2020 was a tough year for chocolate shops around the country, so it's great to see some positive developments on the high street in 2021. In particular, in York, where new vegan brand Tempt is opening its first shop on High Petergate.
It's a bold move during a global pandemic, especially in a city that relies heavily on tourism, but it is something I think we'll see happening more in due course, especially as larger, less nimble firms close down their stores, leaving voids in high streets across Britain. Plus, it can be argued that now is the perfect time to make such a move as we emerge from lockdown.
The opening of the boutique coincides with the launch of a Kickstarter campaign by the brand to raise funds to source equipment to make its own vegan milk and white chocolates in-house.
Meet The Chocolatiers
Karen Waller and Jordan Murphy plan to create a range of ethical and eco-friendly plant-based chocolates. Tired of consuming products containing cheap fats, artificial flavourings, and chalky textures, the pair decided to set up shop in the heart of York with the aim of offering something significantly better.
Born in Yorkshire, Karen previously ran The Chocolate Froglet in Tenby, Pembrokeshire, before becoming Head Chocolatier at London's Rococo, under the leadership of Chantal Coady OBE. When she's not developing chocolate recipes, she's a judge at the Academy of Chocolate and also takes part in the annual Chocs for Chance chocolate auction.
Jordan is a classically-trained chef and award-winning chocolatier, who developed a a successful chocolate kitchen in Trinidad & Tobago.
Their products will tap into the growing vegan chocolate market with a selection of products made with their secret vegan milk and white chocolate recipe. The pair promise a range of truffles, slabs, chocolate-dipped honeycomb, and "as many chocolate orange products as we can make," in honour of Terry's chocolate ties to York.
The brand will have a strong ethical stance too, as the duo complain about the "lack of transparency, honesty and responsibility" demonstrated by many chocolate companies.
Long term, Karen and Jordan hope to develop a range of plant-based classics, such as marshmallow and fudge, and they also envisage adding a vegan deli section to their shop.
The Kickstarter Campaign
Karen has taken out a £10,000 start-up loan and is funding the business with her savings. As such, much of the equipment needed is already on order, but she's in need of crowdfunding support for a couple of bits and bobs.
She hopes to raise £6,550 through the campaign to help:
- Invest in critical ethical ingredients.
- Purchase three grinders to help produce the chocolate on-site rather than use pre-made chocolate.
- Purchase a chocolate panning machine to create chocolate-covered almonds and coffee beans, plus caramelised macadamias and hazelnuts.
Of course, not everyone is interested in getting something out of backing a Kickstarter campaign, other than to see somebody's idea flourish. So, you can support this campaign without a physical reward (but with the comforting knowledge you're helping Karen and Jordan turn a dream into reality).
But for those of us that seek a return on investment, there are several reward tiers on offer.
Pledge £3 or more and get a hot chocolate and caramel when you visit the shop in York.
Support the pair with £5 or more and you'll get your mitts on their vegan chocolate brownie recipe by email.
Pledge £10 or more and you'll receive a first-edition Chocolate Orange vegan milk chocolate bar, together with a virtual hug.
Back the project with £25 or more and your name will be immortalised on cacao tree artwork inside the shop. You'll also receive a first-edition Chocolate Orange vegan milk chocolate bar.
Pledge £30 or more to receive a full set of five artisan plant-based chocolate bars (Chocolate Orange, Rose Otto, White Vanilla, Northern Monkey (peanut gianduja) and Dark Honduras Crunchy Rye Crumb & Sea Salt).
Up that to £50 or more and you'll receive the full set of bars, plus a box of bonbons and a box from their Ultimate Temptation collection (most likely hand-candied orangettes).
Back the project with £100 or more and you'll get two of the boxes above. Enjoy a box yourself and send the other to a friend.
Support of £250 or more unlocks a six-month subscription box of plant-based chocolate treats, while a backing of £500 or more ups that to a 12 month subscription.
The flagship reward is for support of £1,000 or more. You'll receive a selection box and if you're able to visit York, you'll receive an exclusive private group chocolate demonstration, along with either a bar or lollipop making experience or an exclusive pairing session with local spirits. You'll also be treated to a guided walking tour of York's confectionery history, followed by a tasting session and goody bags.
If visiting York isn't practical or permitted in time, you'll get an exclusive private group chocolate demonstration via Zoom, together with a box of the ingredients required. At Christmas, Tempt will also send you a festive plant-based hamper.
Find more details on the Kickstarter campaign page
Should you visit the shop (when we're allowed back out again), please share your thoughts on it and the products in the comments below.