A weekly spotlight on the fabulous Nottingham Independents, who make our city unique.
Introducing Luisa’s Vegan Chocolates
Sneinton Market houses a great variety of creative independent businesses’, complimenting the Independent scene here in Nottingham wonderfully. One of those businesses is Luisa’s Vegan Chocolates, found on Avenue A, where the public can see the bean to bar process right there in the Makery. There is a sweet little shop attached to the Makery, where you can sample and purchase this gorgeous chocolate. Small but highly renowned worldwide, Luisa’s Vegan Chocolates have picked up a bountiful collection of awards, including 2020 International Gold, Academy of Chocolate Gold & double Great Taste.
Luisa & daughter Isabella handcraft multi award-winning bean-to-bar chocolate from their small-scale, ethical chocolate Makery in Nottingham, which reaches a global audience. Not only are they passionate about fine quality craft chocolate, but they also pay farmers a better-than-fair price for their great beans. Whilst you can view the chocolate making, we should mention that the part you do not get to witness first- hand (unfortunately!) is the direct sourcing from volcanic islands, where only the finest quality cacao is sourced. The team go out to meet the farmers to ensure ethical working conditions are in place, teach them how to cultivate, and build strong and powerful relationships, making a significant difference to communities across the globe. This small Nottingham business is helping female farmers in Colombia to take ownership of their land and cultivate cacao instead of coca (cocaine), as part of an Innovate UK Project alongside the University of Nottingham - read more here
Luisa recalls visiting farmers in Colombia as, “an amazing experience”, enabling her to see exactly how the product starts and the journey it goes through before reaching the chocolate shop in Sneinton. A fond memory includes being taken by motorbike to Martha's farm and being blown away by the vast array of different landscapes, terrains, colours, smells, and changes in temperature along the way. The convoy even passed through rivers to get there. Since the farmers do not multi-crop, there were colourful bananas and unfamiliar strange prickly fruits, which Luisa recalls, all tasted wonderful. When the business won awards for the chocolate crafted using their beans, they were so proud and grateful. One of the women the chocolatiers works with, Carmen, has been able to send her son to college because of the partnership. Luisa found the Colombian community to be of the kindest, friendliest people she has ever met and highly recommends visiting (when Government permits it is safe to do so post Covid- 19).
We asked Luisa to recommend a chocolate from her collection, “My personal favourite is my 92% Philippines, our Gold Award-Winner, and I have to actively stop myself from eating all the stock! For people who like milk chocolate, I would highly recommend our better-than-m*lk bundle, it will not disappoint. With that being said, we love converting people to the dark side as our dark chocolate does not have that flat, bitter taste of mass market dark chocolate. People are very surprised when they try our single origin bars, which have different taste notes from citrus to caramel, like a fine wine, with no added flavour. All our dark chocolate bars are award-winning, I would start off with our 72% bundle.”
We will certainly be popping down to Sneinton Market to try it out soon and hope you will give it a go too. Whilst you are there, grab a Stewarts Coffee from Blend and marvel at the talented designer/ makers as they craft beautiful items from within their studios.
Did you know?
Luisa took a leap of faith and followed her passion for chocolate, never expecting to end up as a multi award-winning chocolate maker! As a passionate textiles teacher, who would always have a bar of chocolate in her bag, Luisa had always enjoyed following a process from start to end, following the journey from threads to finished item. In the same way, she absolutely loves transforming cacao from the beans all the way to the bar. “So, strangely enough the two share similarities in some ways. It is made with love, soul and passion from start to finish, and I really think you can taste that.”
Nottingham's independent businesses have teamed up with us and The Great British Exchange to set up shop in John Lewis & Partners this summer.