|Chantal Coady Celebrating 30 Years of Rococo Chocolates|
Any minute now the children are going to come charging through the door starving hungry and demanding supper. I've only a few minutes to post today as life's really hectic, and I am prepping for an Eat Well for Less class tomorrow.
It seems that I am trying to fit two pints into a pint jar. The problem is that I am succeeding, and so truthfully I have even been too busy to catch up with my friends or even to phone some of them back. So I was really disappointed when an invitation came from Chantal Coady to a pop up shop celebrating 30 years of Rococo Chocolates last week and I was too busy running classes here to be able to go.
Luckily Chantal mentioned that I could catch up with her yesterday on the last day before her pop up is dismantled, and the Marylebone High Street shop moves to opposite La Fromagerie and the Ginger Pig on Moxon Street. I took off from Northampton train station in the snow to London with my daughter Isobel, for a really indulgent foodie day out.
I really shouldn't wear my Uggs when it is wet outside, because I arrived with wet toes at the shop just before midday, but I soon forgot about my cold feet as the exhibition was full of humour and art and I was given a glass of Champagne. I met Chantal's family, and her beautiful mother Sybil who had taken many of the photos. It was easy to see where Chantal gets her warmth and artistic flair from.
I loved reading all the bits giving glimpses into the past. My favourite thing was Chantal's exercise book with a chocolate egg drawn on it. It seems she set out as a determined young woman who has gone on to change the world of chocolate forever pretty early on in life. The thing that I love most about Chantal is her core belief in fairness. Rococo has a joint venture with the Grenada Chocolate Company, a small, solar-powered tree-to-bar maker and I met the farmers on the Grococo plantation last month. Seeing how this belief actually translates into the lives of real people I have to say that the word amazing doesn't even begin to cover it .. but that is another blog post ...
I was looking around the exhibition both smiling and marvelling as Isobel was chattering away to anyone who would listen to her. I really felt that a pop up exibition caught some of the past three decades. It was art and personal snippets mixed in with memories from the business celebrating achievement.
From what I can see Chantal's vision has not only been realised, but it is now being mimicked all over the chocolate industry but when I mention the explosion in ethical chocolate far from being threatened by copycats there is a pride in Chantal's eyes. She talks about the amazing chocolate revolution going on and how people have realised the power of social change through food. Just this afternoon I heard that the latest creation, a passion fruit dark chocolate pod with a whisper of rosemary has won gold in the chocolate academy awards. Trust me it was exquisite. ( You can listen below to my reaction when I ate one!)
I spent the rest of the afternoon with my youngest daughter talking about food, people and life. We bought some sausages from The Ginger Pig opposite, and had a really fabulous lunch at La Fromagerie.
As the young waitress bought over our food I spotted a really beautiful tattoo on her arm, she told me that it is the chinese symbol for impermanence. It seemed so appropriate. There is such celebration to be had from impermanence. Nothing ever staying the same. On the one hand impremanence grabs my throat and i have to swallow emotions knowing my children are growing up, and I am growing older. On the other hand it is a sign of great power and joy in the world. If nothing ever stays the same then things can be improved and made fairer in the world. It is this impermanence that has given Chantal, her family and the whole Rococo team the belief that things can improve not just for themselves, but for the farmers who grow the beans, year on year .. changing the world one delicious bite at a time.
Oh .. I can hear the children, they are home ... time to cook those Ginger Pig sausages.