B Chocolate: Creating A Buzz On The Suffolk Coast
There aren’t many businesses that demonstrate the field-to-fork philosophy that gave The Suffolk Coast its foodie reputation quite as well as B Chocolates – except in their case, it’s more like the hive-to-hand philosophy.
B Chocolates is tiny confectionery business run by Fran and Phil, a couple who moved to The Suffolk Coast fifteen years ago and never left. Settling in the beautiful village of Snape, they developed an appreciation for the abundance of fresh food available on their doorstep. In 2009 they decided to join the ranks of the local smallholders themselves, and started keeping bees in their garden.
As it turned out, the honey their bees produced was so delicious that it attracted a flurry of compliments from the community, and before long Fran and Phil were wondering what else they could do with it. The answer they came up with was deliciously simple: they would make sweets.
First out of their kitchen was a range of honey truffles, made from their honey, local cream, chocolate and butter. Unsurprisingly, the truffles were a hit at the local markets. Then came B Chocolates’ honey and sea salt caramels, which were so popular they became something of a local phenomenon. As one happy customer said: “Your honey and sea salt caramels are the most amazingly delicious things I have ever tasted. When I gave my husband one (unwillingly) he said: ‘Oh my God, where did you get these? They are so good they’re evil! They’re the best things I’ve ever eaten!”
A few years on and B Chocolates are still in high demand: the honey and sea-salt caramels are sold in two award-winning local retailers, Lawson’s Delicatessen and Pump Street Bakery, and every month at the famous Snape Maltings Farmers Market. They have even been making waves in the capital, and are now selling like hot cakes at La Fromagerie in London’s Marleybone Street.
As well as the original honey truffles and caramels, Fran and Phil have developed the B Chocolates range to include seasonally flavoured truffles using ingredients from their garden or allotment, or from another small producer. Flavours include blackcurrant, strawberry, hazelnut, and chilli with kaffir lime.
Image by Patrick Skinner