Profile: Mortimer Chocolate, Mortimer Common
PUBLISHED: 09:47 21 February 2020
Adrian Smith, Founder of Mortimer Chocolate, is originally from Yorkshire, but moved down to Reading to go to university, and has lived here ever since.
"My wife and I and our three daughters now live in Mortimer, which is idyllic. We live opposite the woods where I love to take our dog for a walk to get away from everything for a while," he says.
Adrian worked at Mars chocolate in Slough for 18 years. "As a botanist, I was working on the fermentation of cocoa beans, and from there, I moved on to become a cocoa taster. Its flavour is as complex as wine or coffee, and when you taste it, you spit it out like you do when you're tasting wine. I guess you could say I fell into this career, but I do love it," he says.
Back then, these cocoa powders were blended with sugar and milk. "I was actually responsible for creating Maltesers and Galaxy hot chocolate drinks for Mars," says Adrian. "But it struck me that no one sold proper hot chocolate; we needed a chocolate revolution!"
So, 14 years ago, Adrian left Mars to set up his own chocolate powders and chocolate drinks company, named Mortimer Chocolate. "It took six months to perfect my unique (and secret) pure chocolate powder," he says. "My wife is a nutritionist, so she helped me. And I made sure I used and imported the finest cocoa ingredients, paying a premium for the best quality, which I still do. The powder makes a delicious and luxurious drink. My youngest daughter is Mortimer Chocolate's biggest fan - she has a cup of hot chocolate every day after school."
Adrian says his chocolate powders can be used for cooking and fondues, as well as making drinks. "Although many of our customers also say they eat it straight from the pack with a spoon," he laughs. "It's that good!"
When I ask Adrian which is his favourite Mortimer Chocolate product, he replies: "You're asking me to pick between my babies! But the West African Drinking Chocolate is probably my favourite. It's made from a West African cocoa to produce a creamy, rich and comforting hot chocolate."
If you want to try Adrian's chocolate powders or drinks, you can buy the award- winning products from Amazon and Ocado. Many cafes around Berkshire also serve Mortimer Chocolate drinks, so look out for them when you're next out and about.
"We also make drinking chocolate for stores, such as Harrods," says Adrian. "They call us a 'master chocolatier', which I'm proud of. We started by making a Valentine's Day white chocolate and raspberry flavour drink for them, and we produced a salted caramel version for Christmas, which they're still selling as it was so popular."
So what's next for Adrian? He says: "My goal now is to make enough chocolate to take my wife on the safari she's always wanted!"