What started as a sideline business has become a full time job for former Gleneagles chocolatier, Chloe Oswald.
When Chloe was furloughed from her ‘dream job’ during the pandemic, she decided to make her chocolate skills work for her, and set up Chocolatia in November 2020.
That has now paid off, as two of her chocolates - a coconut and lime bonbon and a toasted coconut bonbon - have both won awards at the Academy of Chocolate Awards.
“I’m over the moon to have won these medals as it’s the first time I’ve put myself out there to be judged," she said.
"I was nervous as standards are so high and wasn’t expecting to win anything so I am really glad I did. I’m very proud to join the other talented award winners.”
The Academy of Chocolate Awards are a worldwide competition, which was launched in 2005 to identify and showcase the world’s most talented chocolate producers and their creations.
The chocolates are judged blind, and Chloe’s coconut and lime bonbon was awarded bronze, while her toasted coconut bonbon was awarded a silver medal.
The awards are judged by leading chocolatiers, producers, journalists, bloggers, food writers, and other chocolate experts from across the industry.
The medals have encouraged Chloe to enter her chocolates into the Great Taste Awards and the upcoming ScotHot awards where, she said, she’ll be further ‘judged against peers.’
“I’m trying to push myself out of my comfort zone and see what doors open,” Chloe explained.
When not winning awards, Chloe is concentrating on her seasonal collections, and with Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and Easter coming up, she’s being kept very busy, which was the goal during furlough in 2020.
Speaking to The Scotsman as part of our Scotland's Larder feature, she said of this: “It just felt like I was standing still. I really wanted to do something for myself to push myself to learn and grow. I just felt so stagnant, but obviously I knew I was lucky to have a job”.
It was after speaking to her boss at the time, Phil Skinazi, the Executive Pastry Chef at Gleneagles, that she decided to start Chocolatia, which was also born out of Chloe wanting to see what she could do, "If I'm going to make chocolates at home, I want to do it right.
"I don't want to make chocolates purely to make money, I want to make chocolates to see what I can do," she said.
Scotland’s larder, and local produce, such as elderflower, Perthshire berries and meadow sweet, can be found in Chloe’s chocolates and her quirky Halloween creations and Christmas chocolates and advent calendars have been a sell out success.
“Because it is just me doing it by myself and there is no big team, I really have the freedom to release whatever flavours I want" Cloe said.
"Everything is hand painted and decorated, it is a crazy amount of work but it is getting easier the more that I do it. I am learning what works for production and what doesn't."
To try Chloe’s award-winning chocolates, visit her website.