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Meet Local Maker Marshall&Co
Marshall&Co chocolate is made in a small factory in South Birmingham - from bean to bar. Handcrafting the chocolate from raw cacao bean through to a finished bar, Marshall&Co are proud to be one of the few UK producers who craft chocolate from bean to bar
What first fuelled your passion to make/ create your designs/ products?
We want to make a vegan chocolate that had high amount of cocoa and that also tastes amazing
Tell us about the origins of your business.
As lockdown boredom set in, we dreamed of creating our own vegan chocolate and searching online for all the kit and ingredients, to keep us entertained and our sweet tooth satisfied
What’s your motto?
‘From little acorns mighty oaks grow’ is a positive phrase I often think of.
How would you describe your designs / products?
Chocolate can be amazing regardless of it being vegan
What was the first success / landmark moment for your designs / product range?
Our main landmark so far was getting some of products into the Thinktank shop
Tell us about your materials - where do you source your materials from?
Our cocoa beans come from all over the world. We use different companies to source the right beans. We will get samples of beans to try out and find which ones will want to use.
Tell us about your making process?
Once the sacks arrive at our workshop, our process involves taking special care at every stage: We hand sort, assessing each bean individually for defects – beans that have defects or are badly fermented don’t taste as good. Sorting the good from the bad ensures that only the best beans are used. Various chemical reactions occur within the cacao bean when it is roasted. We roast our beans in an oven at a temperature of 160c on trays of 1kg. We like to roast light – to allow the sugars to caramelise in the bean and the natural flavours to develop. We then allow the beans to rest for 1hr to cool down before cracking. We crack the roasted beans to separate the outer husk from the nibs. The nibs and husks are then completely separated by a process called winnowing.We add nibs and a small percentage of cocoa butter to a heavy stone grinder called a melanger. We then add sugar and grind for up to 48 hours reducing the particle size of the ingredients.Once done, we temper the chocolate, aligning its crystal structure to stabilise the chocolate and give it a crisp snap. We temper in small batches and hand-pour the chocolate into bar-shaped moulds. We package our products by hand using fully recyclable or biodegradable materials.
Have you ever had any interesting commissions?
Do you have a favourite of the Birmingham museums? If so, why?
All of the museums are great to visit and it is too hard to pick just one.
And finally, a tourist arrives in Birmingham for the first time ever, where do you take them?
Well our go to place would be Cannon Hill Park. It the best park in Birmingham and on a lovely summer's day, you can take your time to walk around and see all of the lovely views that the park has to offer