The Chocolate Life

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Dear members of the chocolate life,

I have been doing some research on starting a business related to chocolate in the South of Spain. I have decided that manufacturing and selling would require too much capital and time. I have two small children and need to have some flexibility in terms of working hours.

The idea of offering chocolate making workshops at hotels, bars and private residences seems more realistic and easier to set up including the financing side.

The area where I live is a very popular beach holiday destination especially in the summer. The rest of the year is still fairly well visited by matured couples and groups. Families come back at Christmas and Easter for a break as the weather is better that the rest of Europe.

Therefore my plan would be to offer at least two types of workshops one for children and one for adults. I would approach hotels, bars and cruise ships as I would be mainly targeting tourists.

I will be very grateful with any advice that you might be able to offer me.

I have also listed below some questions that have come up as I am trying to put together a business plan:

  1. Should I attend a formal course to use that training as my credentials? Can I get away with practicing and learning at home?
  2. Maximum number of people in each workshop? I am planning to do it on my own initially and hire someone else if there is demand.
  3. I have some ideas for the workshops' content: brief history, taste cacao nibs, show them the cacao fruit, tempering demonstration (only in the adult workshop), truffle making (only for the adult workshop), the rest will be creative (dipping and decorating), the children's workshop might include chocolate painting. Any suggestions for easy but appealing workshops?
  4. What equipment would I require to run the workshops in the most cost-efficient manner?
  5. How much chocolate would I need per person?
  6. Hiring the venue would mean that if I don't get a minimum number of participants I will be making a loss. Any advice on this? 

Many thanks in advance for all your responses.

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Replies to This Discussion

I have taken the chocolatier class thru Ecole Chocolate. It is done online, the course has great flexibility (it's only 3 months long), and it's available to people all around the world. I learned soooooo much stuff because my goal is for this to be my fun semi-retirement job. I am now a certified chocolatier. They also have master programs and internships available. I think if you want the resorts and cruise ships (possible venues?) to take you seriously you need to have something to backup your talk. What makes you special as opposed to someone just getting bits of information from the Internet? Going thru a course and getting a certification I believe would go a long way in giving you the credibility that you are going to need and they will want. Between this website and the forum in the graduate center at Ecole Chocolate I have had a lot of questions answered or asked and just learned so much. Hope this helps and let us know how it works out. Good luck!!!

I agree with Aldona, you need to have some sort of credentials to back you up. It might be worthwhile to see if you can gt some side work making chocolates for a hotel or boutique type of store to assist in both practice and to have some sort of testimonial to the quality of the chocolates you can make. I have taught a few classes and they are fun, BUT not a big money maker.

Have you thought about learning the differences between chocolate, the story/history and brands with the idea of doing chocolate parties paired with say wine or something? With all the great Spanish wine, it would be perfect and unique. This wouldn't require you to be a "chocolatier" but you would have to do research and become more of a chocolate expert. This might be more lucrative without the over head, just time to learn about it and experiment, eat chocolate..... Just an idea and it would be fun....either way you'll enjoy it! It's chocolate after all. Good luck

Thank you so much for your advise Aldona and Dirke.
I am looking at the Ecole Chocolate courses and also at the ones run by Chocolate Academy.
I have also been doing some research on the chocolate and wine pairing so it is definitely something that I will look to incorporate in the events.

Thanks again for the replies.

Clay's book Discover Chocolate is a useful primer on wine pairing as well as the history of chocolate.

While it would be crazy to have a class with kids actually working with chocolate, I think it could be a good thing. You would just have to price it so the excess chocolate from the kid's dipping session is sent home with them.

We have a family dipping session each year & my kids 8, 4, 3, get to make chocolates for their friends. They have such pride in doing that and giving them away it really makes me smile as a parent.

Perhaps you could run simultaneous classes on a cruise ship or something. One for the parents, and one for the kids of the parents in the other class. It would make it possible for parents with small kids.

I'd go ahead & start teaching while going through a course. It is easy to get caught up with the mentality that "I'll start when...... I have this certification.... or master ..... or whatever it may be".

You don't have to go out and contact every possible venue right now, but I'd start teaching anyway.

Also, it would be handy to have some chocolate on hand to sell after the class. This could really help increase the revenues per class.


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