The Chocolate Factory

We live chocolate

A Royal visit, a BBC TV series, the Chocolate Flying Scotsman. Welcome to The Chocolate Factory – the engine room of Cocoa Black.

The Team

We employ a small, dedicated team of professional chocolatiers and pastry chefs who are handpicked and trained by Ruth, and who all share a passion for working with chocolate.

Working at The Chocolate Factory affords the team many opportunities to unleash their creative talents.  With no such thing as a typical day, they can find themselves spraying, moulding, carving, glazing and dipping their way through a variety of tasty chocolate-themed projects.

The Origin

Did you know that each origin chocolate has a unique flavour profile imparted by the cocoa plant, growing conditions and soil type? Just like other crops such as wine and coffee, chocolate varies considerable from country to country, and flavours vary year to year, even between cocoa crops harvested from the same plantation. 

One of the Ruth’s key roles as a master chocolatier is to identify the underlying flavour of each chocolate (fruity, aromatic, tobacco, peppery, spicy, citrus, liquorice), and understand how each can be complemented with other ingredients when creating Cocoa Black recipes.

The Melt

Before it can be worked, chocolate must first be tempered.  Tempering is an essential technique deployed by chocolatiers to give chocolate a smooth, glossy finish and satisfying bite. The process of tempering involves manipulating chocolate through various temperature points in order to align its crystals.

If you’d like to learn more about how to temper chocolate, The Chocolate & Pastry School in Peebles offers a number of short classes, during which the technique is demonstrated and put into practice.

The project

When chocolate arrives at The Chocolate Factory, almost anything can happen to it. As well as the key ingredient in Cocoa Black chocolates, cakes and patisserie, it’s often used for more bespoke projects.

In 2014, Ruth and the team created a 1:17 scale model of the Flying Scotsman train, using over 75kg of chocolate. The same year, Cocoa Black was commissioned to manufacture 25,000 chocolate bars for a golden ticket campaign, celebrating the opening of the Borders Railway by her Majesty the Queen.
More recently, Standard Life Investment bank awarded Cocoa Black a contract to manufacture 1,000 bespoke branded boxes of chocolates for its international Christmas gift campaign.

The Kenny

Kenny is kitchen assistant at Cocoa Black. He’s a firm favourite of staff and customers and loves to sing and tell stories of past glories.

He enjoys a rum and has no respect for protocol or position often referring to Ruth as ‘hen’. If Kenny feels he’s something important to say, he’ll stand on an upturned bread crate to emphasis his point.

Kenny is Ruth’s secret source of information for everything that’s happening in the business.