An Unexpected Party

There are some weeks when plans have to go out of the window. Sundays are generally my planning day. I make a ‘to do’ list for the week ahead, (which regularly gets updated as the week progresses) and a worksheet for each day (again, these change regularly). Some weeks are packed, with every minute having to be accounted for and some weeks are a little more flexible, allowing time for R&D and product development in and around the standard production requirements.

On Sunday I was pleased to see we were in for a fairly relaxed week, meaning I could work on some new product ideas. However, on Monday morning, I received 2 large and urgent orders so it was action stations! I’ve been having a proper moan about the March weather over the last couple of weeks, and feeling fed up with the cold winds, but this week it worked perfectly to our advantage.

Making a tray of chocolate is generally a 2-3 day process. On day one, we coat the trays in chocolate and once the chocolate is set we add the fillings. These are then left overnight to allow the fillings to set fully before we add the final chocolate layer the following morning. The trays are then left in a cool place to completely set before we de-mould the chocolates ready to be packed and wrapped.

Getting a large order on Monday for a Thursday delivery meant we needed to work a lot faster than usual. If I was to use a courier, everything needed to be packed and wrapped by 9am on Wednesday ready for collection. If we couldn’t get things ready in time it meant losing a day’s production on Thursday in order to deliver them ourselves.

Luckily the weather was cold on Monday, so we could chill the room temperature right down to ensure everything set much quicker than we normally work towards. So by starting early on Monday and finishing late, we had the trays coated, fillings piped, and finished off by the end of the day. That meant we had all Tuesday to de-mould, wrap and pack. Phew!! It gave us such a great feeling of achievement to have everything done in time! As the second order was local and wasn’t due until Friday we had plenty of time to get that made on Wednesday and Thursday and then packed and delivered on Friday. A great week, all in all, and certainly not the one we were expecting.

Hilary Delamare

Choctails® was founded by husband and wife team Simon and Hilary Delamare. Simon's suggestion of putting cocktail flavours into chocolate took Hilary's chocolate-making hobby to new heights, until in May 2012, the decision was made to turn the hobby into a full time business. The domestic kitchen became a production factory by day, and the dining room was given up to become a place where hand-made chocolate is crafted

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