Going from strength to strength
Since its launch, Firetree has collected an impressive list of B2B customers, both in the UK and abroad, as the brand capitalises on the premiumisation trend in the chocolate market.
The company has gone from strength to strength, initially supplying their high-quality chocolate to prestigious retailers and chocolatiers such as Harrods, Paul A Young, Melt and Rococo and Artisan du Chocolat. Not ones to be complacent, they recently managed to convince Chocolatory (Nestle) Japan to buy their volcanic chocolate. Perhaps it’s because at Firetree they like to do things a little different.
Best quality cacao
“Our dedication to creating the perfect taste is a lengthy process”, Martyn told me. And indeed it is. The remote islands of the southern Pacific and Oceania are part of what is known as “the ring of fire” – a circle of 452 volcanoes surrounding that ocean. This is where you will discover the firetree, or cocoa tree, with its flame-hued pods. The firetree thrives on the rich, porous volcanic soil that is found on these islands. It’s here and a few other places in the world like the volcanic island of Madagascar, where the manufacturer sources the cocoa from.
Cocoa pods need to ripen to perfection and require the experience and expertise of local farmers to pass through several times during the harvest to check on them. Only perfectly ripened pods are picked before fermentation of the cocoa beans can begin. This is more of an art than a science, and the best farmers can tell if they have fermented for long enough just using their sense of touch.
The beans are then sun-dried before being sent to the chocolate factory where the skilled craftsmen roast, grind and conche the mixture. This brings out the cocoa’s sumptuous flavours and helps create rich volcanic chocolate. Martyn tells me they only deal with farmers directly. “There are a few reasons we like to pay a premium. Firstly, because we believe that if you want a great tasting chocolate you have to be prepared to pay extra for the ingredients. Secondly, it means that the farmers can afford to maintain high ethical and sustainable standards, and still provide for their families.”
Firetree aims to have a presence in every key market that appreciates indulgent products, and they have started to build the export business, initially focusing on the US, Canada, Middle East and Asia, with other markets to follow. There’s certainly demand out there for high-quality chocolate, and Firetree certainly knows how to tap into it.
Firetree – Where and How?
All seven Firetree single-estate varieties, which range from 69% to 100% cocoa, are available to buy in a box set at £45. For more information on Firetree, visit www.firetreechocolate.com.
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