Jemma from Cocoa's Handmade Chocolate uses all the best ingredients possible, top quality toppings, as well as 'couverture' chocolate (posh word for very, very good tasting, and the best possible!!). To make her produce as tasty as it can be! Everything is made by hand so every item is as unique as the last.
Tell us about yourself – who you are, what you do, how long you have been a food producer?
I'm Jemma Bristow, and I'm a chocolatier. I started the business at the age of 20, and my first ever market I started with was the Minehead Farmers Market in Oct 2013. I mainly do a massive range of flavoured bars, and novelty items around Christmas and Easter etc. Last year I have also started doing weddings- favours and nameplates.
What is your background and what inspired you to start your own business?
I have always been good, and enjoyed being in the kitchen right back to my GCSEs, so when starting up catering was the right direction. What lead me to chocolate was since the age of around 6 I've been visiting St Ives in Cornwall, and about 2009 a little chocolate shop arrived. So having spent many hours over the years watching them make chocolate hedgehogs, looking at all the different bars and shapes to choosing what to take home, it all started from there.
What does a typical week involve?
A few days a week I'll be at my 5* hygiene rated catering unit making batches of chocolate bars, on average we can make around 120 bar a day. It can vary from making and bagging Easter bunnies, doing special orders right through to wedding orders.
Describe some of your products and where you source your ingredients?
We use the highest grade Belgian chocolate, which is originally sourced sustainably from the Ivory Coast where most of the best chocolate starts off. My product line mainly consists of flavoured bars, but I also do novelty bars which I can theme into events, such as Scottie dogs, farm animals, aeroplanes, Exmoor ponies, sea shells and reindeers to name a few! I enjoy working with customers to personalise bars and items, for presents and special occasions.
Has to be my handmade salted caramel, easily one of our most poplar flavours and is personally one of my favourites too. Fairly simple to make when given 100% attention!!!
Can you share your thoughts on the importance of supporting your local farmers' market?
Keeping it local is very important, as it helps all these small businesses trying to make their way. As well as getting a much better, tastier and fresher product. You also get personal assistance and much deeper and wider knowledge of how the product came to be!