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

Everything’s Melting!

The weather continues to get hotter, making working with chocolate more and more difficult. I’ve had a couple of disasters this week, but only minor setbacks in the greater scheme of things. We’re halfway through the production volumes, so we are on track. I’d love to enjoy this fabulous summer we’ve been sent …..

I’m Melting!

The weather continues to get hotter and it’s not helping production!! Our small aircon unit is just about keeping things manageable. I’ve said before I hate to bemoan the warm weather, but ….. We had a walk in inspection from Environmental Health this week. Technically they have to make an appointment with a home-based business, but my only gripe with that was having to stop production for 10 minutes!! This weekend was the Essex Food and Drink Festival at Cressing Temple, which wasn’t the best weekend we’ve had there, to say the least. The combination of fabulous weather and some sort of football thing happening meant that the crowds didn’t turn up in as much force as usual. It was nice to have a couple of days out, though.

How Much Chocolate?

And so it began … Our first week of production has been relatively smooth and I’m getting the hang of the rapid turnaround from capping off a tray of chocolates to demoulding the chocolates and then re-coating the tray in order to produce the required weekly volume. We had a minor hitch that our chocolate suppliers needed my go-ahead to ship the chocolate in the warmer temperatures and didn’t get my first chocolate delivery to me until early Wednesday morning. Luckily I had enough stocks to get me started, but I have to admit I was extremely panicked for a while.

Holiday Week 3

And so our holiday rolled to a close as we travelled north and back to England. We had a fabulous day on Monday stretched out on sun loungers in Agay with a lazy wine-filled lunch and a dip in the Med. Our trusty motorhome has got us around some crazy windy roads and through some very narrow and bumpy D-roads. But before we dust ourselves off completely we’ve made a mad dash to Mallorca for another 50th birthday celebration and catching up with some fabulous friends who live on the other side of the globe.

Holiday Week 2

After leaving Le Mans we headed south through France, eventually making it to Paul Ricard by Thursday, via sights such as Rocamadour and the Pont du Gard. The Paul Ricard circuit is a great facility, but not fully ready for the volume of spectators yet. Access to the circuit isn’t easy on foot, either on the side of a main road or through some very rough terrain which was luckily dry but would have been horrendous if it had been muddy. There are some good general admission spots, but some areas where it’s impossible to get to see the circuit. The facilities are reasonable, but there are nowhere near enough beer sellers to cope with demand – be prepared to queue for a good 20 minutes if you need a beer! The weather’s been great, which is good for spectating, but we couldn’t help thinking the racing would have been more exciting with some rain – which arrived about an hour after the end of the race, and was torrential. Tomorrow is a beach day.

Holiday Week 1

Yes, I banished all thoughts of not having time to take holiday, and I’m trying not to stress over what awaits on our return. This week we’ve visited Bayeux and the tapestry, Omaha Beach, and spent 5 days at Le Mans. We’re camping at Arnage this year, which is much nicer than Beausejour, albeit a little out of the way. On Friday the circuit gates were opened, so we took a bike ride up to Tetre Rouge and back round to the Porsche Curves. The satellite trace looks great if you know what you’re looking at! The weather has been getting gradually warmer and the 24 hour race has been blessed with dry conditions throughout.

Spinning Plates

I always say that if I had a role in the circus it would be the plate spinner ….. I’m currently trying to keep all the plates going but a few are teetering rather precariously, as I try to keep production levels going as well as prepare for our 3 week bus journey to France (do I really have time to go on holiday??). I think I might freak out in a corner somewhere for about 60 seconds when no one’s around to see 😉

A Man Walks In To A Bar

I’ve got chocolate bars coming out of my ears this week! Monday was our last half day in Monaco before flying home, so since Tuesday I’ve been producing as many chocolate bars as I physically can. We’ve had a couple of disastrous batches where I didn’t let the chocolate cool down quickly enough, but we’re getting there, I think. I’ve at least made a small dent in the forecast volume. I did at least get to run the F1 circuit on Monday morning before we left. I’ve been wanting to do that since I started running 🙂