Normally York Cocoa Works would be packed with people buying Valentine’s Day gifts.
But what about this year? We spoke to Sophie Jewett, who runs the independent chocolate producer on Castlegate, about a very different Valentine’s – and a strange 12 months.
How has the lockdown affected your business in the run-up to Valentine’s Day?
The first lockdown hit us just before Easter. It was an uncertain time for us to figure out how to react to things, and we just completely locked down like everyone else and left the website ticking over to use up any of the stock.
Then everything went entirely crazy, and we were run off our feet for nearly 20 hour days for two weeks before Easter.
That for us at least gave us a glimpse that the British public was looking for treats that they could enjoy. And more importantly they were looking to reach out to people who they couldn’t connect with physically.
We have taken that on board, and we have worked up till Christmas to make sure we could continue to deliver our online business.
We have used this lockdown to make sure we can keep supporting those customers that came to use at Christmas and Easter last year.
We know there has been a real surge in people wanting to buy British, wanting to buy local, and caring about where their products came from. That is really what we are focusing on right now.
Has your Valentine’s Day chocolate collection been popular this year?
It’s been more popular than in previous years – and now we have a much more significant online presence to share with chocolate lovers and our customers.
Historically we have relied on people coming and visiting the city. We would often see a big influx of visitors around the February half term and events like the Viking festival.
This year, offering our products much more widely has enabled us to grow. It doesn’t compare to Easter and Christmas, which are just enormous seasons for us. But we are probably expecting a bigger experience at Mother’s Day because everybody has a mother to give a gift to.
When is the last day people can buy online to arrive in time for Valentine’s Day?
We are pleased to provide a local cycling delivery service across the York area, just up to the ring road. We are doing these deliveries until Saturday, so people have gotten until Friday to make an order for that.
We are continuing to be open on Castlegate, click and collect is still available and takeaways for those people who are going on their daily exercise.
Perfect choccie gift
This is one of the Cocoa Works’ Valentine’s Day specials – chocolate fondue for two
The set comes with a pot of chocolate shards accompanied by heart-shaped chocolate and vanilla mallows brownies and cookies that are ideal for dipping.
All you will need to do is stir in your own choice of heated cream or dairy alternative to the chocolate shards until it turns into a smooth consistency.
To make it even tastier, why not add your selection of fresh fruit into the mix for that refreshing fruity tasted covered in luxury chocolate.
This Chocolate fondue set is perfect for sharing with a loved one this Valentine’s day.
It also comes with two portions of hot chocolate and 2 handmade seasonal truffles. Available to order online they are priced at £24.50.