

I used to work as a pastry chef at Michelin-star level, and then at New Yard restaurant on the Lizard. So it was my job to source the finest local ingredients to make the best desserts possible. But when it came to finding chocolate in Cornwall, there was nothing that had any traceability or real quality of flavour. So I thought I’d have a go at making some chocolate myself – how hard could it be?

It was not easy. From sourcing the cocoa beans to tempering the chocolate, there’s a lot of different processes that can go wrong. It took a lot of patience and trial and error, but I really fell in love with the process. So much so that it kind of took over from pastry and became my passion. So in 2012 I started Chocolarder and began making locally made Cornish chocolate full time.

📷: Cocoa Runners

What is the ethos behind Chocolarder?

Our ethos is chocolate without compromise. We make all of our chocolate from scratch and we don’t cut any corners in creating the very best chocolate possible. That means using the best cocoa beans that are always sourced ethically and paying at least 50% more than Fairtrade prices, to packaging everything 100% plastic free and fully recyclable.

We feel that the value and quality of chocolate has really been diminished by the big name brands. Often it’s a one note, sickly sweet taste, that’s crammed with sugar, soya and emulsifiers… scoffed down without much thought about who made it or where it comes from. We want to really show people that chocolate can be so much more. It’s exciting, flavourful, complex and full of wonderful stories of growers from around the world.

Can you briefly explain the bean-to-bar process?

The bean-to-bar process actually begins at origin. Cocoa grows in many countries around the equator. It’s here where the cocoa beans are harvested from their pods – essentially cocoa beans are the seeds of the fruit that grows on cacao trees. These cocoa beans are then fermented for around a week and fully dried before travelling to us.

Once they arrive the first step for us is to roast them – this makes it easier to crack them open and remove the outer shell. Inside the bean is the cocoa nibs which is the bit we want to make chocolate. We then grind the nibs into cocoa liquor before it’s poured into blocks and aged for 30 days. Then when it’s ready we refine and conche the chocolate to get it the perfect particle size and flavour, ready to temper, mould and package. It can take up to 40 days from when we receive the beans to get a finished product. But it’s definitely worth it.

How has Cornwall as a place inspired Chocolarder?

You can’t help but be inspired living here. We even have actual Cornish cocoa pods growing at the Eden Project! Chocolarder use locally sourced ingredients whenever possible. From the Cornish sea salt in our truffles and bars, to the fresh local cream in the truffles and the foraged flowers that we hand pick for our gorse chocolate. We also have a monthly changing truffle which we use local ingredients to inspire the flavour of – previous flavours included apple, elderflower, strawberry and honey.

We have to pinch ourselves that we get to make chocolate, have a positive impact on the planet and then we still get to have a work life balance.

For someone who hasn’t tried Chocolarder yet, which product would you recommend they try first and why?

The wild gorse flower bar is what we’re known for. We hand pick the flowers and infuse their coconutty scent into milk chocolate.

If you’re new to proper dark chocolate, we love suggesting either the Ashaninka 72% or Maleku 70% as they are both incredibly complex bars with very different flavour profiles from their origins.

Lastly, our sea salt caramel truffles are super popular. A perfect example of how using proper chocolate completely elevates something that people already know and love.

What’s in store for Chocolarder? Are there any new products coming out soon?

We’re very excited to be launching three new Easter egg flavours, in a new small form this year. They have already been picked up by some incredible retailers around the UK and are off to a great start for their first year. As we do all the packaging design in-house, it’s always so exciting to see how people react when they finally see them.

We’re also super excited to be open for tours this year at our factory on the edge of Falmouth, which are available to book online. A huge part of what we do is education and introducing people to the craft of chocolate.

The Alverton Arrival Club

For an extra £30 per room, per stay, upgrade your stay and let our team take care of those finishing touches that make your stay extra special.

Your upgrade package includes:

  • One signature cocktail, beer or G&T per person on arrival
  • Mini cream tea for two during your stay
  • Complimentary room service (no tray charge)
  • A box of Cornish Chocolarder sea salt truffles

After you’ve settled into your room (with a drink in hand and a chocolate truffle in the other), take a moment to roam the grounds of our magnificent hotel on the hill. The Great Hall, our glorious gardens, and welcoming bar and restaurant, are all steeped in a fascinating history that dates back to the 1830s. Making it an extraordinary place to stay in Cornwall…


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