Upcoming Tasting & Open Day Events and Flavour.ie Supper Clubs

We’re seriously looking forward to unveiling our new creations during Fairtrade Fortnight this year as we officially move from being chocolatiers to bean-to-bar chocolate makers!

Two highlights will be an open day on Feb 28th where all are welcome to book in for a peek into our new garden workshop and our March 5th Tasting & Tapas at Molly’s wine bar (details below!) where we will be unveiling our new range of Fairtrade bars made with natural & healthier sweeteners & dairy products!  Do give us a ring on 085 757 4338 for either event or you can book tickets for the Tapas & Tasting online here.  For a listing of all upcoming events & workshops click here!   This is all as a result of the amazing support we received through our recent crowd funding campaign, which you can learn about here.

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Last night we were honoured to be invited as a producer-guest to a Flavour.ie beautiful chocolate-themed supper club!  Flavour.ie is a blog featuring Irish producers & recipes by food-lover Kate Ryan as well as a platform to   host & encourage others to host, small intimate supper gatherings for friends, followers & foodies showcasing local ingredients & producers. I did a short choco-tasting during pre-dessert break and it was so great to get a first round of feedback for my own new chocolate creations in preparation for my upcoming launch!   Check out what Kate is up to on Flavour.ie or her Facebook and sign up to receive news of upcoming events, and maybe host a supper club at your place soon?

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Spring Workshop Dates

IMG_6859We are delighted to announce our first set of workshops from our new garden studio!  From Bean-to-Bar workshops for adults to mother & fathers day chocolate making for parents & kids and Raw Chocolate for beginners, there is plenty to tickle your taste buds!

First up is our Valentine’s Day tasting & truffle evening – IMG_6863The full list of courses can be found here.

Also – we included information on our celebratory Tasting & Tapas evening at Molly’s Winebar, Thursday March 5th, calling all chocolate lovers!

To book or for more information feel free to drop us a line or ring 085 757 4338 and speak to Allison.

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A Christmassy Peek into our Choco-Workshop

A Christmas message from Clonakilty Chocolate! from Clonakilty Chocolate on Vimeo.

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Pallet-load-of-dreams :)

beans just arrivedVery exciting morning! Our first pallet load of Fairtrade beans have just arrived from Kuapa Kokoo in Ghana 

It’s been such an amazing year growing Clonakilty Chocolate after being inspired when I was in Ghana myself a year ago! If I could tell my 12 year old self that this is where my then small business would lead I beans in handwould have never believed it! Thanks to everyone in Clon (and around the world!) for all your encouragement and support – dreams do come true!


Looking forward to making you all lots more beautiful Fairtrade Chocolate – now from the bean!  More soon, and of course, Christmas orders welcome!
A & the CC team

 

 

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New West Cork Whiskey Truffles & Christmas Goodies – order by Dec 8th, save 10%!

1415656859724Well Christmas is coming up very fast again this year!  With all the excitement of working with new people (we’re a team of 4 these days!) and kitting out the new workshop Christmas zoomed up on us faster than ever!

Luckily we had hatched the idea for these lovely guys last year and so it was just a matter of making them happen.  Our ‘West Cork Whiskey Truffles’ are made by combining our own 70% decadent dark Fairtrade chocolate with Clona Dairy fresh Irish cream and Kennedy Whiskey, made in Skiberreen by the West Cork Distillery – and they are gorgeous (if we do say so ourselves).  I took them to my first market yesterday for sampling and the response was nothing but positive, creamy lush whiskey truffles where you can definitely taste the whiskey! :)

So we’re now open for Christmas orders - lots of pictures here – and as usual we are IMG_5590offering an extra 10% off to any Christmas orders placed before Dec 8th.  The order form is here, you can print if off and drop it in to us at the market, email your order through to me at allison@clonakiltychocolate.com or give us a ring on 085 757 4338 and we’ll take your order by phone – easy peasy!

This year you can find us at the following Christmas Markets in West Cork (I will keep updating this as things change or more are added!)

Every Friday at Clonakilty Market, O’Donovans Hotel Carpark
Nov 22nd – Celtic Ross Hotel
Nov 29th – Vintage Christmas Fair, O’Donovans Hotel (The Venue)
Dec 7th – Skibbereen Taste of West Cork Food Emporium
Dec 7th – Clonakilty Market – Special Xmas Market
Dec 14th – Ardfield GAA – Fundrasiser for CoAction

Thank you as always for your custom, we love what we do and we are glad you like it too!
All the best for this season of celebrations! A & the CC Team

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Chocolate Chocolate Everywhere

We’ve had such a productive and inspiring September & October so a bit behind in the updates!  Here is a little snippet into what has been a seriously chocolate coated couple months.

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CHOCOSOL – TORONTO  In our last week in Canada we met a most inspiring Chocolatista in Toronto.  Michael Sacco founded ChocoSol Traders and is also working on his Phd delving into Cacao as the food of the gods!  His passion for chocolate was ignited while working on solar energy projects in Mexico and it is contagious.   They have all sorts of wonderful things to look at from pedal powered grinders, market bike with super deluxe trailer and rooftop flower garden growing in cocoa-compost.   After a generous couple hours he spent showing us around and getting our minds moving with conversations that went something like this ‘What do people do most with chocolate?’ (and my reply) ‘eat it?’ (and then) ‘Give it!  Its roots are as a currency – based in generosity and community!’ I felt my own passion rekindled and my social mission supported and strengthened – from revolution (re-evolving – re-awakening!) to Don Quixote the chat was mighty.  The lesson – no matter what you do, even if you think it’s a bit too ‘out there’, there is always someone that is further along that road waiting to inspire you and egg you on.  See him live here speaking about this on TedX  or just put ChocoSol into YouTube to find the many lovely little films they’ve made about their project.  Thank you Michael!

 

TASTE OF WEST CORK  As soon as we got back from Canada I hit the ground running, reunited with Claudia (our newest team member) and running a brilliant day of workshops in Skibereen.  We had a packed out kids demo followed by a Fairtrade wine & truffle party where I had lovely chats with people from near and far about what we do, how we do it and what the motivation behind it is (in a nutshell – chocolate making – using interesting ingredients sourced ethically –  in order to see the benefits we can bring to the communities that we work with and live in, here and overseas).  More of that to come!

DUBLIN TEA & COFFEE FESTIVAL  Next stop was the Dublin Tea & Coffee Festival, IMG_20140914_101224which we were delighted to be invited to to showcase our products and speak about why we use Fairtrade ingredients alongside Miguel Mateo Sebastián of the Manos Campesinas Coffee Co-op, Guatemala.  I couldn’t believe the crowds, 3 days of great new connections, speaking with all kinds of different people from lovely small family business owners to chocoholics and bloggers to packaging manufacturers and of course loads of barristas.  I hear it was 1500 people the first day, 2500 the 2nd and 3000 on the Sunday… amazing, so much positive energy – possibly fueled by so much coffee!

LONDON CHOCOLATE WEEK  After a bit of down
1415656515127time it was on another bus and off to London on a bit of a whim, for the London Chocolate week festivities.  I had 3 days, and with a full line up of inspiring chocolate talks, demos and tastings by other bean-to-bar makers, bloggers and chocoholics there
was plenty to keep me busy.  I was looking forward to meeting Clay Gordon of
1415656466340 chocolatelife.com whose website on chocolate making has been such a endless well of information for me to draw up ideas and inspiration from, so was delighted to catch him for a quick chat between talks.  I also met Duffy Sheardon one of the UK’s first and bean-to-bar manufacturers among others that I was only hearing about for the first time.  I came
 back with an absolute haul of chocolate from all over the world and we’ve been seriously enjoying comparing all the different flavour profiles and sharing with whoever pops by at choc-o-clock :)

FACTORY UPDATE!  Last but not least of course – our Phase 1 chocolate factory is well under way!  We just finished installing a counter down one wall and the minute it was up we loaded up with our shiny new tempering machine, conche, grinder and rolled our IMG_20141110_212458snazzy new trolley underneath all ready for back to production tomorrow!  We’ve had some great new customers come on board BlockT, a community gallery space in Dublin, our first out of the country, IndieFude in Northern Ireland, and our first in our neighbouring town Bandon, An Tobair a very lovely wholefood shop.

So all that to say though I’ve been very quiet the wheels are turning, so fast in fact I’m just doing by best to keep hold of the reins!  Christmas market season is now fast approaching and of course as always I’m offering 10% off all Christmas orders placed between now and December 8th, drop me an 1415656859724email, give us a ring or pop into the market.

This year we’ve started making a new recipe of West Cork Whiskey Truffles and they are delicious, decadent creamy whiskey centres dipped in dark chocolate and boxed up to share… I’m only making small batches so do get your order in early if you fancy some for Christmas!

See you soon! A & the CC team :)

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Free Dublin Tea & Coffee Fest Tix with your online purchase this week

revised DCTF banner 2

We are happy to be home and getting ready for the Dublin Tea & Coffee Festival this weekend at the RDS.

To celebrate we are offering 2 free day passes to the festival to the first 7 customers who make a purchase online this week (ends Weds Sept 10, 4pm so we can post in time!)  Have a browse of the shop and choose a bar (or two or three – price includes postage) and we will include 2 free day passes for you and a friend to enjoy – and don’t forget to stop by and say hello to us in the Food Village!

See you there!  Allison & the Clon Choc Team

A x

 

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Choco-Canadian Tour & Irish Home Coming Events

We’ve been off the radar lately as we’ve been on the road in Canada, visiting friends and gleaning inspiration from some amazing chocolatiers, bean-to-bar makers and enthusiasts as well as loads of other artisan producers.    Here are some highlights – and lower down some big events for when we’re home next week!

photo5Our first week here we met the lovely people at Habitual Chocolate, where Philippe, chocolatier extraordinaire gave us a tour of their production methods, with beans roasting in the oven, conche spinning and hot-off-the-press bars to taste we left totally inspired.  Habitual Choc was born out of Fire Roasted Coffee, which we visited as well, both businesses are completely Fairtrade certified and are a social enterprise committed to community connections and delicious flavour packed products.  Their 85% West African and 100% Blend were our favourites :)

photo3In Montreal we were lucky to meet the lovely Miss Choco at her shop La Tablette.  They were about to close but we are so grateful they stayed open for us!  What a selection – here is a place celebrated for it’s commitment to showcasing the world’s best bean-to-bar producers, from Vietnam to Hawaii to local Montreal chocphoto4olate maker Pallette de Bine (I think our favorite!).  Needless to say we left with quite the goody bag and proceeded to sample our way across the country.  One of our other favorites was this Manoa Goat Milk Bar – two of my favorite things coming together in such a beautiful creamy treat – another reason to try to convince J to get a goat maybe?  :)

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photo1In PEI we couldn’t resist a stop at Receiver Coffee – open only 4 months and roasting coffee on the floor for of the shop we were inspired by the simplicity and authenticity of their products, not only were the take away cups hand-stamped, Chris, the founder, was standing at the roaster prepping beans while we lapped up our lovely brews – and we were there to see a shipment of new green beans arrive – something very close to what we’ll be experiencing soon with our first batch of cocoa beans set to leave port soon!

Next week we’re visiting another very inspiring chocolate maker in Toronto, and then we’ll be making our way home, fueled by all the amazing connections and generous sharing of information and resources we’ve had these past weeks.  We have been busy ordering supplies, finalizing our new manufacturing line and designing a lovely new logo, postcard, and cute stickers for the simple bio-packaging we love.

taste-of-west-corkWe’ll be hitting the ground running, with events during the Taste of West Cork Festival in Skibereen Sept 7th and our stall at the Dublin Tea & Coffee Festival Sept 12-14th we look forward to sharing stories and seeing you soon! (More on those events to come!)
Now – off to enjoy a bit of this lovely Canadian summer!

A x

ps. if any of you are in West Cork and getting married soon pop over to Innishannon House Hotel this Sunday for their fair and get a lovely goody bag with one of our chocolate hearts :)

 

 

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Mice, Mole and Magic….

For those of you who came to our ‘World’s Smallest Chocolate Festival’ on Saturday here in Clonakilty, you’ll know just how magical it all was! (we didn’t expect the world’s smallest festival to attract the world’s biggest crowd!)

We had some great reviews for our Spicy Mexican Mole, so here is the recipe – have a go at making it yourself!

Mole-Recipe

 

And for those of you who weren’t in Clonakilty on the weekend, here is a lovely little film that captures all the magic – from white mice, to Mexican mole, to chocolate mayhem!

5 days left to preorder chocolate and help us build a community-minded chocolate factory!

igg.me/at/clonchocolate

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Pitching (Projects + Peers = Possibility)

A few weeks back, as a student of School for Social Entrepreneurs, Ireland, I had the opportunity to pitch my project of building an ethical, community minded chocolate factory in Clonakilty to a very esteemed audience at Dublin University College.  Although I consider myself a ‘people person’ and can ‘pitch’ my idea casually quite comfortably, I still find the whole public speaking thing rather daunting – but all the more reason to give it a go!

The evening kicked off with incredible, inspirational insight and stories from Lynda Stopford, Director of the SSE Ireland – speaking about the importance of supporting social entrepreneurs (like us!) in the initial stages of development through education & networking – followed by SEI (Social Enterprise Ireland) founder Sean Coughlan and social entrepreneur Lisa Maree Domican (GraceApp).   They had me on the edge of my seat,  eyes welling up – I had found my peers – these guys had the same passion and vision for the possible!  My ‘pitch’ was swimming around in my head, but I found an excitement building in my gut, this feeling of absolute joy brimming up that could not be suppressed – the fear was gone, but replaced with some kind of glimmer into the ‘oneness’ of us all – ‘What a room full of beautiful people!’ ‘Oh what amazing things we can achieve together!’ and similar thoughts buzzed around my crowded brain.

So it was my turn, and with 3 min to deliver my well rehearsed speech (that I knew I could sum up in 2) I stood up, thanked everyone, praised the room, shared my joy, my appreciation for my instructors and peers, looked at the clock and with 1 min to go ploughed through most of my pitch content in what felt like 5 seconds – Wa! where does the time go!!  I held up my chocolate sample, touched on my ‘Live’ crowdfunding effort in the last 5 seconds and it was over, Phew!

All this to say a massive THANK YOU to Lynda and Colman (who setup SSE Ireland), to my 28 classmates who have become like a little family in the last few months, and to all those who support the SSE, both with their time and resources – we are on an amazing bucking bronco of a journey and the results are sure to be greater than any of us could have imagined!!!  (If you want to see our pitches – and video footage from the night here:

DCUvid

I haven’t watched it yet, still mustering the courage – so putting it out there with blind faith!)

Ok- back to the chocolate room – organising The World Smallest Chocolate Festival for this Saturday and oh so much to do! x

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Left to Right – Me (Allison Roberts), Lynda Stopford (SSE Ireland Director), Maura McCabe (SHaRE Reading), Lisa Ruttledge (The Think Academy)

Ps.  I must also say that from the night I have now made an absolutely serendipitous connection with a fellow social entrepreneur, who has connections in Ghana (where I get my cocoa) and together we are plotting some amazing ways to maximise the benefit and connection with not just farmers but other small industries there – watch this space! Whoop!

The School for Social Entrepreneurs Ireland (SSE Ireland), officially launched at the DCU event, will run practical learning programmes for entrepreneurial individuals with an early stage social business or social ventures. Twenty-eight social entrepreneurs are already enrolled on the 2014 SSE Ireland Incubator, funded by the JPMorgan Chase Foundation which runs from April to November 2014. The Programme combines expert business know-how for start-ups generating social or environmental impact with mentoring from seasoned entrepreneurs. social entrepreneurs and business people, including J.P. Morgan Ireland employees.

 

 

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