It is key to our business, which is about human relationships. In fact at the moment the chocolate is not certified “fair trade”. It is way more than that, its ethically engaged and recognizes the farmers need to make a proper living from their hard work. Too few people ever think about the real price of a bar of chocolate in human terms, and the reality that we are heading toward a cocoa crisis if we don’t do something to change the way it is grown and traded at the moment.
In regards to health and beauty what would you say are the best types of chocolate to go for?
The higher the anti-oxidant level, the healthier the chocolate, so dark is best, sorry milk chocolate does not really count here! The milk locks in the nutrients and does not allow the body to absorb them. The less refined the better too in terms of pure anti-oxidant value.
Do you believe chocolate to be good for your health and makes you beautiful?
Its not just me who believes it, the facts are there in black and white, from numerous studies in medical and scientific journals. Of course we all know that a little bit of something you enjoy is good for you, but it’s really true with chocolate! Chocolate raises your serotonin levels (a natural version of Prozac), its packed full of vitamins, minerals and trace elements and of course antioxidants, as well as being hugely pleasurable to eat. You don’t need very much to give you this effect; the Chocolate Doctor would prescribe 5g of good dark chocolate 3 times a day …
How would you say the chocolate industry has changed over the years?
I am pleased to say that after years of campaigning about the addition of trans-fats into confectionery, things have changed dramatically. The average bar of chocolate no longer contains them, and the high-end large chocolate manufacturers have stopped adding artificial vanillin. They are also starting to take corporate social responsibility much more seriously, though they have a way to go still. The message about cocoa solids has arrived, though not the bit about the quality of the beans or the care that needs to be taken at every stage of their journey from tree to bar. Buying chocolate, using the percentage as a benchmark is like buying wine by the volume of alcohol.
The luxury end of the market has seen huge growth, its really the only part of the market that has, the rest is about fighting for the biggest slice of the confectionery market.
What is your favourite chocolate of all time?
I have to say Nibble-icious from the Grenada Chocolate Co – it’s a 60% cocoa chocolate made from the wonderfully fragrant and mellow Trinitario beans, with roasted cocoa nibs mixed in to give a delightful crunch and added intensity. A close second is our violet and lemon ganache.
Who inspires you to do what you do?
I love beautiful objects, and great art, music, literature and food from all around the world. Perhaps that is not what you meant? There are lots of wonderful people from many different worlds, Mott Green who founded the Grenada Chocolate Co, and Charlie Boxer from Italo – our local deli, they work so hard to make other peoples lives better, they are the unsung hero’s who are not motivated by money or celebrity, Also my husband James who works so hard (he is MD) and all the people in the business who are like a big extended family, and of course my children who are very much a part of my whole motivation. My family has been hugely supportive since the business started, with my mother putting up the family house as a guarantee for my loan and my brother putting in the seed capital. T would love to be able to follow Nick Clegg’s idea of getting everyone who works at Rococo to be fully engaged as shareholders – I am waiting to see what concrete steps will be made to help businesses do this.
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read the complete intereview at Semple Magazine Issue 1.