Chocolate treats just got healthier

A county chocolatiers, whose tasty treats are enjoyed by guests at some of country’s top hotels including The Ritz, The Savoy and The Dorchester, may have just come up with the answer to all sweet-toothers’ prayers – a healthier chocolate!

Belflair Chocolates, run by husband and wife duo Stefaan and Mervi Moyeart, have found a way to reduce calories by swapping sugar coatings for real fruit powders, so not only enhancing the appearance and flavour of their delicious wares but also helping the waistline!

The switch has come about thanks to investment in a new piece of equipment which the couple have been able to buy thanks to a £2k boost from FEAST (Food Enterprise Advisory Support Team), a project part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund aimed at supporting eligible food and drink manufacturers across the SEMLEP area (covering Northamptonshire) through grants, technical support and business mentoring.

As Stefaan explained, their new panning machine is set to make a big difference to their potential output: “We used to do all of our coating by hand which was a really slow process, but this gadget means we can save time and not only make more chocolates but also extend our range into coated nuts as well.

“Indeed, the grant couldn’t have come at a more opportune moment as one of our clients, a major hotel group, has now ditched its previous supplier in favour of us, so it’s our aim that, one day, every chocolate on every hotel pillow will be one of our coated brazils or perhaps a wild strawberry truffle!” he added.

The couple, who are also taking advantage of the technical support that’s available through FEAST, are now keen to prompt others to make use of the free help on offer; “Applying for the grant was so simple and we had the news that our application had been approved within days of submitting it” revealed Mervi.

“It meant that a project that had been on hold for months could go ahead much more quickly than we ever imagined, so we’d encourage other producers to get involved and hopefully benefit from it as we have done.

“There’s really nothing to lose!” she enthused.

FEAST, which is worth £7.1 million in total, and which will receive £3.5 million funding from the European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020, was awarded to the Food and Drink Forum and is being led by The Mallows Company, while supported by Moulton College, the University of Northampton and Central Bedfordshire Council.

For more information on FEAST, including registering your business for the free project, please contact Amanda at The Mallows Company on 01933 664437 or email amanda@themallowscompany.com

Meanwhile to order Belflair’s new, healthier chocolates online, or for more details of local stockists, please visit www.belflairchocolates.co.uk

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