Producer of the Month: Helen Pattinson, Montezuma's Chocolate
This month we take a look at the Helen Pattinson of Montezuma's chocolate Ltd.
Montezuma's Chocolates is arguably the UK’s most innovative chocolate producer, specialising in creating exciting flavour combinations and sourcing cocoa from sustainable plantations. Montezuma's sells its products through its six stores as well as through more than 2,000 independent fine food retailers around the country and overseas. Montezuma’s is fiercely independent and supports the independent retailers, seeking out interesting stockists that fit with the Montezuma’s ethos in the UK and overseas.
Montezuma's designs and produces all its chocolate on the south coast in West Sussex where it employs 150 people. The business is still run by founders Helen and Simon who are focusing on establishing a family business with a long future.Why do you do what you do?
I love chocolate! I always have done but when I thought there was an opportunity to make a business out of a food I was already passionate about, I became obsessed with all things chocolate. I still love it 17 years later.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
Creating new products and introducing them to customers, they are always very forthcoming with their feedback!
What do you least enjoy about your job?
Nothing! I genuinely love it all.
What achievement are you most proud of?
I am proud of the business and what we have created and every time I see one of our products on a retailer's shelf I am reminded of that but I am also proud that we have survived some really tough times and made the business stronger in the process.
Why should we buy British produce?
Environmentally and economically it just makes sense to buy British. It supports our growers and producers and from an environmental perspective, it means food miles are kept to a minimum. But if you have the luxury of shopping locally, it's also great fun. Shopping at a farm shop, greengrocers, butchers or fishmongers is so much more interesting than going to a supermarket
How do you think we should be promoting British produce?
Since the EU referendum, the pound has lost significant value meaning that any imports are more expensive than they were. This presents a great opportunity to promote British business and perhaps shoppers need to be reminded that buying British can be the most cost effective source.
If you were an advertising executive what slogan would you use to promote British food?
Great British food - an island of possibilities
What's on the menu this evening?
Dinner in our house is a bit like that programme 'Ready Steady Cook' where the guests would turn up with a few ingredients and the chefs would have to produce the most interesting meal out of them. Meal planning is definitely not my strong point so tonight I will probably be making something out of some leftover vegetables and eggs - I think I have enough for a leek, courgette and Stilton omelette!
How can people get hold of your produce?
We have six of our own retail stores in the South East, sell through our website www.montezumas.co.uk and many of our products are available through John Lewis, Sainsbury's, Waitrose and more than 2000 independent stockists around the UK