Cassandra In Conversation: Chantal Coady the Chocolate Detective

The finest chocolate uncovered by Chantal Coady, the founder of The Chocolate Detective.

What drives your passion to make chocolate? I have visions of you spreading out silken fields of warm chocolate on your kitchen table!!

Chocolate has been my lifelong passion. It started out as a childhood infatuation that developed further when I founded Rococo Chocolates. Now with The Chocolate Detective, my love of chocolate continues.

I'm still learning all the time and we are very lucky to have invested in a small organic cocoa farm on the island of Grenada. I was there earlier this year with William September who looks after it all. I enjoy walking under the rainforest trees, seeing the pods and tasting the juicy fruit that surrounds the cocoa beans.

(The image on the right shows Grenada Chocolate Company farm crew on Gro Cocoa land, February 2015. Photo by Tom Coady.)

I love getting "hands on" with chocolate, to achieve perfect glossy, crisp and snappy results you need to understand how to align these very fragile crystal structures. Imagine pouring a bucket of molten chocolate onto a marble table and moving it around with spatulas until the perfect temper is reached…Something that takes a lot of patience and practice.

(The image on the left shows Miss Sharon hand-sorting cocoa beans at the Grenada Chocolate Company. February 2015. Photo by Tom Coady.)

I love the drawings on your website?

The logo of The Chocolate Detective that is a gift from Sir Quentin Blake I feel so lucky to have had his hand gently guiding my new business.

I have worked on a black and white pattern printed on our tissue paper to complement the logo. I was thrilled to work with a paper mill in Lancashire who harness the energy of the river and use water based inks to produce this beautiful and super environmentally friendly product.

We also work closely with the gifted bird illustrator Madeleine Floyd, author of Birdsong, she came to us when we were just setting up the new business and we created the Rainbow Nightingale egg to celebrate emerging from the pandemic and raising money for the Nightingale Foundation which awards grants to nurses.

Why did you call your company The Chocolate Detective?

The name Chocolate Detective came from a New Zealand friend Felicity Morgan Rhind when we were making a short film together a few years back. It was pouring with rain and I was wearing my Barbour raincoat - looking like a detective I suppose - the name chimed and it has become my new identity.

What is your favourite type of chocolate of the ones you are making for Easter this year?

I love all the birds eggs, but the Robins are particularly cute, but perhaps the Puffins are the ones that steal my heart, having finally seen them on Lundy Island, a long held childhood ambition.

Do you make chocolate for vegans?

Indeed, ALL our dark chocolate is for vegans, the Grenada and Ecuador bars are fabulous and quite different from each other. This year we are making a very limited edition of vegan salted caramel eggs.

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