Shirlee Posner introduces readers to Sweet C’s – a new Surrey start-up making Colombian single origin, handcrafted chocolates.
I love a good back story and this one starts out differently from most. Interviews often begin with a tale of years of yearning for a more creative life after a job in the city becomes too stressful. Or, perhaps, a move to the county and a search for a job that fits around starting a family. But most often years of tinkering with a notion for a business that eventually becomes a reality.
This one, however, starts with an unusual Christmas gift. When Caroline Hill of Sweet C’s opened a parcel from her husband a few years ago she wasn’t even sure what it was and remembers having to feign delight. Once it emerged it was a small commercial chocolate tempering machine, she was surprised and bemused at this unusual choice for a gift! Caroline did, however, rather like the idea of playing with chocolate, but it wasn’t something at this level she had ever done before.
A mother of six children, Caroline had left her career as a BBC production assistant on shows like Only Fools and Horses and Bread to raise her growing brood. With the youngest off to university and the others all studying or working, she had some quality time to herself. While using a tempering machine designed for an experienced chocolatier was a little out of her comfort zone, she soon got the hang of it. For a couple of years after the arrival of her machine Caroline went on courses, talked to as many chocolate makers at food shows and events as she could and gathered a wealth of information, drawing on this to start her business.