Here at Rococo, we love what we do. Our passionate chocolatiers work hard to fill our shops with a weekly delivery of our beautiful, freshly made Couture range of truffles and caramels.
We’ve just had the joy of receiving the Academy of Chocolate’s Golden Bon Bon Award, for our ‘perfectly executed’ Rooibos truffle, and we thought we’d take the opportunity to share with you just how our team of chocolatiers develop and produce such wonderful chocolates.
The process of development begins when Founder & Creative Director Chantal Coady, and Head Chocolatier Karen Waller, decide for the year ahead what the theme of our ‘Seasons’ range of chocolates will be. This year it is the British Isles, but last year we took you on a voyage around the globe. Every season we created four new, and inspirational flavours and designs to take you on a tour of ingredients from around the world.
We decided that for the Winter collection, we should wake everybody up a little, bringing zest and fruitiness to the dull Winter days. When we’re working on concepts, the whole team here at Rococo brainstorms for ideas. Somebody may have a fruit they love, or have tried a new ingredient on holiday.
The Rooibos tea infused in this ganache, is a favourite of Karen’s from her years spent living in Pembrokeshire, running her artisan chocolaterie which served beautiful Waterloo Teas from Cardiff. It pairs so well with citrus, that it was a natural decision to pair it with blood orange: another Winter classic.
Chocolate is a wondrous material, it’s almost bewitching. It deserves a calm, yet disciplined environment, conducive to learning, creativity, and the perfection of our craft. In an industry dominated by men, and sometimes fuelled by egos, Karen runs the Rococo kitchen in a democratic way, and encourages all of the chocolatiers and trainees to play a role in development.
We begin by, as a group, tasting the key ingredients and matching them to the wonderful range of Valrhona couvertures, which we are so grateful to work with every day. It’s always incredible how one origin will make an ingredient shine, while another may clash terribly! To ensure we’re getting the best result possible, we will always experiment with different methods or techniques. Chantal loves zingy flavours: we always try the push the envelope, to create surprising and successful marriages…
So, once we had chosen our chocolate, Karen decided to test whether a water or cream infusion would best carry the flavour, and the chocolatiers made two separate ganaches to see. Surprisingly, the water ganache was devoid of the tea flavour, but the cream one shone.
Decision made, the process of perfecting the truffle follows. Tastings, redevelopments and tweaks follow over the weeks. Adding a little extra zing to the jelly, then a little more jelly, a little more ganache… Even after the collection launched, we still worked to perfect it!
This is what we love here at Rococo – the challenge of creating something wonderful. We know when we’ve got it just right.
The appearance of our seasonal quartets is always in our minds as the development progresses, and everyone will be involved in the final designs. We believe it’s a vital part of the personal and professional growth of our employees: to play a part and to feel invested in our chocolates, as this gives them skills to use both here and in the future, and helps them to gain an understanding of our materials that goes deeper than everyday production.
Perfecting our craft and providing our customers with the same experience as the judges of an Awards competition, is at the core of who we are. We strive to make every chocolate to the same level. Every time we mould shells, make a ganache, enrobe or cap a chocolate, we aim to give the same experience.
We understand that the concept and development of a chocolate is only the beginning, so we never rest on our laurels. We’re part of a wonderful and growing industry in the UK and worldwide, where new and established chocolatiers are becoming more creative and skilled every day – there are many talented chocolatiers hot on our heels, in spite of our 34 years of experience!
With Rooibos, and its fellow Gold Award winning chocolate Yuzu & Sake most likely making it into our permanent collection soon, development continues for this year and into the next. Currently in development is our Autumn collection, full of Karen’s memories from West Country holidays; Somerset Cider, Cornish Tea & Biscuits and maybe a Clotted Cream Fudge. The challenge is on for the Academy Awards 2018!