While Chocolate may be a joy of joys for many people, chocolatiers are not always the most inviting of places. Dark wood panelling and gilt ornamentation all add up to take the majority of chocolatiers back just a few too many years, making the prospective shopper feel out of time as much as out of place- at best they are often just a little too conservative, at worst they are entirely uninteresting. Rococo Chocolates, however, is somewhat different. Founded thirty years ago, Rococo Chocolates was the inspirational idea of Chantal Coady. Starting out selling rose and violet creams in a luxury department store’s chocolate section, Chantal was subjected to the humourless and affected environment found in many a chocolate store. For a marvel of culinary delight, it was no way to express the king of confectionary to its full eminence. It was this experience that caused her to rebel in the face of conformity and occupy herself in a way to bring the joy back into not just the eating, but the whole experience of chocolate. Rococo was envisaged as a chocolate paradise, a place where all who enter can revel in it. With friends from art school, a reimagining of Botecelli’s “The Birth of Venus” was painted on the ceiling of her newly acquired shop, a statement in itself that her shop was anything but the norm. The walls were coloured candyfloss pink to give the store a brightness that was the direct opposite of everything Chantal detested in the chocolate industry. As a final inventive flourish, a chandelier entirely made from sugar was hung from the ceiling, a centrepiece and testament to the stores unusual philosophy.
The imagination and sense of fun embodied in Rococo, as well as the vast range of creative delights that awaited, meant that the King’s Road store drew in shoppers from all around London. Nearly three decades on Rococo is still inspiring many with warm and inviting shops, delicately nuanced flavours and creative, beautiful packaging with not a gold ribbon in sight. The founding of Rococo was followed by three books and three additional stores, culminating in the Academy of Chocolate awarding the company with an award for ‘Changing the Way People Think About Chocolate’, with Chantal personally receiving recognition from the Wall Street Journal as the founder of the ‘New British School’ of chocolate. Both these recognitions serve to prove just how influential Rococo has been in not just bringing back the delight and exaltation of chocolate but to bring back the joy in the experience. As with all great, luxurious products, Rococo is always intent on using only the very best of ingredients. While lesser chocolatiers may settle for artificial flavours and additives, Rococo ensures that only natural and healthy ingredients go into their products, even going to the lengths of growing their very own chocolate. In 2004 Rococo first met with the Grenada Chocolate Company, a fellow member of the Organic Cocoa Farmers Cooperation, while visiting the small commonwealth island, a country known for producing the very best in fine cocoa. Later that year, the country was devastated by a spate of hurricanes, destroying the vast majority of the cocoa industry on the northern tip, where the Grenada Chocolate Company was based. In an effort to help the industry on which the locals relied, Rococo produced the special edition ‘Hurricane Emily Bar’, from which the proceeds went to help the relief effort. Influenced by experiences in the country three years previously, in 2007 Rococo made the next step and, in a join venture with the Grenada Chocolate Company, purchased a small cocoa farm in Grenada. A perfect opportunity to produce fairly traded, ethical chocolate, the farm was dubbed Grococo and, since its first successful harvest, the cocoa it has produced has been included in the Rococo Organic House Blend. Now this fine, organic and ethical cocoa is also included in every single one of their organic products. As chocolate is a staple this time of year, this festive season Rococo is proud to present a masterpiece for the centre of any chocolate-loving table.
Rococo’s Chocolate Christmas trees are available in milk or dark chocolate and make an impressive table setting; with candied ginger, orange, pistachios and coloured crunchy baubles, they encompass all the flavours of Christmas.Designed for sharing, the rings break off easily and will be the perfect end to your Christmas day festivities. Along with the tree also comes a more personalised touch. Rococo’s award winning ganache chocolates are now available in a custom selection. With the entire range to choose from, including “International Chocolate awards 2012” Silver medal winning flavours, Rose and Cocoa Nib and Madagascar House Truffle, the box can be personalized to any loved ones tastes, making it the perfect gift for a lover of fine chocolate. Now, with a range of confectionary stretching from simple yet luxuriously smooth milk chocolate to seasonal ‘Christmas Pudding’ bars chocolate Christmas trees and everything in between, Rococo’s reputation for inventiveness is well deserved and, along with an unconventional way of viewing chocolate, have redefined the way chocolatiers operate, moving the industry from the austere, conservative gloom of the past into a bright, candyfloss pink future.