• Organic: to be or not to be?

    Going organic was always something I wanted to do with the company but turns out it’s a bigger deal than I could have ever imagined. I wanted to do it for a number of reasons, firstly it just makes sense to make the company officially organic and it’s a great thing to be able to write on the packaging. I was lucky enough to grow up surrounded by organic and even biodynamic (google it) produce and it’s a no brainer that it’s the best way to eat. I was also getting a bit bored with the long-winded explanation of yes, we use organic base ingredients but no, we can’t say that we are organic because we aren’t certified. If someone asks if the chocolate is organic, I want to be able to say yes with a full stop at the end. 

    To clarify, going organic means becoming certified as an organic company. We already used an organic base chocolate and mostly organic ingredients, but the certification process is very strict and just using organic products isn’t enough to be able to call yourself an organic company. Being certified also means yearly inspections to check your processes, a yearly fee, and lots of time spent keeping very detailed records so you can prove that what you are claiming to be organic, actually is. 

    Challenge accepted! We chose Soil Association Organic to certify with, they are a very well respected and recognisable company and I like their little logo.


    Workshop inspected, organic detergents only, strict cleaning processes in place, strict storage, labelling and goods in/ goods out spreadsheets as far as the eye can see. Each product also needs its own folder with a full ingredients sheet and where each ingredient is from, as well as the documents from suppliers with their organic certificate, the packaging certificate and the label for the product going through an approval process. For most of our products, this is fairly straightforward. However, when we get to bars like our Bee’s Knees bar, we start to hit a few roadblocks. I made the Bee’s Knees bar with the intention of using local honey from small producers in our local area. They can’t always afford and don’t always want to get the certification and quite frankly I don’t know if the bee’s will agree to only go on organic flowers. How do you tell a bee not to go in certain areas? That’s a rhetorical question, I understand how cages and fences work but bees roaming free across the English countryside is what we wanted to promote, not bees in organic cages. This bar is then considered 95% organic because even though the honey isn’t certified, I can still say its organic, I just can’t use the cool logo. This is similar for our Very Cherry and Chocolate Love bar, they don’t have honey in them but I couldn’t find an organic cherry or raspberry essence that I liked, so I used a natural one (it’s not organic certified) and didn’t add the logo to the wrapper. The rest of the bars? 100% Organic! 

    Do you look for the word organic on your products? Is it important to you? Do you even notice/care that what you eat is or isn’t organic? Does it depend on the product? Organic meat, dairy, fruit and veg seem important but pasta is ok not to be? Going through the process has certainly changed my perspective on it. I fully respect and appreciate when a company is certified, but if it isn’t I generally assume it’s because they have decided not to and not because they pump their product full of chemicals. Small companies and producers probably don’t always bother going for the certification or don’t need to, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t strict about their quality or that their focus isn’t on producing a wonderful product. 

    I sometimes wish we weren’t certified so I could have more freedom and creativity within the range, although for some products I just don’t bother and you will have to trust that I’m very fussy when it comes to quality. I am better at making new products organic and switching my brain into “that will work and be delicious” rather than just “let’s do that cool thing and worry about organic later.” Don’t do the latter, it will not work out well for you when you find yourself spending hours googling organic breadcrumbs.

    Overall, I’m very happy we are organic and want to remain so. It’s a huge achievement in my opinion and makes me proud every time some asks:

    “Is the chocolate organic?” “Yes.” (with a full stop.)

  • This chocolate bar is the Bee’s Knees!

    The combination of chocolate and honey has always been one I loved and as the importance of these little pollinators is now much more on every one’s minds, it seemed about time we did our bit to support them! Keen to use only the best quality honey and from bees I knew were cared for, I sought out some local bee keepers to give me the low down on all things bee. The complexity of the social structure and life of bees is incredible and after chatting to Sue and Vince Bray who own Bray’s bees, I learnt the most important thing for me: that well looked after bees produce enough honey to keep themselves in good stock, as well as excess, which we can harvest without harming or depriving them.  Armed with some jars of beautiful honey and a head buzzing with new knowledge, I set off back to the workshop to get making. 

    Our medium dark, dairy free 58% cocoa was the obvious choice for the base. Not overpowering in its depth like a dark and not too sweet like a milk chocolate, this happy medium was the perfect match to the delicately flavoured honey that runs through the centre of the bar. Now, how to actually make them?!

    1. Fill the mould with melted, tempered, chocolate.  Hold on tight and flip the mould upside down to pour out all the excess and leave a layer of chocolate on what is essentially the ‘top’ of the bar (repeat with smaller bar moulds).
    2. Leave the mould and chocolate in the fridge till it is just set, take out and drizzle with a thin layer of honey, taking care to make sure there will be a little in each bite (again, repeat with smaller bars).
    3. Pour over another layer of chocolate, give it a few taps to settle the chocolate and push out any air bubbles, scrape off the excess and voila! 
    4. Back to the fridge for 15 minutes then into the racks to fully set (up to 4 hours) and turn out the bars and wrap in our waxed paper as normal.

    We are committed to working with local bee keepers and are trying out different honeys from all around Sussex and Kent. so far, we have worked with Bray’s Bees in Maidstone and Ela’s Beehive in Kent. Have a peek inside the wrapper for a business card from the company the honey is from and go check them out! The beauty of using a range of companies is that we get to try out all of their honey and so far, they are all delicious and we can’t wait to try more. The honey varies as much as the flowers it comes from, producing a slightly different flavour each time, far from worrying about this, we think it’s wonderful! In life, no two people are the same but we are all amazing in our uniqueness and this is how we feel about our bars. Artisan means handmade and each of our bars, the same as each of the jars of honey, is made with love.

  • Mini bars, ironically my biggest challenge yet!

    One of the first things I wanted to do when I took over Rowdy and Fancy’s was to bring out mini bars and last September I finally managed it! The first challenge was choosing a mould, this sounds simple but in reality took a lot of combined brain power and online research. Do we make actual mini versions of the big ones? How many segments do we want? How mini is mini?  And so on… having decided on a 48g mould with 4 fingers we went on to the next step: packaging.


    I will never look at a product in a shop the same way again, the care and thought behind each and every aspect of the packaging amazes me, something so simple is very important and specific! So, do we wrap the bar in an inner wrap of foil, paper, plastic, or what? I was determined to make the packaging as eco-friendly as possible and to stay away from the dreaded ‘P’ word (plastic) and eventually found a company willing to make us custom sized

    wood pulp clear bags with a snazzy self seal. Not only are they clear so you can see the delicious chocolate before you eat it, they can also go straight in the home compost! Quite clever if we do say so ourselves.

    The outer wrapper was always really going to be a box although we went through all the folded paper options just to make sure. Boxes seemed the most convenient for popping in your pocket or handbag and again these were specially made to a custom size and shape with help from my very talented and patient designer friend. The design process took so long and went through so many changes that when they finally arrived (all 12 thousand of them) I was so worried they wouldn’t actually fit that I couldn’t bear to open the delivery… after I finally plucked up the courage I was thrilled to find that not only did they fit but they were perfect.

    Time for a cup of tea and a bit of chocolate, then lets bring on the next challenge!

  • The secret life of the Easter bunny

    My second Easter with Rowdy and Fancy’s meant I had a little more confidence and was better prepared to branch out into new and exciting things, hence my first ever attempt at a hollow figure.

    Something I get asked a lot as a chocolatier is how hollow figures are made. This was certainly a question I had before I began the chocolate journey and its one that still seems to baffle people. Now, there are a few different ways of doing this and here is the one I use. There is no sticking together of halves or coating a block of ice in chocolate and letting it drain through a hole (seriously it’s been suggested), this way is simple and neat and if done right, the easiest.IMG_2602

    Each chocolate figure is made using two halves of a hollow mould, some clips to keep the moulds together, a fridge, a ladle, a hairdryer, a set of scales, some tempered chocolate and a good pinch of patience.

    Melted chocolate is poured into one half of the mould, the sides are clipped together and slowly spun to coat the whole inside of the mould in chocolate. When the chocolate has set, the moulds are unclipped and carefully lifted away, revealing (hopefully) a perfect hollow figure.

    This doesn’t always go as IMG_2600smoothly as planned and any error in temperature at any stage, the chocolate being uneven, being left in the fridge too long or too short, basically anything you can think of going wrong, can mean the IMG_2562bunnies don’t come out right. These error bunnies are allocated to the bunny graveyard where they can thankfully be re-melted and tried again, or eaten.

    Bertie the Bunny in milk chocolate was first, soon followed by Rosie Rabbit and Betty Bunny. Hand making each one individually, leaving extra time for breakages, doesn’t leave much room for a social life, so I was very happy to have these cuties as my friends this Easter.


  • Chocolate Curry

    I have always loved cooking, to me it is the perfect creative platform because not only do you have almost unlimited options of what you can make, you can eat what you create! For me, a love of all things chocolate is a given and after a recent trip to India, my curry obsession began.  The idea of bringing curry and chocolate together hadn’t occured to me until I found out that national chocolate week and national curry week overlap, a match made it heaven? That’s for you to decide…

    This recipe is quick and easy as well as delicious, what’s not to love! The richness of the chocolate is balanced by the spicey chilli and the zingy lime brings out the freshness of the coriander to lift this dish from being too heavy. It uses household ingredients and keeps well.  Like many curry’s, the spices and flavours develop over a few days so go ahead and double up for some truelly delicious leftovers!


    Chocolate and aubergine Chana Masala


    1 red onion

    1 clove of garlic, minced

    1 large aubergine

    1 400g can of chickpeas

    1 400g can of chopped tomatoes

    2 tbsp tomato puree

    2 tbsp olive oil

    2 tsp garam masala

    1 tsp ground coriander

    3 good pinches of salt

    1 good pinch of freshly ground black pepper

    6-8 square’s of Rowdy and Fancy’s Lime Chilli chocolate



    1. Gently heat the oil in a heavy bottomed saucepan. Finely chop the onion and add to the pan with the minced garlic, ground coriander and garam masala.

    2. Once the onions are softened, dice the aubergine and mix into the onions with the tomato puree. Add the chopped tomatoes and simmer on a low heat for 20 mins. (you may need to add some water if its gets too dry)

    3. Drain and rinse the chickpeas before adding them to the pan and simmer for another 5 mins. Add salt and pepper to taste. Now it’s time for the chocolate! I used 8 squares in the end but I would start with 4 and keep mixing and tasting til it’s right for you.

    I found that the mild heat of the chocolate was enough spice for me but you could always add some fresh chilli in with the onions to give it that extra kick.

    This is very rich, so serve with rice, chapatti or as a side dish.

    Happy cooking!