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Chocolate fans in for a treat as new store Cocoba comes to Bluewater
IT ALL adds up to a sweet deal for a former accountant who is bringing his luxury chocolate brand to Bluewater.
Darren Litton, 35, first developed a taste for the stuff as a tot in Australia and around a year ago he discarded his corporate life for a delicious dream of a job in company Cocoba.
The cafe is set to tantalise shoppers’ taste buds when it opens this autumn through luxury hot and iced chocolate drinks, hand-roasted artisan coffee, as well as a choice of cakes, pastries, chocolates and savoury snacks.
Mr Litton, who now lives in West Hampstead, said: “My granddad used to make me hot chocolate with real chocolate pieces and my dad owned a cake shop where I could choose a different one each week.
“Sydney also has a massive coffee culture which was a big influence on Cocoba.
“I have been here almost six year and I used to work as a chartered accountant for companies like Pricewaterhouse Coopers.
“When I realised I wanted to open a chocolate shop I visited Europe at the weekend – France and Belgium, where the streets are lined with chocolate shops – and spoke to chocolatiers and producers.
“My first shop, in Brent Cross, has been open for around nine months and I’m excited about the second one opening in Bluewater.
“I really like the layout, I find it very accessible. There’s a great demographic of customers as well.”
Mr Litton is also keen to make the most of nearby food suppliers.
He said: “I’ve found some producers in Kent who are helping provide apple juice and ingredients for chocolate– I try to use local people where possible.
“My favourite type has always been milk chocolate but since opening the store I’ve become more keen on dark chocolate as well - it’s a tough call.
“Customers generally go for the signature hot chocolate made with real Belgian chocolate pieces but the raspberry hot chocolate also does very well and people love the salted toffee truffles.
“We’re very open to feedback so we’ve got items on the menu suggested by customers.”
The expat is pleased he took the plunge with his new career.
He said: “Sometimes people pop back on their way home from shopping to say how much they enjoyed our products.
“It is my dream job and seeing people’s reactions when they try hot chocolate for the first time is amazing.”
Cocoba will open in Bluewater at the autumn.
For more information, visit cocobachocolate.com
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