My Golden Ticket
Ever since being a little boy growing up on the mean streets of Pontecarlo, Charlie and the Chocolate factory has always been my favourite film – the Gene Wilder version of course!
Since then, it has been a dream of mine to go and visit a chocolate factory. So imagine my mashmallow-filled delight when an invite to Montezuma appeared on my doormat one morning, magically delivered, I’m sure, by an Oompa Loompa. It was an opportunity I seized upon like the 28-year-old child I am.
For those who don’t know much about Montezuma here is their potted history.
Montezuma’s was founded by Simon and Helen Pattinson, after they decided that a life as London city lawyers was not for them. Travelling in South America, they stumbled across a cocoa plantation, and experienced an amazing world of chocolate! They decided they wanted to bring some of this magic back to the UK. They wanted their chocolate to show off great cocoa from around the world, as well as giving their customers a fun, unique product, in design-led packaging. Simon and Helen founded Montezuma in 2000 and set up their first shop in Brighton, from where they have impressively gone from strength to strength.
So, on a pleasant Spring day I made my way down to the charming town of Chichester to make my boyhood dream come true. On arrival, I was greeted by Charlotte & Laura, our hosts for the day. Their mission was to fill me with information and more importantly, chocolate.
First on the agenda was a blind tasting of Montezuma’s chocolates and a comparison of your typical ‘high street’ chocolates. Charlotte offered us all the chance to dive in and compare the many chocolates that Montezuma have to offer with a sample of ‘high street’ bars.
You don’t have to be a chocolatier to realise that Montezuma’s quality is light years ahead of a typical high street bar. This is largely due to the fact that Montezuma keep the cocoa butter content in their chocolates high, whilst most other companies sell this to the beauty industry, replacing it with oil. Burp Charlie, burp!
After eating my weight in chocolate, we were moved onto the main event – being wheeled around the factory and making our very own chocolate bars. Clad in hairnets and white jackets we headed straight into the extremely pristine factory. Vats of dark, milk & white chocolate dominated the factory floor, primed and ready to make the delicious chocolate we all love. The smell was heavenly.
For my bar, I plumped for milk chocolate with a coconut-based liqueur and milk with gummy sweets. After being put into the fridge to set we were given our ‘attempts’ to taste, all of which I thought were surprisingly good.
After the tour we were treated to lunch and given a presentation of new products that are in the pipeline – keep your eyes peeled for some amazing new bars, soon to be heading our way.
At the end of the day we were sent on our way with some goodie bags full of chocolate, most of which I devoured in bed with Grandpa Joe.
Overall it was a great day, but contrary to my childhood dreams, there were no crazy haired guy in a purple suit, no chocolate rivers and certainly no singing and dancing…gutted!
(the Chocolate Buyer)