Supplier Spotlight: Beaulieu Chocolate Studio turns 17!

In the latest installment of our “Supplier Spotlight” series, we caught up with Beaulieu Chocolate Studio as they celebrate 17 years in the business – and how they stop their chocolate from melting in the summer heat!

Sweet dreams!

Beaulieu Chocolate Studio opened in July 2006 after founder, Trevor Smith, opened the chocolate shop in the old village patisserie on the Beaulieu estate.

Hand-made chocolates have been a part of the village since the early 1980s but Trevor had dreams of creating artisan and luxury chocolate ranges.

Today, the studio makes a range of over 30 filled chocolates, with new flavours added all the time, and a wide range of original chocolate bars and gifts.

Trevor says: “From the smallest pocket-money chocolate rabbit to the most luxurious chocolate box gift, every chocolate wish is fulfilled.”

Trevor Smith proudly displays his handmade chocolates

Watch the chocolate-making action!

It is the long heritage of chocolate-making in Beaulieu that prompted Trevor to divide his shop into two. One half is the workshop at the back where the chocolates are made and in the front half is the shop where they are displayed and sold.

His vision was to make an original range of hand-made chocolates on the premises and in view of the public, who can watch and enjoy the chocolate-making process as it happens.

French inspiration

Trevor is from the New Forest, but he lived in France for 8 years, where he trained as a baker and chocolatier – and that is where his ideas for the chocolate shop originated.

“Over there, it is not unusual to see various artisan chocolate shops and workshop-style cafes where people can enjoy sampling local chocolates on offer – and see how it’s made” Trevor said. “It’s all part of the experience – and that was something I wanted to bring home to the New Forest!”

A Welcome addition

The Chocolate Studio produces everything by hand using fresh ingredients that are locally sourced wherever possible – and it is that shared ethos that makes Trevor’s chocolates a “Welcome” addition to our stores.

Welcome stores sell plenty of local products to our customers so that they can sample the delights of what’s on offer right on their local doorstep. We also understand that by supporting local businesses, it brings growth to the economy and supports jobs.

Not only do we see the economic benefits of supporting local, Welcome stores sees it as “doing our bit” towards reducing our carbon footprint too!

“It’s great to see Welcome stores onboard with supporting local suppliers” Trevor added. “It means that customers living further afield than our shop in other towns and villages can still enjoy our hand-crafted chocolates – but they are all made in our shop.

“Our best sellers are New Forest Bark, a speciality resembling tree bark with dark chocolate and almonds, Milk Honeycomb bars and Caramel and sea salt bars – they always seem to fly out of the shop!”

Keeping cool

As the summer months are now upon us, what is Trevor’s secret to making sure chocolates are only melting in the mouths of customers – and not spoiling beforehand?

“Hot summers can be a challenge” he says “but air conditioning has come to our rescue many times – and it’s the only way we can make sure everything stays at the right temperature!”

Welcome stores is pleased to stock Beaulieu chocolate fresh from the studio, but you can also pay them a visit at 1 High Street in Beaulieu 7 days a week from 9-5.

For more information head to

Supplier Spotlight: New Forest Tea Company

We got “the tea” from one of our local suppliers which launched in lockdown and continues to “pour out” success.

Sorry, we’ll stop with the tea puns!

We caught up with Lyndhurst-based New Forest Tea Company to talk about what it was like starting a business during a pandemic and their secret to success.

Put the kettle on!

New Forest Tea Company started in 2021 during lockdown, but the owners Ian and Kelly ran two successful tea lounges in Lyndhurst for 10 years. They also work alongside their faithful pet dog Gracie who has the very important title of Head of Tails and Barketing!

“We had a clear plan of what we wanted to achieve from the start” Ian said. “although we have maintained our core approach we have evolved to add new elements to the business such as our travelling tea chest.”

Gracie oversees all tails and barketing!

Those living locally to the New Forest may well have seen the tea chest at several fairs and festivals – and that means Ian and Kelly can bring great tasting tea, wherever you may be!

And, it’s not just getting outdoors the New Forest Tea-m love to do, but they love to play their part in keeping all that air fresh too. The company is extremely aware of its environmental footprint – one of many reasons why they make such great suppliers to Welcome stores.

“Our main focus in addition to quality products is to make sure we “Leave no Trace”” Ian explains. “With this in mind all our tea pyramids are made from plant based material, are plastic free, compostable and are pressure sealed thus ensuring a minimal environmental impact.

“Plus, the outer packaging is also home compostable once the labels are removed. All our teas are ethically sourced and we pride ourselves on the fact that our tea pyramids contain the same quality tea as our loose leaf collection offers. As a family run, New Forest business we also offer high quality customer service along with free local delivery.”

For a company that started up during the 2021 lockdown, the New Forest Tea company has gone from strength to strength – and secured its first accolade at the New Forest Brilliance in Business Awards.

Ian said: “We were delighted to be voted as Best New Business after just 6 months of trading. We also came second at the Local Producer area in the New Forest Show with our tea chest.”

On working with Welcome stores, Ian added: “We have also been delighted to be stocked and served by numerous New Forest businesses and beyond. The support that Welcome shows for local businesses should be a model for all local supermarkets as it allows customers to see that local suppliers do it best!”

The New Forest Tea Company has kindly offered Welcome stores customers a discount on online orders – simply head to and when you get to the checkout enter welcome10 as a promo code.

Keep an eye out for the new 12th blend going live in September – we’ll certainly be enjoying a cup or two!