A gourmet chocolate shop has opened in Mountmellick just in time for Christmas

Lynda Kiernan

Reporter:

Lynda Kiernan

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lynda.kiernan@leinsterexpress.ie

A gourmet chocolate shop has opened in Mountmellick just in time for Christmas

Chocolatier and Cocoa Couture proprietor Catherine O'Callaghan

Lovers of good chocolate are in for a big treat this Christmas, with the news that a new shop dedicated to it has opened in Mountmellick.

Cocoa Couture launched quietly on November 24 on 31 Patrick Street in the town, just days after the town was recovering from its epic flooding.

A mouthwatering range of handmade chocolates and truffles are made on the premises using ethically sourced ingredients, with no artificial ingredients or preservatives.

Proprietor and chocolatier Catherine O’Callaghan plans to offer her own hot chocolate and top quality coffee, sourced in the same areas as her chocolate, to perfectly compliment her sweet treats.

Flavours include espresso rolled in roasted hazelnut and Panela caramel, honey & orange blossom in 70% dark, cappuccino in milk chocolate, vanilla in both 70% dark and milk, spiced rum and brandy.

Moulded chocolates include a salted caramel in both dark and milk, mint dark chocolate, caramel and pecan.

“I also do a chilli in 70% dark as a couveture. I also make bars in both milk and dark chocolate and hot chocolate in presentation bags along with rocky road,” she said.

It is a sweet dream come true for the mother of four, new to Mountmellick.

“The road has been a long one and at some points after an arduous day I question whether I'm doing the right thing but, the answer is always yes when I come down in the morning and see the chocolates sitting in the display case beautiful, ready for people to enjoy,” she said.

With her husband David and children aged from 20 to 4, they moved to Mountmellick in 2016, buying the former Garty’s shop and home at 31 Patrick Street.

“We were looking for a nice town with good values to raise our young family. We wanted to start a new life and found our house in Mountmellick. We've spent the last 18 months renovating the house and shop,” she explained.

Her pretty shop on the main street is filled with boxes and trays of chocolates, with a seating area for customers. On Mondays and Tuesdays the shop is closed while she makes her chocolates, using ethically sourced ingredients as much as possible.

“All the truffles are hand balled, dipped twice by hand and decorated by hand. The chocolate industry does not have a wonderful reputation for workers rights and conditions but my chocolate and the ingredients are from many parts of the world, I buy in vanilla from Madagascar, I use Jamaican rum and panela (dehydrated Sugar Cane) instead of sugar for the caramel in my salted caramel which is a product of Columbia,” she said.

A Tallaght native, Catherine worked as an SNA and a psychotherapist up to last year, always making cakes and chocolates as a sideline.

“I found that as my skills progressed in the chocolate side of things I became more and more interested in trying to make a go at it as a business idea.  In 2013 I went on maternity leave early for health reasons, and I decided to use this downtime to explore my options and train further in the art of chocolate. From there my passion has only grown and with further training I made the decision to go ahead with starting up my business,” she explained.

Cocoa Couture is open from Wednesday to Friday from 10.30am to 5.30pm, Saturday 1pm to 6pm and Sunday 11am to 4.30pm. Follow on Facebook at Cocoa Couture.

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Below: Catherine outside her premises.