Spotlight on Chocolat of Tewkesbury
PUBLISHED: 13:15 19 June 2019 | UPDATED: 13:15 19 June 2019
With its unique blend of fantastic coffee and freshly made food, delicious home-made cakes and high quality home-made chocolates, Café au Chocolat has grown from strength to strength
In February 2015 Liz and Nigel Dawson left their teaching careers in Lancashire to open Café au Chocolat, a family run coffee shop in the heart of the medieval town of Tewkesbury. With its unique blend of fantastic coffee and freshly made food, delicious home-made cakes and high quality home-made chocolates it has grown from strength to strength. It has become a favourite destination for many people from Tewkesbury and further afield, a meeting place or a place to unwind and relax. Your four legged friend will get a warm welcome too. The success of the café led to it being awarded the title of Best Cotswold Tea / Coffee shop of the Year in 2017 at the Cotswold Life Food & Drink Awards.
As the name suggests chocolate is an important part of what makes Café au Chocolat special. Liz began making chocolate as a hobby while in Lancashire, attending many courses at Slatterys - a well known Chocolatier near Manchester. On opening in 2015 this became part of the business, initially being made and sold in the café. After winning a prestigious 2 Star Great Taste Award from the Guild of Fine Foods it became clear that the chocolate production needed its own premises so that demand could be catered for. As a result, and with help from LEADER funding, Chocolat of Tewkesbury opened its doors in November 2017. Located next door to the coffee shop it has gone from strength to strength, developing a reputation for high quality chocolates and cakes with a very personal service.
All the chocolate products are made on site by Liz and fellow chocolatier Alicia who has successfully completed her apprenticeship with the business. Browse round the shop and you will find a wide range of different flavoured chocolate bars, an array of flavours on the Truffles Bar and lots of Novelty items. A window at the back of the shop floor allows customers to see the chocolates being made. If you prefer to make your own you can join one of the many workshops being run throughout the year, ranging from producing your own chocolate advent calendar, making truffles or Easter Eggs, to Children's workshops producing novelty chocolates. Workshops fill up very quickly but never fear, private bookings can also be made.
Chocolat of Tewkesbury works with a wide range of partners and producers including Raft Clothing (who stock the chocolate in several of their stores), The Tewkesbury Mustard Company, Hussingtree Gin, Croft Farm Water Park and Tewkesbury Park Hotel. It also has a growing reputation for supplying high quality chocolates as corporate gifts and for producing bespoke chocolate favours for weddings or other special occasions. Chocolates can be tailored to meet the customer's need and is carefully planned through a consultation with Liz.
One of the exciting aspects of being a local producer is being able to work with other local businesses to create new products. Liz has worked closely with Hussingtree Gin over the last six months to create a delicious Gin Truffle. After a lot of collaboration and three months of experimenting the final product was entered for the Taste of the West Awards 2019. The effort paid off with the truffle being awarded Silver confirming Chocolat as one of the regions finest Chocolatiers.
This shop is not just about chocolates. Delicious cakes are made on site by the in house bakers Jo and Alicia for the coffee shop next door and for other cafes within Gloucestershire. Cake Friday is becoming a regular event on Tewkesbury High St with Jo, basket in hand, visiting all the other retail outlets to deliver a range of cakes to the traders. Chocolat also make a wide range of cakes to order.
If you visit the coffee shop or watched a recent episode of The One Show you may well have seen the renowned Chocolate Indulgence being attempted by Matt Allwright. This gives customers a real tasty treat of some of the fantastic products made at Chocolat of Tewkesbury. Three options are on offer depending on appetite, The Chocolate Indulgence, the Ultimate Indulgence and the new Supreme Chocolate Indulgence. Complete an indulgence board by yourself and you get your name put on a board, confirming your place amongst the regions Chocoholics.
Having enjoyed a successful 4 ½ years with Café au Chocolat and 1 ½ years with Chocolat there are no plans to rest on their laurels. Liz and Nigel are already planning for the next stage of their business plan by looking to develop their sales on line and creating new and exciting lines in readiness for Christmas 2019. The future appears to very bright for this family business based in the heart of Tewkesbury.
For more information, visit cafe-au-chocolat.co.uk.