Harrogate Chocolate Factory is a new social enterprise set up by Harrogate Skills for Living Centre.
About our Social Enterprise
This year we celebrated our tenth year of Harrogate Skills for Living Centre,
and to mark the occasion we launched The Harrogate Chocolate Factory
with the help of the Forbes Foundation.
As a charity trying to help our disadvantaged beneficiaries overcome the
barriers they face to leading a normal life we realise how important it is to
have opportunities to gain vital life and work skills. In 2018 we started running
a 12 month supported employment program where students have the
chance to work for an organisation with additional classroom sessions
designed to enhance the skills needed to survive in employment.
We realised early on that many of our students are not ready for this without significant support and time invested in developing their confidence and skills. Bearing this in mind we thought about how we could provide the right kind of environment in both a safe and real way. This is when we hit on the idea of a social enterprise – one that makes chocolate. In fact, a chocolate making enterprise is perfect because the production process follows a series of routine steps that can be taught and mastered relatively easily. As an enterprise too, we cover all the elements of starting-up and running a small business. To develop a viable enterprise from start-up through production, to point of sale, is no mean feat and our students have been part of that journey.
What makes Harrogate Chocolate Factory special is that we make our dark chocolate starting from raw cacao beans; a process known as bean to bar. Firstly we sort the cocoa beans and then roast them. After the beans cool down – they are cracked and winnowed (removal of outer shell) to separate the chocolate nib. These nibs are ground to refine the rough chocolate before adding the rest of the ingredients (coconut palm sugar, cocoa butter and vanilla pod) which are then mixed further; known as the refining and conching process. Before being ready to pour into the mould the chocolate must be tempered which in simple terms gives us a finished product with a professional sheen, snap and taste. Once the chocolate has cooled in the mould it is ready for packaging and of course sampling.
The Harrogate Chocolate Factory website is: https://www.harrogatechocolatefactory.org/