Choco-preneur aims to spread her Sheffield brand far and wide

During National Chocolate Week (Oct 15-22), Sheffield choco-preneur Kate Shepherd is announcing she is spreading the love…

The delectable bars hand-made at her shop Cocoa Wonderland are about to be available to chocoholics across the nation.

Kate is now the sole owner of the Ecclesall Road emporium she took over with her best friend while both were university students back in 2006.

She bought out business partner Anne Ashforth this year and is determined to make Cocoa Wonderland a hot name on every true chocolate fan’s lips.

Kate and her team of four can make up to 500 kilos of chocolate to meet demand and anticipate a big surge in orders as Christmas approaches.

“The brand is 14 years old now and began making its own chocolate in unique flavour combinations five years ago, after a month-long fact-finding mission to a Caribbean cocoa plantation in Grenada and a course with major chocolate manufacturer Callebaut in Banbury.

Said Kate, 33: “Demand is growing for artisan-produced, high-quality chocolate with a provenance and we believe our Sheffield-made bars, made from up to 70% per cent cocoa solids from ethically-produced cocoa beans grown in West Africa, are among the cream.

“Our customers come back again and again for them and we supply to delis, gift shops and cafes across the city. Now we want to give chocoholics everywhere a taste for our Rhubarb and Custard, zingy Fruit Salad and cherry-studded Black Forest blocks,” she added.

The online shop will sell chocolate bar gift sets in packaging created by Design Futures, the commercial design consultancy at Sheffield Hallam University, where Kate and Anne were students. They were 21 and in their final year when they stepped in to buy Cocoa, the confectioner’s where they worked around their studies.

Cocoa Wonderland now sources confectionery from around the world and stocks a number of South Yorkshire and Derbyshire artisan producers. There is a cafe in the back parlour, an ice cream bar selling hand-made ices. After-hours chocolate lock-ins, chocolate tasting and making sessions, monthly Coca book and knit clubs have put the shop on the map.