Based in Plantation Road near Jericho, Vivien Shelton has been making hand made chocolates since 2013. Frustrated at not being able to buy high quality chocolates in Oxford, she set about sourcing the very finest ingredients and learning how to put them together to produce bars and individual filled chocolates. She is one of the few chocolatiers in the UK using lecithin-free chocolate for virtually all her products.
Vivien sources some of the very finest award-winning chocolate in the world from 3 relatively small-scale producers in Italy, Switzerland and the UK. They all believe in ethical and sustainable trading and buy direct from the cocoa growers rather than through wholesalers. One source company, Original Beans, widely recognised as one of the world’s most ethical chocolate companies, promises to plant 20 cacao trees for every 2kg of chocolate sold, with over 1,000,000 having been planted since 2008. So every bar you buy results in another tree. Their 55% milk chocolate supports women farmers in the Virunga National Park of the eastern Congo.
The same care goes into sourcing all the other ingredients. Where possible Vivien will use local produce - all the ganache fillings use local honey instead of sugar, local fruits when in season, herbs from the garden and her own hand-picked olive oil from Italy. She fastidiously avoids preservatives, colourings and other additives, which means the filled chocolates must be enjoyed while fresh, a new concept for those used to stashing chocolates in the cupboard!