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The Chocolate Alchemist was founded in 2003
and produce organic handmade award winning chocolate
packed with love and care in the heart of West Sussex

Drinking Chocolate

Caroline Pring (Creative Director) and Paul Leach (Non Creative Director) came up with the idea for The Chocolate Alchemist in November 2002. It was the result of too much white wine in a Chinese restaurant and a life long love of chocolate. Having recently been to Europe and visited the chocolate shops there we were disappointed at the lack of imagination in both the flavours and packaging.

We decided this was the right time to move chocolate into the 21st century and give this wonderful product a new and more modern feel incorporating the more environmentally friendly ideals of today. This was a great theory but we had no finance. We scrapped together our meagre savings and with the help of friends transformed a tatty little garage in a small village called Lickfold. It was a total mess when we moved in certainly not suitable for food production. However after 6 weeks of hard graft and learning a lot about plumbing, electrics and plastering we were there.

Our Busy but Lovely HQ
We launched our product range at the IFE trade show in the Spring of 2003, we were off! We are happy to say that many of the customers we picked up at that time are still with us.

Word spread and sales increased, soon we were bursting at the seams and had to move to a larger purpose built factory down the road in Lodsworth. It used to be a stable yard which was a step up from a garage! Along the way we’ve won awards, had features written about us in trade and national press and we’ve even been on telly a few times too!

Caroline had always had a vision of all The Chocolate Alchemist products sitting together in shop so on February 15th 2007 we opened our shop in Guildford. Yes we know that was the day after Valentine’s Day every single customer who came in said “you should have opened yesterday!” We had planned to open for Valentine’s Day but the paint was still wet, the furniture hadn’t arrived and we didn’t have a till! We continue to create and innovate, so it won’t be long before we have to move factory again!

Julie Making Our Chocolate Bars

About Our Chocolate
Our innovative range of organically produced handmade products should have even the most hardened of chocoholics drooling for more. One of the reasons why we believe our chocolate is the best is because it retains all its natural cocoa butter. Many of the well known brands on the high street sell the cocoa butter to the cosmetics industry as it is a valuable commodity and replace it with cheaper vegetable oil. The addition of vegetable oil as well as compromising the quality of the chocolate also results in a very different taste and texture. We understand that everyone has their own tastes but we would like to explain the differences between our chocolate and the high street brands.

Jars Full Of Big Chocolate Buttons
The first thing you should look for is cocoa content. Nowadays as our taste awareness grows the preferred minimum cocoa content for quality dark chocolate should be no less than 60%, the higher the cocoa the better the chocolate. It is possible to find chocolate of 80% cocoa or more but this really is an acquired taste and exceptionally bitter. The Chocolate Alchemist uses chocolate containing 73% cocoa. Secondly good quality dark chocolate should be smooth, brilliantly shiny and pure mahogany-black in colour. There should never be any white patches on the surface, this undesirable occurrence is called “bloom” and is the result of the chocolate being badly tempered. Tempering is the final process chocolate goes through before it is moulded, it involves melting the chocolate to a temperature of around 45°C and then quickly cooling it, this is a tricky process since cocoa butter naturally contains various types of fat, all with different melting and setting points. Finally the chocolate should also be crisp and make a distinct “snap” when broken in two. It should quickly start to melt in the hand and be smooth in the mouth with no hint of graininess. Finally the chocolate should contain a kaleidoscope of flavours and aromas which continue to develop in the mouth.

Milk chocolate is still the most popular in the UK but to some aficionados it is not really chocolate. Good quality milk chocolate, such as ours, contains 35% cocoa solids and 22% milk solids. White chocolate is basically cacao butter without any cacao solids, with some added sugar, milk and vanilla. Although these two types of chocolate do not contain anywhere near the quantity of cocoa as dark chocolate the same rules apply.

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