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!
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.”
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.
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!”
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 beaulieuchocolatestudio.co.uk