Sweet taste of success for artisan chocolate maker


A family artisan chocolate business is planning further expansion after securing a grant from the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP).

The £10,000 grant from the LEP’s Business Growth Programme, which is supported by the government’s Regional Growth Fund, has been used as part of a wider investment by York-based Choc-Affair to invest in new manufacturing premises.

Choc-Affair, which designs and manufactures a range of handmade fairtrade chocolate products, was established by Linda Barrie in 2006 when she created a hot chocolate drink at home for her two daughters, both with milk intolerances. By using high quality products, the concept of making delicious yet natural hot chocolate was born.

Following this product development and investment in the business, Choc-Affair has grown to boast 16 staff but the business needed more suitable accommodation to further its product range.

Supported by the LEP grant, the company has moved to a 2,000 sq ft purpose-built headquarters at Yorvale Business Park from which Choc-Affair supplies prestigious retailers including Harrods and Fenwick as well as supermarket brands including Booths.

Roger Marsh, Chair of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership said: “York has a rich heritage in the art of chocolate making and it is fantastic to see an entrepreneur turning her vision into a healthy business.

“The LEP is pleased to have provided the company with a Business Growth Programme grant to facilitate the move into state-of-the-art new premises as well as creating two new jobs in the region.”

Cllr James Alexander, leader of City of York Council, said: “It is great to see a York family run business benefit from the Business Growth Programme, and that they have invested in new manufacturing premises so that they can expand their business right here in the city. I hope this encourages more York businesses to apply to the Programme to help them thrive and grow.”

Looking ahead, Mrs Barrie said Choc-Affair was planning to double revenues and launch more products.

Linda Barrie, founder of Choc-Affair, said: “Moving to new premises within the York area has enabled the business to have a much leaner manufacturing process, which in turn has facilitated greater efficiency, increased productivity and helped us to increase our product range.