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HB Ingredients co-sponsored the 6th Annual Chocolate Conference



HB Ingredients co-sponsored the 6th Annual Chocolate Conference, which was held at Westminster Kingsway College, on 12th July.
There was an informal networking meal on the Sunday evening where Chocolatiers were able to get together and discuss their products and share experiences.

The day started with David Brealey, our Technical Sales Manager in the Midlands. His background was working for Thorntons for 13 years; 6 years in manufacturing and 7 years in new product development. He discussed how to taste chocolate through taste and sensory analysis. We did a blind tasting test to see what we perceive to be a good quality chocolate which was interesting, there was a cheaper chocolate, standard and then a more expensive and we ranked them in order of qualilty.
He also gave us a few tips on tasting chocolate:

  • Usually done in mornings
  • Not more than six samples
  • Decide on the order (strongest or most lasting flavour last)
  • Quiet controlled area
  • Record your findings (historical data is key)

He talked about how well do we know our products. Would we reconize our chocolate if it was put next to someone elses.
We know the state it leaves our shop but do we know how it looks when the customer gets it home? If you offer a mail order service, try posting a box to yourselve to see if the customer is getting what you think. Which was an interesting and informative talk.

The second speaker was Damian Allsop, he works in a slightly different way to many other chocolatiers as he uses water to unlock the true flavour of chocolate.
He demonstrated how to create different flavours using various Sosa products, we stock some of the Sosa Range but only a very very small part of their wide range of products.He mainly used Progianduja which is like the Gianduja but without the nuts which was a base for the different flavours he used. He passed round various chocolates for us to taste which included White Giandjua lollies with passionfruit, Dark Gianduja with violet and raspberries, Pineapple and black pepper truffle.

The morning session was finished by Giles Spied from Westminster Trading Standards.
He discussed the following points:

  2. THE WEIGHTS AND MEASURES (PACKAGED GOODS) REGULATIONS 2006- Ensuring the weight you are stating on the product is correct.
  3. THE PACKERS RULE - Actual contents of the packages should not be less than the nominal quantity
  4. LABELLING ISSUES- The label should include the correct alllergen, nutritional information.The traffic light markings can be used on your labelling if you wish, it isn't compulsory to have this on your labelling.

The fourth speaker was Miguel Escurrel from Xocoa in Barcelona. In 1994 the first shop was opened, 2002 Corporate change of their image, 2003 They opened their first franchise. They have 20 shops between Spain and Portugal some of which are franchises. They have a trendy image and focused on the packaging a little too much as found it was costing them more in packaging than the chocolate. So they are trying to concentrate on the actual chocolate to increase sales and they believe they should be selling chocolate all year round but is hard when it is so hot. They produced some interesting products for example baseball caps, jeans, converse shoes all made out of chocolate.

Damian Allsop then continued to talk us through more ideas of how to create different chocolates using unusual flavours.

The next speaker was Mark Grant from Roadmap Business Consultants, Mark spent 29 years in retailing and manufacturing with blue-chip and niche companies in the UK and USA, including Marks & Spencer, Moss Bros Group and Brooks Brothers. He helps businesses to imprve processes, resulting in greater efficiency, increased profit generation and improved team engagement. He discussed the following on how to help improve our businesses:

  1. Lead/enquiry generation
  2. Conversion rate
  3. Number of times customers buy
  4. Average Sale
  5. Margins

To finish the day the final speaker was Fritz Knipschildt from Knipschildt Chocolatiers, who is on the short list of America's great chocolatiers. He uses unusual shapes, strong flavour combinations to create a different and enjoyable chocolate. He started working in restaraunts from a young age and started to make chocolates from his bedsit and sell to the public. Word soon got around and major retailers such as Dean & Deluca and Martha Stewart were now stocking his chocolates. In 2005 he opened Chocopologie Café a new concept cafe and retail store. His business to this day continues to grow.



HB Ingredients
Cocoa House, 22 Bell Lane,Bellbrook Industrial Estate,
Uckfield East Sussex. TN22 1QL.
Sales order hot-line:+44(0)844 32 44 499
Enquiries:+44(0)845 88 00 799 Fax:+44(0)845 88 00 833