A FORMER teacher is ready to treat customers at a brand new artisan chocolate shop.

The Cocoa Boutique, which opened on Thursday on Broadway, Haslingden, is the first of its kind in the town and will be offering a range of hand crafted chocolates and locally produced coffee.

For owner and founder Lynne Berbatiotis, the new shop is the culmination of a lifetime's passion.

She said: "I have worked with and loved food since forever and knew at school I was going to do something creative with it.

"I have always loved making sweets and desserts and now the next chapter for my business having attended lots of lovely food markets and festivals is to open my very own boutique shop.

Ms Berbatiotis learned her craft by baking with her late mother as a child.

After school and university, she then went on to work at Asda's headquarters in Leeds before teaching food technology in schools around Greater Manchester after the birth of her son.

During her time at Asda, Ms Berbatiotis worked as product manager where she was responsible for Christmas produce and also featured on The One Show as the woman who has tasted over 2,000 mince pies a year.

Continuing to hone her skills as a teacher at Bromley Cross's Turton High School, Ms Berbatiotis then went back into food development until last March, when she decided the time was right to set up her own business.

Lancashire Telegraph:

Lynne Berbiotis, outside the Cocoa Boutique

The newly opened Cocoa Boutique now offers a selection of hand-made bon bons, truffles, ganache squares and chocolate coated treats and lollies.

Ms Berbatiotis is now getting the shop ready for the festive period and hopes to prove a popular destination for East Lancashire shoppers looking for Christmas treats.

She said: "I am so excited to show people around and can’t wait to meet current and new customers!"