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Six Questions from Greencity with The Chocolate Tree

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With Valentines Day and Easter just around the corner, what better time to hear from one of our wonderful Scottish chocolatier suppliers; this week's Six Questions from Greencity features The Chocolate Tree, Dunbar-based ethical chocolate-obsessives.

First established in 2005, The Chocolate Tree have grown from a small festival tent to a dedicated chocolate factory and two beautiful cafes in Edinburgh and Haddington; their mission is to create fine flavour chocolate whilst protecting biodiversity and rewarding farmers with a true premium for their crops of heritage cacao varieties. They take a perfectionist approach to chocolate making, obsessively roasting, winnowing, grinding and conching the cacao in small batches, and their range includes some purist origin bars alongside some bars with inclusions and alternatives to dairy and cane sugar. With several International Chocolate Awards under their belt, and many loyal customers across the country, it's clear that their fine attention to detail has paid off!

We heard from Alastair Gower, one half of the founding team behind the Chocolate Tree, to tell us a bit more about their journey, and what drives them.

How/why and when did you start your business?

2005, at Knockengorroch Music Festival. We had a small tent at this beautiful little festival selling hot chocolates and puddings, we just did it for fun and then it turned into our passion. For several years we travelled the UK festival scene with a geodesic solar powered organic chocolaterie. Those were fun times, they led us into discovering our natural talent for running an ethical chocolate company.

2. What advice would you give to someone starting a new business in the sector?

What are you waiting for? Go for it.

3. What motivates you?

I want to change the world using chocolate as a medium to encourage compassion and equality. I’ve seen first-hand the positive effect of premium organic cacao farming on people and the environment, and I feel this is what I am meant to be doing with my life. Every day I know that the mission of our company is being realised slowly but surely and that gives me immense satisfaction and motivation.

4. How do you think the food & drinks industry could improve?

By putting people and the planet before profits.

5. Is there an individual or organisation, current or in the past, who inspires you?

I am currently inspired by the podcasts of Aubrey Marcus, amongst other entrepreneurs who are living meaningful lives and spreading positive cultural change through their work. We are also inspired by companies like Lush who have grown significantly without compromising their values. It’s the growth that leads to the company being able to make a real difference in the world. We once adhered to Schumacher’s principle of ‘small is beautiful’ and whilst that is true, there are some instances when ‘bigger is better’. If we buy premium organic cacao in tons rather than kilograms, we are beginning to make some real differences to the people whom it matters most.

6. Apart from Greencity, which other three or more people, living or deceased, would you invite to make a dinner party entertaining?

  • Tim Ferriss
  • Wim Hof
  • Richard Alpert

If you’d like any more information about The Chocolate Tree's products, you can check out their website at
www.choctree.co.uk or contact the Greencity Sales Team who are always happy to help.

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