We would like to introduce Mike Noble and Mike Stace who established Noble and Stace Chocolatiers in April 2015 in the small village of Easebourne, West Sussex, surrounded by the ancient forests of Midhurst and the great hills of the South Downs.
After running a boutique B & B on the Kent coast for a couple of years, we relocated to West Sussex and had the opportunity to take a step back and have a think about what to do next. We’d been making our own bread, pastries, cakes and conserves for guest’s breakfast and afternoon tea plus we’d try the occasional chocolate out on them too! Our interest in chocolate making grew so after some careful consideration and planning this proved to be the perfect time to start!
Having had the determination to leave the relative comfort of our jobs and decide to retrain as chocolatiers, we converted a garage into a professional development kitchen and started making small batches of handcrafted chocolates for a local farm shop.
Business has grown steadily since then as we’ve been gradually extending our product range, our retail partners and pleasingly, our customer following.
As well as our more traditional flavours like Salted Caramel, Coffee and Cocoa Nib and Orange Confit, we started investigating other local producers to collaborate with and incorporate their products into our chocolates such as the Arapaho Pale Ale from the Langham Brewery a few miles from the chocolate kitchen – it may sound a bit unusual but it makes a beautifully smooth dark truffle filling with a subtle hoppy accent.
We followed that with a dark chocolate mineral water truffle using pure mineral water from The Southdowns Water Co near Chichester which offers our customers a dairy free, gluten free, vegan chocolate that melts in the mouth like a sorbet!
Most recently we’ve been experimenting with English sparkling wines from local vineyards which makes for a very silky truffle filling with light, balanced fruitiness.
The possibilities are endless when it comes to chocolate pairings so there’s a lot more product experimentation ahead and some exciting new partnerships on the horizon too – this is what keeps life interesting!
Up until a few weeks ago the only thing I’d ever done with an Easter Egg was devour it, usually in one sitting. This year it’s different though, as we tackle our first Easter here at Noble and Stace Chocolatiers.
Our questions started straight after Christmas. What size egg? What sort of chocolate? Hollow or filled with fresh cream truffles? How many? When? And even how?! Fortunately there was time for a lot of taste tests, sample production runs, packaging development and visits to our lovely retailers to get their valuable input.
Now with the arrival of our single origin 40% milk chocolate from Ghana and our 64% smooth dark Guayaquil blend, production is in full swing. Well, when I say full swing, we actually handcraft our eggs in small batches of only 6 at a time, right here in the Chocolate Kitchen just outside Midhurst. It’s a slow but at the same time very rewarding process when each egg is carefully removed from the mould before being filled with truffles and carefully melted together.
Somehow though I’ll never be able to look at Easter Eggs in the same way, now I know just how tricky they can be to make!
Noble and Stace Easter Eggs are available at Cowdray Farm Shop Easebourne, Coco Cafe Petworth, Madeleines Deli in Petersfield, Crates Local in Horsham and at Chichester Farmers Market on the 18th March.