Meet The Business ~ Explore Chocolate

by - 09:27

Happy Father's Day! There isn't one event in the calendar year where chocolates aren't appropriate. They are great gifts, comforters and bring people together. Explore Choc creates artisan chocolates and bonbons, to help make those moments even more special. Today, I spoke to the amazing chocolatier behind the business, to get an insight into what it's like to run chocolate business!



Hi there! Could you tell me a bit about yourself, your experience & your business?


My name is Matthew Green. I set up Explore Chocolate about 3 years ago with my wife, Hayley. We both love chocolate, and I wanted to get away from the daily grind of restaurant work. I have an extensive background as a chef in fine dining, having worked in a couple of the world’s top restaurants. I thought I could bring something new to the table. We decided to go for it after attending a catering exhibition in London. There was a chocolate event going on inside with lots of different makers showing off their wares, and I thought to myself “I could probably do better than that!”.

Since then it’s been a real journey for us. It’s not so much now about doing better than someone else; a mentality which most chefs have whether they admit it or not! It’s more about the value we can bring to our customers and the people involved in our supply chain. I think for it all to be worthwhile we need to try and make the world a better place. We do this by bringing joy to someone who opens up a selection box full of unique bonbons. We show the value of fine flavoured single-origin cacao and make sure the people who work so hard to provide us with it are looked after.

What makes your chocolates and bonbons special from others out there?


One of the things that make us a bit special is that we are both a chocolatier and a chocolate maker. Most people are one or the other. A chocolatier makes confections from chocolate. A chocolate maker takes cocoa beans and turns them into chocolate. This means that we get full traceability back to the farmers who grew the cacao and we get to control every step of the process from dried cocoa beans to the finished product. We know every single ingredient that goes in because we put it there ourselves. I also try to draw on my experience as a chef to come up with interesting flavour and texture combinations, and our overriding ethos here is “Flavour, Texture, Origin”. It shapes everything we do. 

If you could pick a favourite flavour of chocolate, what one would it be?


If I had to pick one favourite flavour chocolate, it would probably be Whisky & Apple at the moment. My tastes change all the time! We use Talisker single malt whisky to make a dark chocolate ganache. We then use fresh Granny Smith apples for a dairy-free caramel and encase it in 70% Dark Chocolate. If I had to pick a favourite single-origin bar, it would have to be our new Indonesia 70% bar! This bar isn’t out yet but keep an eye out for it later in the year!

Could you tell us a bit about what courses and extras you offer?


We hold a monthly tasting session here at our workshop called Taste Tuesdays. I’m really looking forward to opening our doors again once it’s safe to do so because we have really missed interacting with our customers. Also, we hold several different courses to teach anyone from a 6-year-old up to industry professionals and everyone in between! We make bars, bonbons, cakes and snacks. Later in the year we also plan to start teaching people how to make chocolate from scratch, and will likely be selling cocoa beans on our website too!

What is your favourite part about working as a chocolatier?


My favourite part about working with chocolate has to be tabletop tempering. Tempering is an essential skill for anyone serious about working with chocolate as it gives it structure. But it’s also one of the most calming and therapeutic things you can do. I think it’s the viscosity of the chocolate and the way it feels as you move it around. It's the flowing motion which is calming. I guess you could liken it a bit to watching waves coming in from the sea.

What challenges have you faced when setting up and running your business?


The main challenges I’ve faced setting up this business haven’t been food-based. As a chef, I learned the skills I need to make chocolates. It’s the business part they don’t teach you! Getting suppliers to take us seriously was difficult to start with because we could only afford to buy small quantities. We didn’t want to be beholden to investors or a bank, so everything has grown in line with our own ability to finance it. It’s frustrating even now, but we wouldn’t have it any other way. Also, we worked out a few months ago that I personally have over 20 different job roles! At least half of which would usually be delegated to other staff if we had them!

Is there anything you’re working toward or wanting to achieve?


I’m working toward a much larger set up in terms of equipment. Every few months we double our production capacity in a certain area of the workshop, so we will get there bit by bit. We recently moved up to buying 65kg bags of cocoa beans from our suppliers, and I’m waiting on a delivery of a bigger grinder to put them in! We are also designing some new custom packaging for our selection boxes. These boxes will be completely plastic-free and tailored to the sizes of our chocolates, meaning we use less card to make them.

If you could sum Explore Chocolate in 5 words, what would they be?


Summing up Explore Chocolate in 5 words: Vibrant, conscious, flavour, texture, origin!

A box of discovery chocolate which include 9 different chocolates all inspired by different counties

There is a lot more that goes into chocolate thank I thought - I hope you too, have learnt something! I want to say a huge thank you to Matthew for answering the questions, and letting me try out some of his delicious chocolates! What did you find to be the most interesting point about chocolate? Let me know what your favourite chocolate from a chocolate box is in the comments!



If you would like to learn more about Explore Chocolate or purchase some tasty treats, you can find their social media links here!




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22 comments

  1. Those chocolates look amazing! I always have a massive respect towards anyone in the food industry, but particularly those who are dedicated enough to trace their whole process from start to finish.

    I love Cadbury's turkish delights! What about you Em?

    Claire | Short Girl Walking x

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    1. I think these chocolates look delicious! I personally love the addition of Dinky Decker's in a box of heroes! I pick them all out first ;) Thank you for reading!

      Em x

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  2. You can never go wrong with gifting a box of chocolates, can you? I have really enjoyed your meet the business posts, and this is another great one. I really liked how he talked about the difficulties of starting up a business and running it single handedley. I think you can forget how much work outside of the actual making of products goes into running a business, so this was a great insight/reminder.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Aimsy xoxo
    Aimsy’s Antics

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    1. Chocoaltes are such an easy but thoughtful gift - there are so many boxes out there that it is hard to not be personalised or unique in some way or another! This series has been great for learning about businesses, it is running up until Christmas, which mean I can talk about a lot more amazing businesses! Thank you for reading!

      Em x

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  3. These chocolates would make such a great gift! I love the designs!

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    1. They look delicious - and tasted great too! Thank you for reading!

      Em x

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  4. These look SO GOOD! I love trying different types, textures and flavours of chocolate. There are so many weird and different combinations you can get. I'd love to attend their Taste Tuesdays - I bet that's so much fun!

    Jenny
    http://www.jennyinneverland.com

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    1. I think it would be an amazing opportunity to try some delicious flavours you might not have thought about before! Thank you for reading!

      Em x

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  5. Your business sounds fabulous - love that you went after your dream!

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  6. These look delicious - my dad would definitely be a fan of the Whiskey and Apple flavour!

    Tash - www.agirlwithview.co.uk

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    1. I think it sounds like the perfect Fathers Day flavour! Thank you for reading!

      Em x

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  7. These look amazing! Thanks for posting the interview; it was so interesting to read a business owners experiences and thoughts, being a business management student myself! x

    Paige // Paige Eades

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    1. Oh yeah! That must be an exciting subject to learn about - I think business is such an interesting and diverse subject! Thank you for reading!

      Em x

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  8. Thanks for sharing :) These chocolates look really good perfect for a gift :) The interview was lovely to read to interesting insight :)

    Nic | Nic's Adventures & Bakes

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    1. They are affordable too - I'm sure most people would be grateful for a delicious box of chocoaltes! Thank you for reading!

      Em x

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  9. Great post! The chocolates look amazing and would be a perfect gift!

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  10. I have the biggest sweet tooth and would LOVE these chocolates! They look so great!

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    1. They were really tasty! Thank you for reading!

      Em x

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  11. Tempering is such a skill, I always watch those TV programmes with fascination! These chocolates look so delicious, and what a lovely story behind the brand too. Thank you for sharing, Em! Lisa x

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  12. I've never seen chocolate like this before! Would love to gift something like this to my mum or a loved one one day x

    MB | http://www.megbeth.travel.blog

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  13. Can never have enough Chocolate!! Truly loved learning about this business.

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