The brainchild behind this amazing chocolate brand has a story that's very close to our heart.
Pete Gardner started out working in the pub industry with his own franchise but, after 10 years, the company he worked for went out of business and he lost his job, having to declare bankruptcy at the age of just 26.
With nothing in the bank, he needed a job - which led him to Imago's door where he started as a conference porter at Burleigh Court Conference Centre and Hotel.
After just a week or two, a vacancy cropped up and he was quickly moved up to being Bar Supervisor, where he furthered his hospitality experience and dedication to great customer service. But bar tending was never going to be Pete's destiny. Spending all his spare time saving and learning business from reading books and internet research, he had the desire to turn his passion for chocolate into a business.
So, with self-taught knowledge from online videos and a little support from Imago colleagues, Pete opened up his first chocolate shop in Loughborough in 2013. Since then, he has built a strong reputation for producing some of the finest handmade chocolates in the Midlands. But he's not stopping there. Peter has plans to go global and build the business up through a franchisee scheme that extends the Cocoa Amore brand to high streets up and down the country and beyond. He already has interest from the Middle East!
Despite no formal training, Pete is inspired by his imagination and combines his desire for purism with a passion for flavour and the art of the chocolatier to create amazing taste explorations!
Using the finest ingredients from a single origin harvest, Cocoa Amore is dedicated to sharing the benefits of the cocoa bean and an innate love of chocolate. Alongside an exquisite range of handmade chocolates in the counter, they offer a range of hot chocolate flavours and other beautifully crafted pieces from Cocoa Pods to Stilettos to bars of chocolate. They also offer Chocolate workshops comprising a seminar on the history and art of chocolate making, followed by an immersive experience of making your own box of chocolates to take home!
“New flavours come from all around me. I’m always reading recipe books and watching recipe videos trying to keep up with modern trends and techniques. A lot of flavours are asked for by customers and we develop them around their requests. Some work, some don’t. Perfecting products comes from a lot of trial and error and practice.”
It fabulous to see a former employee doing so well and we love to do business with Cocoa Amore whenever possible. Whether that's providing bespoke services to us for VIP events, buying our own branded boxes of chocolates to give out as corporate gifts or arranging experience days for our clients, it great to be able to keep things local and share the story of passionate people local people like Pete - especially when he's one of our own!
For more information on Cocoa Amore's chocolate workshops and experiences, click below:Find out more
Download our Rooted In Food brochure
We love creating exciting menus that celebrate our local food heroes. That's why every proposal that we send out includes our Rooted in Food brochure to whet your appetite.
This brochure contains just a sample of the sort of menus we can produce for your event and is designed to give you a sense of our passion for great food. They are sample menus and are subject to change based on availability of produce.