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What's on: Ramsbottom Chocolate Festival
CHOCOLATE lovers will be in cocoa heaven when Ramsbottom hosts its annual festival next weekend.
With white, milk, dark, extra dark or drinking all on offer, last year saw 35,000 people flock to the Chocolate Festival to taste, make and buy the delicious treat.
Now in its fourth year, organiser, the Chocolate Cafe owner and probably the man with the world’s best job as chief chocolate taster, Paul Morris, has plans to extend the empire which started as an idea while he was living on The French Riviera with wife, Emma.
“We were living and working in France and we loved what the little cafes and establishments out there had to offer, and with our love of chocolate we decided to come back to the UK and open our own cafe,” said Paul.
Now in its fifth year the festival is the original and the best one in the UK, that offers a truly unique chocolate experience for all the family.
Paul said: “We looked around and there was nothing like this in England. In France Biot is the place known for pottery and Saint Paul de Vence for art, all of the small towns are known for the events. So, it was perfect for us to choose Ramsbottom to represent chocolate.”
The Chocolate Cafe makes its own produce on site and 18-year-old Sally Goodall, the cafe’s chocolatier has produced quality chocolate with some strange flavours such as chicken tikka massala, bacon, black pudding and salt and vinegar.
“We are open to anything and we will always listen to our customers and make what they like, the salt and vinegar was an idea from one of our regulars who likes to eat crisps and chocolate at the same time,” said Paul who works alongside cafe manager Steven Goodall.
Ramsbottom Chocolate Festival aims to bring you the best of cocoa in the UK. With two day chocolate market, alfresco dining, beer tent, ‘unplugged’ acoustic music sets, children’s craft sessions, mini farm and more.
But Paul who invites his ‘chocolate rivals’ such as the famous Slattery Patissier and Chocolatier, as well as 40 other independent choclatiers to sell produce on the doorstep of defends his corner.
He said: “It’s like we are a double-edged sword really. We invited all of our main competitors to trade outside our door and some might think we are crazy. But it brings people to the town and has turned into a fabulous festival. Each year we try to give the visitor a new experience and a nice day out and it’s a perfect event just before Easter.”
Along with his wife Emma the father-of-two is busy looking for new premises to follow in the footsteps of Willy Wonka and open his own chocolate factory.
“We have got bigger plans and are currently looking for much bigger premises. We want to open a working chocolate factory that will be open for the public and to college students who want to become choclatiers. We will educate people through the process, from the cocoa farmers in Columbia to the moment it melts in your mouth.”
And according to recent studies, Paul agrees that chocolate is good for you and can help reduce the risk of stroke or heart attack by increasing flow of blood around the brain and lowering blood pressure. It also makes you feel good.
“Cocoa butter is full of natural fats and melts at body temperature. When you eat it it feels nice and it feels good because of the natural chemicals that are released. So that’s the perfect excuse to eat chocolate, feel good and be happy.”
• Chocolate Festival, Ramsbottom, March 23 and 24, visit www.ramsbottomchocolatefestival.com
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