Behind the scenes at Rye Chocolates
Paulina Filar’s journey into chocolate making started with a career inlaw.
“I moved over to England six years ago to pursue law,” she explained. “As I was continuing on my path to further my career I decided, almost overnight, to start something different...a chocolate shop.
“I always loved chocolate and travelling around the world trying different flavours and types.
"I wanted to do something creative, something different, to bring joy to people - through chocolate.
"We love to meet all the people that come through the shop, speaking to them and finding them their favourite chocolates."
Rye Chocolates was set up five years ago and she started selling chocolates as a retailer.
However Paulina’s dream wasn’t just to sell chocolate but to make it.
“My partner and I took some chocolate courses and learnt along the way,” she said. “We picked up a broken chocolate machine from friends in the Welsh valleys, repairing and learning as we went.
“Fast forward a few months and we had our own line of chocolate bars, made with single-origin chocolate and with unique flavours. We have expanded from there to a fully stocked shop in our amazing home town of Rye, a lovely online store (shipping internationally), events and supplying to amazing local retailers.”
The cocoa beans they use depends on the season, flavour and what is being produced in each country.
All the chocolate is sourced single-origin, one country per flavour.
“This gives some really complex flavours and differences you can taste between each country’s chocolate. Typically the chocolates come from countries near the equator such as Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru and Costa Rica.”
Flavours of the bars include salted caramel, mint, fig, ginger and fruit and nut.
The inspiration comes from travelling, trying different things and taking inspiration from the local area and local producers such as the honey flavour.
Paulina said: “We have a core line of flavours including peanut butter and sea salt in a milk chocolate Venezuelan base and a dark chocolate from Ecuador with pistachio for example. “Additionally, we have some beautiful flavours which rotate depending on the season. These include lemon curd in a delicious Peruvian medium dark chocolate for summer, handmade rhubarb in a dark chocolate for autumn and a huge range of Christmas flavours, such as mince pie, gingerbread, Amaretti, for winter.
“Altogether we have around 30 flavours on and off. We normally look at the local area and the seasons and think what new wacky combinations we can create.”
The wrappers for the chocolate include quirky designs from gold bees, flamingos, teapots and lobsters, each one is created by Paulina and her partner and artwork is placed with a local artist with different themes and seasons.
And all the chocolate is made by hand.
Paulina said: “It’s extremely time intensive but very satisfying to see everyone’s reactions when the chocolate is taken to the shops.”
On running a business during the Covid-19 pandemic Paulina said: "We will forever be incredibly humbled and grateful to our customers for continuing to buy from us online over the lockdown restrictions. This was (and still is) an incredibly testing time for small business. Thank you so much."