Chocolate Heaven

What do Hitchcock’s, The Birds, bankruptcy, almost no qualifications, Swiss watches and 10 Downing Street have in common ?

Answers on a postcard please . . .

Actually I’ve no idea, but I do know that they are all part of the recipe that has made the indulgent chocolatiers, Cocoa-Amore of Silver Street in the heart of Leicester.

Cocoa-Amore is a treasure trove of chocolate delights where truffles and chocolate creations are made in what was a Victorian shoe makers. We don’t mean they are just finished or parcelled up, no. Nearly everything is made from scratch down to each truffle, you can even see in store one of the chocolate wheels tempering fine Columbian chocolate, which conjures up thoughts of scenes from Dhal’s Willy Wonker and the Chocolate Factory. In fact you can buy your very own golden ticket, workshops or monthly supplies of scrumptious chocolates, a rather good Christmas present, we think, hint, hint.

Christmas is a natural time for indulgence, so of course chocolate is up there amongst those tempting treats, so much so that over 40% of the shop’s trade takes place in the lead up to Christmas, for what is one of the only high street chocolate makers in the UK outside of London, so in Leicester we are rather lucky to have such a great business, but don’t, worry Cocoa-Amore also do on-line shopping too. Its not just Leicestershire who rave about these chocolate wonders, like the house truffle, or white champagne, marmite, or one of our favourites, apple strudel truffles. The likes of Sainsburys who sent 1500 individually wrapped chocolates around the world to their TU factory workers as a thank you. Goldsmiths wanted 2000 hot chocolates and 2000 chocolates for Christmas this year. Watches of Switzerland commissioned over 3000 chocolates for the launch of their London, Regent Street store with then a further 400 boxes of chocolates eggs for a Christmas party which they themed around Hitchcock’s The Birds.

The modest team headed up by founder and MD Peter Gardner have a national reputation, having won awards for small business and enterprise even being invited to 10 Downing Street and featured in a special Christmas Market with the Chancellor of the Exchequer, which was recognising the top 100 Small Businesses.

Peter is the passion and the drive behind the business which started off from very humble beginnings. Peter is very open about his path into business. His only real qualification is an NVQ in Bar Tending and after setting up as a franchisee of a pub, he was unfairly forced to declare bankruptcy by the age of just 26, from then he worked as a porter, spending all his spare time saving and learning business from reading books and internet research. With just £6000 in savings Peter launched into chocolate making setting up his first shop. You might think Peter must have gone off to a specialist school or artisan college to learn his trade and skill, but no, he learnt about chocolate from reading, the internet and lots of practice. So you might say he is experimenting and concocting unique creations, not following a mere recipe book. Peter even says he might be seen as a bit of a chocolate maverick, having no formal training, but at the end of the day what counts is the taste. New flavours come from all around me, “Im always reading recipe books and watching recipe videos trying to keep up with modern trends and techniques. A lot of flavours are asked for by customers and we develop them around their requests, some work some don’t. Perfecting products comes from a lot of trial and error and practise.” says Peter

After setting up in Loughborough, then moving to the Silver Arcade, having been in Silver Street since 2013, Peter has plans to go global and hopes to build the business up through a franchisee scheme where Cocoa-Amore the brand can develop its creative and indulgent offerings to high streets up and down the country, with interest from the Middle East already. Peter says “I want to provide a chocolate experience”. With handmade offerings in the shop customers can also try some chocolate from other origins and other brands such as Rococo and Zotter’s India Masala hot chocolate. “I want to focus on chocolate and want to do one thing and do it well”, Peter says, and having tasted a number of his creations we have to say he does it exceptionally well and its not just us. “If the reaction to our chocolate is anything to go by, I am sure you will be very successful” a snippet from a letter from the Rt Hon. George Osborne who wrote to Peter after the Downing Street Christmas Market. Closer to home on local turf, “”Pete and his team at Cocoa Amore demonstrated they have a profound understanding of the art of making high-quality distinctive chocolate products by hand and with love.” Sarah Harrison, City Centre Director, Leicester City Council

So get yourself to Cocoa-Amore, have a gingerbread hot chocolate, be adventurous and try something different, go on a truffle making workshop, or try a tasting evening, there is so much choice. As I’m nosing around the fayre of chocolate my ears prick up when a lady pops in for her regular stash, she comments on a wedding Cocoa-Amore supplied to “I’ve never seen chocolates go so quickly”, so we’d say that’s a pretty good testimonial.

We take our hats off to Peter both as a chocolate creative and as a business owner who turned his challenging fortunes around to bring us Cocoa-Amore. Whilst leading the expansion plans and the team Peter even finds time to develop new creations and lectures to young people on his experiences in business and how to start a business on a budget. We we are certain there is much more to come from Peter and Cocoa-Amore, so watch this space, but for now we are going melt our white hot chocolate cube, oi! Hands off, get your own!

KuKu Connect Members receive 20% off in store and 20% off Truffle and Chocolate Making workshops with your Privilege Card. Members can also book private workshops min 8 people per booking.


34, Silver Street, Leicester, LE1 5ET

0116 262 3278

[email protected]