Peebles chocolatier vies for top accolate

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A PEEBLES-BASED chocolate company is celebrating having made it through to the finals of the prestigious Baking Industry Awards 2011.

Cocoa Black, which runs a successful chocolate and pastry school, which includes workshops for children, as well as a retail shop in Peebles High Street, has been shortlisted in the Confectioner of the Year category which was last year won by London bakers Dunns.

Cocoa Black has already had a visit from the independent judging panel as part of the overall judging process, and the firm should find out in the next few weeks if it has won.

If successful, the award would be another feather in the cap for Cocoa Black, which is already riding high in awards having secured the New Business of the Year award in the Scottish Borders Business Excellence Awards.

The company was also selected as finalists in the Independent Retailer of the Year category, sponsored by the Scottish Borders Chamber of Commerce.

And having already enjoyed national television coverage, the cameras are again rolling at Cocoa Black with the firm being selected to take part in a new programme called Chocolate Unwrapped, looking at the world’s leading chocolate schools.

Managing director David Hinks said: “This is more good news and we are keeping our fingers crossed as it would be fantastic to win even more recognition of how hard Ruth has worked in setting up the business and regularly achieving a level of excellence in her products.

“As ever, we want to acknowledge all of our customers who give us such amazing support and, of course, a note of thanks to all Cocoa Black staff for their tremendous efforts in helping to grow the company, too.”

Cocoa Black was set up in 2008 and last year the Cocoa Black retail shop, a stylish French style patisserie and coffee shop, opened at Cuddy Bridge, Peebles. Already selling chocolates and cakes online, Cocoa Black recently adopted a dot.com address in response to overseas demand for its products. The company supplies chocolates UK wide by post with customers also able to buy vouchers for the Chocolate School classes online as well.

The awards ceremony will be held in London on September 7.