Ice cream maker ventures into bean-to-bar chocolate
An established Devon-based ice cream producer has begun making bean-to-bar chocolate in a bid to offer an year-round product that it can sell nationally.
The new range, called ‘The Bar’, includes seven flavours (RRP £4.95, 80g) all of which mirror Salcombe Dairy’s ice cream flavours: milk chocolate orange, dark chocolate with cacao nibs, honeycomb, dark chocolate, white chocolate, milk chocolate, and dark chocolate ginger.
The range launched earlier this year but was only sold through the company’s ice cream parlour in Dartmouth and factory shop in Salcombe.
Having already gained a listing with Darts Farm, Salcombe Dairy is now seeking stockists across the south of England with hopes of national distribution in the future.
Managing director Dan Bly told FFD that the ice cream producer decided to expand into chocolate-making because it was more of a year-round product.
“Ice cream is very seasonal. It misses out on all the occasions like Christmas and Easter,” said Bly, who was inspired by a recent visit to a chocolate operation in Austria. “You can’t gift it or send it via the internet and you’re stuck selling it within a certain radius.
“The bean-to-bar market has really developed in over the last 10 years and it was an area that we felt we could add value.”
Bly travelled to Italy to learn more about the skills needed to create bean-to-bar chocolate. He also brought in outside expertise to train current staff as well as specialist machinery for a new production facility on site.
“Chocolate production is a dry process. I see well-known adverts saying they have a ‘glass & a half’ in a chocolate bar and it makes me laugh,” said Bly. “Cocoa beans have at least 50% cocoa butter so have a high fat content and the rest is liquid and liquid and oils don’t work together.”
With the initial launch under their belt, Salcombe Dairy are now launching two new flavours in time for the Christmas period including a Salcombe gin & juniper bar.
“We’re also developing a new bar which is half way between a dark and milk chocolate,” added Bly. “I really love the flavour of it. We’re hoping to eventually release it and call it Evening Star.”