Hello there. I am so happy you stopped by to visit our shop. I wanted to share a little bit about me and my story so you know who you are buying from and why I do what I do.
My name is Brontie and I’m a recovering lawyer! I spent 12 years qualifying and working as an international and commercial lawyer. It was well paid and involved a lot of travel and hotel rooms! But actually it was a really empty life. There was no soul to it. I missed my children and husband a lot. I didn’t take care of friendships. I didn’t have time for social events, classes, or even fun. My days felt shallow and stressful. The to-do list never came to an end! Most of it was pointless and didn’t stand a chance of making the world a better place. I had this overwhelming feeling of being a square peg in a round hole, a misfit, I couldn’t reconcile my work with my own internal ethics. I felt sad, pretty much all the time.
It took a long time to plan an escape and a lot of sacrifices. As a family, we had to clear debts, sell a lot of things, including our house and car and we had to overhaul our entire thinking about work, money and lifestyle. I decided that I have just one life and it came first. That meant prioritising kids, friends, holidays, volunteering and of course fun! I redesigned my life so that I wasn’t chained to a monthly salary, this was not easy. It took just over a year to get to where I needed to be, but it has been worth it. I would do it all over again tomorrow.
Towards the end of the ‘year of sell everything’, I started to experiment with chocolate and especially alternative sugars and plant sweeteners. I sourced the highest quality, ethically sound ingredients I could find and watched a lot of training videos. I read blog after blog on the intricacies of chocolate making. I found an old friend who had some experience with the process and he gave me some tips. My lovely little (not so little!) brother converted an outbuilding in my back garden into a mini chocolate factory and production commenced.
Since then the company has gone from strength to strength while still staying with the original values and goals. We have won awards and grants, we have been featured in the local and national press and we hope we are making our mark on the sugary confectionary world by offering customers something much healthier.
We, as a company, take a strong ethical approach to sourcing. We chose to buy our cacao from an amazing UK company who only deal with organic and fair trade farms. We are currently using Peruvian Criollo and Ecuadorian cacao as we feel these are the best tasting varieties available. The suppliers of cacao are frequently inspected to prove that there is no child labour and no use of dangerous chemicals in the growing process. Our supplier is also a member of the fair trade partnership and this ensures that growers are paid fairly. To ensure all of these checks and balances are in place, we do have to pay fairly high prices for our raw ingredients, such as cacao. This is why our chocolate is not cheap. But honestly, huge profit is not our goal, we simply want to offer a different way of enjoying cacao to our customers. Our cacao is some of the highest quality in the world and it produces a superior tasting chocolate that is not bitter and just melts perfectly on the tongue.
We make our chocolate by stone grinding both raw and roasted cacao nibs for 3 full days and nights in our heavy stone wheel grinders. We add in vanilla bean and pink Himalyan rock salt slowly over this period. Until we have an amazingly smooth mix. Then we add our carob syrup, which is low GI and GL and free from refined sugars. Finally we flavour our chocolate with organic NHR essential oils like sweet orange, peppermint, or lime. The result is a great tasting, smooth chocolate like no other raw varieties. Every one of our products is vegan and free-from. We won’t compromise on that.
Finally, if I am Brontie, then who is the ‘Co’… Well Co does not mean Company, for me, it means ‘Community’. I would not have got to this point, nor will I go further, without the overwhelming and unyielding support of my community, my family, friends, neighbours. My creative writing class, my yoga class, my yoga teacher, my soul choir group. My wonderful stockists, who all share a similar view to me. I am grateful to other chocolatiers who selflessly gave their advice and tips. I am thankful to anyone who courageously tried a bit in those early days when I really didn’t know what I was doing, then gave me honest feedback. And you, the person reading this right now, the person who might decide to shop here today, who wants to support me in this journey, the person who knows that even a small purchase of my chocolate can make small ripples of difference. Thank you.
So that is a little bit about me, I hope that gives you an insight into my world and the chocolate that you buy. Enjoy eating my healthy organic chocolate 🙂