The Chocolate Factory

The Team

Recently featured on BBC The River, The Chocolate Factory in Peebles, near Edinburgh is home to a small, dedicated team of professional chocolatiers and pastry chefs. Each member of the team is handpicked and trained by Ruth. They all share a passion for working with chocolate.

Working at The Chocolate Factory allows the team to unleash their creative talents. There’s no such thing as a typical day. Depending on the project, the team can find themselves spraying, moulding, carving and glazing all day long.

The Origin

Did you know that chocolate flavour is determined by the cocoa plant, growing conditions and soil type? One of Ruth’s key roles at The Chocolate Factory is to identify the flavour of each chocolate and develop recipes that complement it. The more subtle chocolate flavours include: fruity, aromatic, tobacco, peppery, spicy, citrus and liquorice.

The Melt

Before it can be worked, chocolate must first be tempered. Tempering is an essential technique that gives chocolate a smooth, glossy finish and satisfying bite. The process involves manipulating chocolate through various temperature points to align its crystals.

If you’d like to learn how to temper chocolate, The Chocolate & Pastry School offers half day classes and Ruth Hinks masterclasses during which the technique is practiced.

The Project

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

In 2014, Ruth created the Chocolate Flying Scotsman, a 1:17 scale model of the Flying Scotsman train, using over 75kg of chocolate. The same year, Cocoa Black was commissioned to deliver a nationwide golden ticket campaign, celebrating the opening of the £294M Borders Railway.
More recently, Edinburgh-based brewer Innis & Gunn commissioned Ruth to create a chocolate beer barrel to celebrate the launch of their new bar. The making and unveiling of the chocolate beer barrel was filmed as part of Channel 4’s Extreme Chocolate Makers TV series.

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 at Cocoa Black.