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A day in the life of a chocolate maker

It’s all about tasting chocolate all day, right? Pretty much. Having talked to Darren Litton, the creative mastermind of luxury chocolate brand Cocoba, about his typical day, we’re definitely jealous.

Breakfast

I wake up at 6 am, make myself a coffee, and I’ll have a small piece of 71% Ecuador dark chocolate to kick start my day. Every morning breakfast is a shake with milk, blueberries, seeds, spirulina and wheatgrass. It’s full of nutrients and energy.

I’ll play with my toddler for 10 minutes and leave at 6.45am for Cocoba’s store and café at Bluewater. There, I’ll have some more coffee and catch up with the store manager, have a look at the café and go through everything. Then I’ll have a look at the retail area and talk to the manager about any new chocolate products.

At 9 am, I’ll drive to the production unit a few minutes away – that’s where 50 of our 150 products are handmade, including all our chocolate bars, chocolate spoons and chocolate flakes – and catch up with the production guys, then I’ll catch up with any orders we have in the pipeline.

Lunch

I’ll go back to the store for lunch; maybe I’ll go for our tuna melt panini along with a coffee. I’ll finish lunch with something sweet, whether it’s a truffle or a few pieces of chocolate.

I’ll do some more work from my laptop, liaising with customers, suppliers, and plan upcoming trade fairs and meetings. The things that anyone with a small business has to run around doing!

Then I’ll be looking at ingredients, packaging and designs for new products. Recently we launched a chocolate cocoa pod and that involved a lot of design work.

Orange crunch is our newest chocolate bar. We tried it with dark chocolate but it worked better with milk and we had to try samples of lots of different orange flavoured oils. In the production room, we tasted them to see which we preferred and played around with the concentrate. There is around 20 staff so we let them all try them, and customers as well, to get feedback on which one’s the best. There’s a lot of chocolate eating that day.

Dinner

I leave by 6 pm to get home in time for my toddler’s bath. When she’s asleep I’ll have dinner with my wife. We eat a lot of fish; I’ll do sea bass with veggies on the side, and maybe we’ll have a homemade vegetable soup and red wine. Being Australian I do a lot of barbeques – we’ll probably have barbequed fish, chicken or burgers three nights a week. I eat healthily where I can – if we’re launching a new product I do a lot of tastings during the day and I do have quite a sweet tooth!

Then I’ll carry on with work until going to bed around midnight – but not before one of my signature hot chocolate spoons!