Proud to receive our 'Radical Stripes' from the McKennas Guides again this year - '2017 Best in Ireland!' click the logo to read their review! Here is a snippet
"....All that from a bar of chocolate? Yes. All that, and a narcotic deliciousness that is not to be found in any other food. Clonakilty Chocolate: they do radical."
Our Rachel Allen Coastal Cooking appearance! See Rachel visit us and cook up her Christmas dinner on RTE player here: http://www.rte.ie/player/ie/show/rachels-coastal-cooking-30003578/10506308/
Short Wild Atlantic Way Food Producer film - we're on from 1:18....
A McKenna's Guide podcast about bean-to-bar featuring an interview with Allison and sound clip from our factory launch!
What we’ve been up to – our in-house films
In the Press
CAPTION - Joe McNamee visits Clonakilty Chocolate for a seven-course chocolate-themed dinner.
Gamely eating his way through a cellar full of chocolate, Valentine’s gifts from his many doting admirers, has recalled for The Menu one of his more intriguing culinary encounters of recent times, his meeting with Alison Roberts of Clonakilty Chocolate.
One of only a handful of her peers to begin with the humble bean, in addition, some of her finished products also include healthy yet delicious alternatives to traditional dairy and sugar, a boon for frustrated chocoholics with prohibitive health conditions.
CLONAKILTY Chocolate is probably the only company in Ireland producing bean-to-bar eggs and bunnies this Easter. It is also almost certainly the only one making bean-to-bar Fairtrade chocolate with goat’s milk.
The company was founded by Canadian woman Allison Roberts, who saw in the beginnings of economic recovery in Ireland an opportunity to bring bean-to-bar, the latest trend in chocolate-making, to Clonakilty. The process involves grinding the cocoa beans to produce the chocolate, rather than importing it.
At the end of last year, she converted half of her house into a food grade production unit and just this month has launched a new range of bean-to-bar chocolate bars which she sells online and to 18 shops.
CAPTION - I import my beans directly from Ghana, so it’s a direct link, and thanks to a partnership last year with Indiegogo, which works on a system of pre-orders, I was able to raise enough money to buy the equipment I need to grind the beans. In fact, it’s being installed today and I can’t wait.
CAPTION - West Cork chocolatier Allison Roberts talks to Róisín Thornhill about her life–long love of chocolate and her dedication to ensuring that her suppliers are paid a fair price for a great product.
Many entrepreneurs when setting their own company are quick to say it is the culmination of a lifelong dream but for Allison Roberts, this truly is a reality. The Clonakilty based Canadian has been working with chocolate since she was nine and set up her first business selling her products when she was twelve.
“At Christmas and Easter I used to send around a little book to my parents’ work and people would order things from that, and at school I set up a little canteen” laughs Roberts. “I’ve always been interested in crafts like crochet or working with stained glass and chocolate kind of fits into that, and I really enjoy cooking so I love being able to bring those two things together.”
Roberts now operates her business out of her home in West Cork after converting the back of her house into a chocolate factory, “I really couldn’t imagine doing this anywhere else but Clonakilty, it’s such a great town” says Roberts, “the people here are so encouraging and are really interested in how things are going for you, and they tell you they like what you’re doing....”
CONTRIBUTOR: MARY O’BRIEN
Fairtrade Fortnight, an annual event that raises awareness about Fairtrade, comes to a successful close this Sunday, March 9. Clonakilty, Ireland’s first Fairtrade town, organised a number of informative events over the two weeks, one of which involved Allison Roberts and Cindy Kingston recounting their experiences visiting Fairtrade farms and co-ops on a trip to Ghana last November.
Allison and Cindy got the opportunity to represent Clonakilty Fairtrade on the two-week trip to Ghana after Clonakilty was declared ‘Best Fairtrade Town in Ireland 2013’. They speak to Mary O’Brien about their experience and the importance of supporting Fairtrade. Fairtrade guarantees the growers fair prices for their produce, which results in the farmers being able to invest in their holdings and communities and that children attend education rather than having to work on the plantations. The Fairtrade system has also helped and encouraged producers to come together to form co-ops and these are working very well in Ghana.
Clonakilty based chocolatier Allison Roberts has always been passionate about Fairtrade, so when the occasion arose to see firsthand where the cocoa beans for her chocolate come from, she jumped at the chance. Cindy has been involved in the Clonakilty Fairtrade Committee since 2006 and says the trip was a truly humbling experience. In Ghana, Allison and Cindy visited producers of Fairtrade palm oil, cocoa and bananas, as well as learning about the history of the slave trade in Ghana and visiting local recycling projects. They met with cocoa bean farmers, many of whom were women, in the small rural village of Amankwatia. The local children attend a school, which was built with the aid of the Fairtrade premium. In New Koforidua, Africa’a first Fairtrade town, Allison and Cindy met with 40 to 50 farmers who supply Fairtrade cocoa to the Kuapa Kokoo cocoa co-operative.
Kuapa Kokoo’s cocoa is used in many of the big brand Fairtrade chocolate bars. “The farmers were very concerned about the future of Fairtrade produce and asked us to bring the message back to Ireland for people to continue supporting Fairtrade,” says Allison. “Fairtrade means they can improve their lives in Ghana, continue farming and continue to send their children to school.” In Asuom, Cindy and Allison visited Serendipalm, a Fairtrade palm oil plantation and production unit. Here, they were guided through a local village where a new water pump has been installed and a new toilet block built with Fairtrade premium. “Sanitation in many of these small villages is very poor,” explains Cindy “and being part of the Fairtrade system is having huge positive impacts on their lives.” “Entire towns are developed as part of the Fairtrade system, not just cocoa plantations,” explains Allison. “You can really feel the sense of community and pride in their traditions. In one of the weaving projects we visited, the man running it spoke extremely passionate about promoting sustainable tourism in his country.”
Throughout all the areas that the women visited in Ghana, they were met with huge smiles and even bigger welcomes. “The palm oil plantation was visually stunning,” says Allison. “All the work is done outdoors, mainly by women and everyone seemed very happy and relaxed. We were given a very warm welcome.”
“I would encourage everyone to think twice about everything that we consume in our consumer hungry society and maybe consider a simple change, such as buying fairtrade tea/coffee/chocolate, confident in the knowledge that just by having a cuppa, we can impact on the daily lives of others, positively,” says Cindy. On Saturday, March 8, ‘Clonakilty Chocolate’, which recently received the Fairtrade Mark, will officially launch at The Lettercollum Kitchen Project Shop in Clonakilty. Anyone interested in becoming involved in the Clonakilty Fairtrade committee can contact the chairperson Trevor Kingston on 086-2202029. http://www.westcorkpeople.ie/features/fair-play-to-fairtrade/
We're doing our best loading & scanning some of the lovely bits of video & press out there about our choc - if you find something we haven't seen send it our way please! x