Sweet taste of success for brothers after prestigious retailer places order

PUBLISHED: 07:59 23 January 2018 | UPDATED: 07:59 23 January 2018

Greg and Chris Smith of Hill St. Picture: Archant

Greg and Chris Smith of Hill St. Picture: Archant

Archant

Two brothers from Wenden who run an artisan chocolate shop in Saffron Walden have secured their first order with London department store Fortnum and Mason.

Hill St's three dimensional chocolate Valentines hearts filled with chocolates. Picture: ArchantHill St's three dimensional chocolate Valentines hearts filled with chocolates. Picture: Archant

After initially selling their products at Saffron Walden market, Greg and Chris Smith set up their chocolate shop in December 2016 in Hill Street.

Greg said: “When we launched the store, we exhibited at Olympia in London and Fortnum and Mason and Harrods both asked us to contact them. When we exhibited we were the only company making 3D models of chocolate and I think Fortnum and Mason were interested because there is exclusivity involved. It’s very apparent that this industry is very established in France, but not in the UK.”

Greg and Chris have created a range of three-dimensional chocolate Valentine’s Heart models for the London department store, which are also available at Hill St in the town. The Valentine’s chocolates launched on January 1 in Fortnum and Mason and each one is filled with a selection of chocolate products.

The chocolate shop in Hill Street was inspired by Chris’s time in Paris working as a pastry chef for seven years at Michelin star restaurants. He also spent a year in Australia learning how to make artisan cheese and chocolate.

Greg and Chris' Valentine hearts are also available to buy at their Hill St. shop. Picture: ArchantGreg and Chris' Valentine hearts are also available to buy at their Hill St. shop. Picture: Archant

His brother Greg, who previously worked as an assistant head teacher at a school in London, said: “Our chocolate is made in a classical French way but with a slightly cheeky British slant. We have British values and principles while adapting French techniques.”

All of Hill St’s products are handmade on-site in Saffron Walden using fresh ingredients, including local saffron for a chocolate named ‘Tastes Like Home’.

Greg and Chris visited more than 100 chocolate shops in Paris, analysing how other people ran businesses before opening up their shop, and decided it was important to be able to view the making facility at Hill St.

The two brothers are now looking to open a second shop in either Cambridge or London, but they have made the decision not the wholesale their products.

Hill St's three dimensional chocolate Valentines Heart models for Fortnum and Mason. Picture: ArchantHill St's three dimensional chocolate Valentines Heart models for Fortnum and Mason. Picture: Archant

Greg said: “We are interested in expanding, but with full control and no mass production.”

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