We care very much about 3 core principles every day at Chococo and have done since 2002
We are also proud of being ethical chocolate makers as, just as we care about the taste of our finished chocolates, we also care about the bigger picture - about the provenance of our ingredients, whether local or global, and about the people who produce them. We are proud to work with our direct trade chocolate partners in Ecuador, Colombia & Madagascar who are making fine milk, dark, white & oat m!lk chocolate for us in their country of origin from tree to chocolate, thereby adding more value to their local economies than exporting dried beans, which is then shipped direct to us by sea for us to work with.
Locally, we employ a wonderful team of local people both at our HQ in Holton Heath, near Wareham in Dorset, and at each of our Chocolate Houses across the South.
We are very proud to be a Dorset food business, working with other local & regional food producers and being part of the Dorset Food & Drink scene. Working with both local food & drink producers and English companies for our design, printing & lots of other elements of our business, is something we have done since we set up Chococo back in 2002 - it is part of our DNA and will continue to do so into the future. In fact, our passion for working with local producers was recognised by the Dorset business community when we won the first 'Investing in Dorset' award at the annual Dorset Business Awards in 2016. More recently, we won The 'Dorset Food Hero' award at the 2019 Dorset Food & Drink Awards, in recognition of our work building a proudly Dorset-based business using many local ingredients!
Making truly fine chocolate products with real ingredients & natural colours (& no weird & wonderful additives, preservatives, artificial colours or palm oil), has been core to our ethos since day 1 back in 2002 and always will be. We believe in making chocolates which will delight and as a national food journalist once said "their purity makes the flavour sing".
Working with local food & drink producers has been one of the joys since we launched as they are as passionate about their cows, bees, cheeses, vodka stills, coffee roasters and hedgerows as we are about our chocolates, so that together we can produce truly unique chocolates that are a true reflection of what's best about Dorset and the South West!
We also passionately believe that you can be a chocoholic without being a sugarholic and so we have always worked with high cocoa chocolate (our house milk chocolates have always contained more than 40% cocoa since 2002 and our current award-winning bespoke signature direct trade milk chocolate made exclusively for us by our chocolate partners in Colombia contains 47%) & are always interested in offering our customers new low sugar chocolates in both milk & dark chocolate to expand their taste experiences.
Our passion for keeping it real and handcrafting truly fine chocolates that we are truly proud of has been reflected in the number of both national & international fine food & chocolate awards that we have won to date - we are at 128 so far (we probably should stop counting soon, but we hope that it shows that you don't have to take our word for it, our chocolates are recognised as being 'officially delicious' by independent experts!).
Ever since 2002, we have cared about the environment too. Starting the business a few years after sailing around the world & then becoming a mum, I (Claire) feel that we have a duty to look after our planet as much as we can & leave as light a footprint as possible. As both of us are sailors, we are very aware of what is happening to our oceans as they become increasingly polluted by plastic. I was very upset to hear that microplastics were found deep in the Southern Ocean in the last Volvo Ocean race, a part of the world that was pristine when I was so privileged to sail there nearly 25 years ago.
Since launch, our selection boxes have always had cardboard grids inside to hold each chocolate, have never had plastic vac forms & they never will have! We have always only ever offered paper carrier bags & now 100% of our packaging is plastic-free. it is either either compostable (we use woodpulp bags & cornstarch cellophane) or fully recyclable (all our cardboard).
We also offer paper straws in our cafes, fully compostable takeaway cups, wooden spoons for gelato & discounts for any customers who request a takeaway drink with a reusable cup.
On a bigger scale, in keeping with our concern for the planet, we are working with the Sumatra Orangutan Society to help raise funds to reforest areas of the Sumatran rainforest destroyed by illegal palm oil plantations. Reforestation helps both restore areas of habitat for the wildlife, including the orangutans (of which there are only 14,600 left in Sumatra) and local farmers, as part of the reforestation plans include planting trees that will generate an income for them, including cocoa!
With every chocolate orangutan sold, we fund the planting of a tree & since starting the project in December 2018, we have funded the planting of over 15,000 seedlings and once mature (takes c5 years), they will be producing cocoa. Not only is this a new income stream for the farmers, but they are a treat for orangutans as they love eating fresh cocoa bean flesh - they break open the pods & suck the sweet white flesh that surrounds each cocoa bean inside!
We have also supported the SeaLife Trust, a marine conservation charity based in Poole and currently are supporting the Ocean Giants Programme, Project Seagrass & Just One Tree. Click here for more information on all our environmental support projects.
Where can you buy our Chocolates?
You can buy our fresh chocolates direct from us at our original Chocolate House in Swanage, our 2nd on the High Street in Winchester, our 3rd on Gandy St in Exeter, our 4th on Carfax in Horsham or via our nationwide mail order service.
You can also find a selection of our seasonal ranges in premium retailers and independent food shops around the UK but that does vary, so the best place to find our full range of chocolates, hot chocolates and bakery, if you cannot visit our Chocolate Houses, is here on our website. We also offer a Corporate gifts service with personalisation options.