Aberdeenshire single mom launches new chocolate-free brand
After switching to a dairy-free diet and struggling to find chocolate-free ones on the market that satisfy her sugar cravings, Rachel Widger decided to take matters into her own hands.
Residing on the outskirts of St Fergus, Aberdeenshire, the single mother of a spear The Cacao Vert team, which offers hand-made truffles and dark chocolate creams, both dairy-free and vegan, in the spring of this year.
The 35-year-old, who has spent much of her working life self-employed, operates the business from a converted trailer outside of her home.
Rachel’s love for baking and creativity comes from her mother, Rosalind, whom she describes as “an amazing cook” who had her own bakery and who once sold on a market stall, which Rachel now does on a regular basis.
Benefits without dairy products
In addition to being inspired by her mother, the business owner’s interest in the bakery grew further after realizing that her health benefited greatly from a dairy-free and wheat-free diet.
This led her to be more creative with the recipes and ingredients.
“My whole family loves chocolate and has a sweet tooth,” she explained.
“Over the past few years, many of us have turned to being dairy free, so making ours without chocolate seemed like an obvious solution as we weren’t thrilled with the current range available. I never intended to sell it at that time.
Rachel was an independent retail auditor, so all of her work immediately came to a halt with the first lockdown. After realizing that her job was not going to “bounce back quickly,” she looked for new ways to generate income.
She added: “That’s when I thought” if I make dairy free treats because I can’t find the ones I like in stores then others have to look for something too. really delicious “.
“The idea of turning our homemade treats into a business was so exciting.
“Working in my own kitchen was never really an option due to its very small size, so my economical solution was to buy a caravan. My dad, Chris, converted it for me into a chocolate making kitchen.
“A year after my initial idea, the Peterhead Producers Market in June was my first event. The website went live soon after.
10 gourmet flavors
Belgian dark chocolate, which is naturally dairy and gluten free, is used to make The Green Cocoa Team’s range of gourmet treats.
This is from a UK based company specializing in sourcing quality chocolate and bakery ingredients known as Henley Bridge.
Her range includes 10 different flavors of truffle, however, Rachel is adding new flavors every month.
She said, “We add new flavors every month with chocolate covered fruits and nuts and a selection of bars. I also have a range of gifts which includes a variety of hand decorated truffles, as well as baskets.
“I’m not a bean bar chocolatier, but I do everything by hand with luxury Belgian couverture chocolate. I like to use old-fashioned recipes and play with the ingredients to turn them into treats.
“Making fresh truffles gives them a super creamy and smooth texture that you can’t get with long shelf life truffles. “
The chocolate maker sells its range at the Peterhead Farmers’ Market, which takes place on the first Saturday of each month, and at the new Bridge of Don Market, which takes place on the third Saturday of each month. She brings about 300 truffles to each market.
Rachel is also taking orders through her Facebook and Instagram pages and website.
In addition to making delicious treats, The Green Cocoa Team’s main goal is to be as environmentally friendly as possible.
Rachel has solar panels on her property that help power the kitchen with cocoa, make sure all of the brand’s packaging is 100% biodegradable, and buys ingredients from reputable and ethical suppliers.
Although still in its infancy, Rachel says she has a list of ideas to help the business grow.
“The Green Cocoa team only uses biodegradable and compostable packaging,” said Rachel. “Being as environmentally friendly as possible is really important to me.
“I love being able to be creative every day and really love working with chocolate, although it can be a bit stressful at times as it needs the right temperature and humidity range to set properly.
“My family and friends have also enjoyed being taste testers. Even though I plan and do everything, The Green Cocoa Team is truly a family business where everyone is involved.
“Although it’s only just starting out, I have so many ideas but I can’t do them fast enough! “