Forfar-Based Luxury Chocolates to Melt Your HeartNeil Hardie
After launching her own range of luxury chocolates, Chocolatia’s Chloe Oswald is readying herself for her next big challenge – the Valentine’s Day rush.
As a former pastry chef and chocolatier at Gleneagles Hotel, Chloe is no stranger to high-pressure environments. So the countless orders for her Valentine’s Day boxes won’t make her melt.
Having recently moved to Forfar, Chloe is currently operating from her own kitchen, but is on the lookout for larger premises to help with the increase in demand.
She said: “For a production week like this in the run up to Valentine’s Day I break the process up into stages. It takes me just over four days from start to finish.”
This sees Chloe spread out the chocolate preparation, the making of fillings, then the decoration and packaging.
“On the third day I cap the chocolates. Then I remove them all from the chocolate moulds and get them packed up in boxes. This is the most satisfying part of the process,” she said.
“My orders have been pretty steady and I have a market in Edinburgh this weekend so it’ll be good to see what it’s like face-to-face. Some people pre-order but I’m expecting a big rush of people last-minute.
“My chocolates have a short shelf-life because I use fresh ingredients, so I have six weeks to prepare but I aim to make them as close to Valentine’s Day as I can.”
While traditionally it is typical for women to receive chocolates on Valentine’s Day, Chloe is hoping to hit a wider demographic.
The introduction of her new whisky bonbons are designed as a more masculine option.
These boxes come with four new flavours – toasted malt, honey whisky and almond, toasted oat and the Caraibe 66 dark chocolate ganache. Alongside the whisky pairing bonbons, Chocolatia is also offering a whole range of Valentine’s treats.
Heart-shaped chocolate lollies and the 12-pack collection boxes are making up the bulk of pre-order sales.
“The new collection has six different flavours in the box and all the lollies are hand painted.
“I’m also offering pink and red love bombs – which have marshmallows, confetti and salted caramel inside,” said Chloe.
At the moment, Chloe is working by herself, covering making, packing and social media but is looking to expand soon.
In the week leading up to Valentine’s Day, she is producing upwards of 2,500 chocolates, leaving minimal space in her current premises for storage.
“I want to move into a bigger kitchen so I have a little bit more space, then take on someone to help with the production,” she explained.
Not content with individual orders, Chocolatia is also prominent within the wider culinary biosphere.
“I make petit-fours for a couple of Michelin-star restaurants and some fine dining establishments,” she said.
“There are also hotels all over Scotland that are taking in my products, as well as shops and farmers’ markets, too.”
Running an independent business would be enough for most, but Chloe’s passion for chocolate stretches further than being just a job.
She also runs chocolate-making classes in Perth at Quince & Cook. They are £65 per person and clients leave with chocolates and a whole set of skills at the end of the night.
Guests can learn how to paint chocolate moulds, temper chocolate and fill their hand-painted bars with delicious fillings.
“They are very popular at this time of year. There is a Valentine’s Day class, then it runs into Mother’s Day and Easter,” she said.
The classes are open for anyone and you don’t need any experience, you could be a home baker or a chocolate enthusiast. Anyone can walk away from these having learned something new.”
With the cost-of-living crisis impacting everyone, Chloe is thankful to her consistent customer base.
“I’m lucky to have loyal and passionate regulars who appreciate the chocolates that I make and understand they are a luxury that is worth enjoying,” she added.
“Sales are good, a little bit higher than last year which is down to the organic growth but not as high as they would be in a more stable financial climate.”