A Life in Chocolate

Ruth’s journey to the very top of the chocolate world has been driven by a life-long passion which began in South Africa 35 years ago. It’s a journey which has allowed her to travel the world, learn from the very best chefs, work in leading hotels and compete successfully at the highest level of international culinary competition.

Chocolate Apprentice to Head Pastry Chef

After emigrating from South Africa at 21, Ruth took her first steps as a professional chef, diving headlong into the exciting international world of chocolate and patisserie. From day one, she aimed for the stars, training with Cacao Barry in Paris, and achieving Australian Pastry Chef of the Year in 2002. Along the way, she sought to learn from and be mentored by the very best chefs and chocolatiers, including Albert Roux. She rose to become Head Pastry Chef at the 5-star Sheraton Hotel in Edinburgh.

Cocoa Black to World Chocolate Masters

In 2008, Ruth founded Cocoa Black in Peebles, Scotland, which would become a world-renowned chocolate shop and pastry school. After winning UK Confectioner of the Year in 2011, she set her sights on the ultimate goal: the World Chocolate Masters. In 2013, representing the UK, she seized the highest international prize ever won by a UK chocolatier, even beating intense competition from the traditional chocolate nations of France and Belgium. UK chocolate excellence was now at a whole new level.

A Royal Opening and The Hairy Bikers

With success on the world culinary stage came TV and media attention. First up was the BBC series, The River, which charted the workings of Cocoa Black over six months, including the Royal Opening of the Chocolate School by HRH Prince Edward. In filming for Netflix’s Extreme Chocolate Makers, Ruth was commissioned to produce a chocolate showpiece for Chatsworth House. In 2020, she was selected as the expert judge on The Hairy Bikers’ Chocolate Challenge, reaching a global TV audience with her expertise and passion.

Cocoa Black

The Quest to Create the Ultimate Box of Chocolates

Now at the pinnacle of her career, Ruth embarked upon a quest to bring everything together. All her years of artistry, creativity and knowledge have been brought together with the finest ingredients, flavours and inspirations to create the ultimate box of chocolates – a magical, inspiring gift that will fill everyone who receives it with joy.