We start with raw and natural ingredients, no essences or concentrates and no artificial anything. Flavours are enhanced through gentle toasting, simmering or roasting or just left to their own devices.
We infuse the ingredients in syrups and fresh cream to create and blend our flavours. It takes time to do it this way but we think that the smooth and vibrant result makes it worth the effort.
We use fresh cream ganache, caramel or light sugar fondant fillings to complement our flavours and cover them with our signature 72% dark chocolate. The decorations are made using cocoa butter patterns pressed onto the chocolate whilst it’s still warm.
Troffle was started at Brockley Market in South East London. It was invariably either too hot or too wet. If you were there at the time you may have noticed a nervous looking man (that’s Chris) standing behind a table of what he generously described as chocolates. Starting the business wasn’t very well thought through.
It all began with a sprig of mint. Chris had taught himself to make smooth chocolate ganache and he wanted to experiment with incorporating fresh ingredients into the fillings of his chocolates to create new flavours. He used what he had to hand, which in this case was a little pot of fresh mint on the windowsill.
As the months went on, Chris discovered more techniques for creating fillings and soon added fondants, caramels and honeycomb to the range. He continued to flavour them with fresh and carefully sought-out ingredients and for the fondants, he learnt to infuse fresh herbs and flowers into syrups to preserve the most authentic flavour possible.
He also tried out the oils and essences that other chocolatiers use but one thing remained true: nothing compared to the fresh ingredients. No mint oil tastes as authentic as real mint leaves, and no orange essence can match the zing of freshly grated zest. So he scrapped the shortcuts and carried on doing it the hard way – grinding, chopping and infusing.
The orders started to trickle in on our newly-built website and it became clear that Chris’s self-taught, handmade creations were were destined for greater things. His sister-in-law Verity took over the market stalls so Chris could spend more time in the kitchen and Team Troffle was formed.
Together we geared up for a proper launch before Christmas with our first big road show at the Design Centre in Islington. It was chaos. The packaging arrived in just the nick of time and we could hardly keep up with demand. We had to restock, twice, by couriering in crates of freshly made chocolates!
We just about survived Christmas and decided that Troffle had real potential. We quit our jobs, built a new professional kitchen in Wiltshire and committed ourselves to a life of chocolate. To bring some good sense to the operation, Chris’s friend Jonny joined the team.
We bought the most expensive bit of kit any of us had ever seen to temper the chocolate and it arrived looking like a sarcophagus delivered to the National History Museum and weighing 282kg. We also kitted out the kitchen with some powerful speakers, turns out Kraftwerk is great background music for chocolate making.
We had some properly bad ‘never-again’ moments over the summer as we tried to sell chocolates in 30 degree heats and desperately learning how to work the damn chocolate machine in time for Christmas. But there were small triumphant moments that kept us going, like winning two awards from the Academy of Chocolate, yay!
We had another mental Christmas period with our Corporate business really kicking off, plus some high profile luxury fairs like Spirit of Christmas at Olympia. We created branded chocolates and gift boxes for high-flying businesses all over the country and Troffle boxes were winging their way through lucky people’s letterboxes.
Troffle grew fast last year and we knew we wanted to achieve even more this year but we needed some help. In April we launched a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter to help fund our experiments with flavour and 477 of our lovely friends helped us raise £25,345! We made some pretty awesome merchandise too.
In July we won Great Taste Awards for our Bay Leaf & Vanilla Caramel, Madagascan Single Origin Ganache and Cardamom & Coriander Seed Ganache, up there with the most respected chocolatiers in the industry. Not bad for a self-taught chef working from a converted yoga studio!
We have some big plans for the future of Troffle. In the short term we have a tonne of new flavours and fun products in the pipeline and in the long term well, keep in touch and you’ll see!