Monday, 28 May 2012

Charlie's Mom's Chocolate Factory

Once upon a time, not so long ago, Jenny Emanuel, woke up one morning realising that her family needed some more cash for Christmas.  She had an idea for a new business but was struggling for a name.  Sitting down to watch one of her favourite films with her twin children, Faith and Charlie, inspiration struck and Charlie’s Mom’s Chocolate Factory was born!   
Welovebearwood had heard great things about Jenny’s goodies and we’d seen her stall at the Crafty Muthas’ Fair too.  We’ve always been very partial to a chunk (or six!) of chocolate so we were eager to find out more and were over the moon when we contacted Jenny and received an invite to her kitchen (recently given a 5 star Food & Hygiene rating from Sandwell Council...that’s a clean as you can get!).

Jenny showed us how she makes the chocolate and even let us have a go too. Very brave of her!  She uses only the finest Belgian chocolate (it tastes just like the chocolate Hotel Chocolat use) and her kitchen’s stacked full of different types of chocolate, toppings, moulds and utensils.  When she started out she used to make all of her chocolate by hand but this was becoming a really long back-breaking job.  She longed to own a chocolate tempering machine (the bit of kit that melts the chocolate to perfection) but these don’t come cheap so last New Year’s Eve when midnight struck she made a wish on her Chinese lantern that her dream would come true.  Well, fate (and selling old gold!) definitely played a helping hand and before she knew it she had the exact machine she was after.  With this last bit of the puzzle in place Jenny was now able to make a lot more chocolate! Since she started trading her online sales have gone through the roof, even reaching as far as Scotland and if there’s a craft fair in the area you’ll probably see a crowd round her stall too.     
What we really like about Charlie’s Mom’s Chocolate Factory is that Jenny’s not afraid to try new ideas.  Her personalised chocolate pizzas (we love this – 2 of our favourite things together!) are one of her best sellers, so much so that there were 100 pizza boxes in Jenny’s hallway just waiting to be filled and delivered.
Charlie’s Mom’ Chocolate Factory doesn’t just sell chocolate though.  Oh no, there’s way much more on offer!  Jenny makes all different kinds of fudge - Baileys (we tried this one – so creamy!), vanilla, rum n’ raisin (you can really taste the rum!), chocolate orange, mint, cherry and almond, rich chocolate, white chocolate.  There’s coconut ice (Jenny’s fave) and Turkish delight too. Mouth wateringly good.   
Although Jenny lives closer to Cape Hill she’s in Bearwood practically every day.  Her children go to St Gregory’s School, her church is St Gregory’s (she got married there) and she used to live on Abbey Road.  Her parents live in Thimblemill Road in the house where Jenny grew up.  Jenny’s a big fan of Global Food and the Post Office diagonally opposite and says that they’re always so friendly and helpful in there. We think Jenny should go to the top class too as she reckons cumin makes Lightwood’s Chippy’s chips orange (clever!). 
The future looks even chocolateier for Charlie’s Mom’s Chocolate Factory.  There’s a website in the pipeline, more chocolate making workshops to be held, new flavours such as raspberry ripple and lemon meringue being developed all the time, Jenny even mentioned chilli chocolate! She’s got an exciting concept that she’s working on which just needs to be patented and financed too. We’d love to see her on Dragon’s Den, but if there are any millionaires in Bearwood who fancy investing we reckon there’d be more than a slab or two of chocolate in it for them!

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