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27 April 2009, 12:31
At the most geographically remote chocolate producer in Europe you can see and taste hand-crafted chocolates being made and savour them in the cafe with - reputedly - the world's best hot chocolate.
Paul and James founded Cocoa Mountain in June 2006 with the simple aim to produce the most delicious, fresh, and innovative chocolates on the planet.
Situated in the heart of the North-west Highlands Geo-Park, Cocoa Mountain is located in the Balnakeil Craft Village, half a mile north-west of Durness - the most north-westerly village on mainland Scotland . It's near to Balnakeil Bay with its long golden beaches, sea cliffs, puffins, and extraordinary sand dunes. It overlooks Loch Croispol, teaming with trout and home to otters, and has views towards majestic peaks such as Arkle and Fionaven to the south, and westwards toward Cape Wrath - Europe's "last great wilderness".
Freshness, quality and innovation are words used to describe their chocolate and truffles, which are made using the highest quality chocolate, premium ingredients, and natural flavourings. Their guiding principal is to avoid the use of artificial flavourings, colourings or preservatives. They feel that the beauty of their surroundings should be reflected in the quality of their products and make every chocolate by hand.
As a business it is important to them that they operate in a manner that is ethical and environmentally responsible. They use low energy light bulbs, monitor their energy use and their custom-made chocolate box is made from recycled card. They also aim to use as many organic ingredients as possible and source local produce when available, and are members of the North-West Sutherland Food-Link, a local food producer's initiative.
"Cocoa Mountain should win because when you are as wee and far away as us we have to try harder and we do: we offer something that is just beautiful and magical." - Paul Maden, co-founder of Cocoa Mountain.
Go to Cocoa Mountain's homepage for more information about their chocolates and cafe.
Cocoa Mountain went on to win the Eat Scotland, Food Tourism category in the 2009 Scotland Food and Drink Excellence Awards
View the other nominees using the links below.
Last updated: 15 October 2009, 14:22