Tuesday, 23 October 2007

Chocs away

I was gripped by the story of the master chocolate-maker who saw red at the sight of a competitor's chocolates and impulsively crushed them all to pieces.

Barry Colenso, master chocolatier for Thornton's, left a "trail of destruction" at a display counter at Hotel Chocolat in Nottingham, after he laid into a pile of tantalising truffles and squashed them all with his thumb.

He apparently failed to see the CCTV that revealed his every move to the astonished shop staff.

Mr Colenso was forced to resign in disgrace from his prestigious job. Thornton's were too embarrassed to make any further comment.

But Peter Thornton, ex company chairman, said Mr Colenso "must have been under a tremendous amount of pressure to do something like this."

It's said that top chocolatiers are under the same stress as famous chefs. They have to keep coming up with winning recipes and if they don't, their reputation is on the line. If they can't produce the latest melt-in-the-mouth sensation, they're in trouble.

Under the circumstances, it's understandable that he saw a pile of someone else's lipsmacking truffles and just had to obliterate them. If he hadn't been on candid camera, he would have got away with it.

But what now? A period in rehab followed by the launch of his very own Colenso Truffle? An unexplained inferno at the Hotel Chocolat factory? Watch this space.

(Note to Peter Colenso's lawyer: the last paragraph is pure fantasy....)


  1. Mmmm, now I want some chocolate, nothing that fancy mind you. I'm off to the shops.

  2. Oooh yes, that picture just gets me drooling every time I look at it! I just love those little chocolate and pastry shops you find tucked away in Italian backstreets. Do you have one near you?

  3. Next door! I'm currently munching on their chocolate covered biscotti and I'm blaming you for putting the idea into my head. It's not even nearly Friday.

  4. They sound divine! Can you just pop some in the post for me? I can live without meat but if I had to give up chocolate, I think I would become seriously deranged.

  5. "They have to keep coming up with winning recipes"

    Fruit n Nut, don't mess with the classics.....

  6. I guess it lends a new definition to having a very bad day on the job, Nick :>). Sneaky fellow tho... he thought he could get away with it....
    Yes, I had to go to my freezer and pry off a piece of Belgian truffle cake and eat it frozen. You devil!

  7. Manuel - Fruit n Nut, I love it - a classic all right. But you can do better than that. Surely your distinguished restaurant has a really scrumptious tiramisu on offer? The best tiramisu I've ever had was in Il Diabolo in Florence. Paradise!

    www - you're right, the ultimate bad day at work. A new form of retail therapy, perhaps - a rather disastrous one. Oh dear, I've turned you and Red into furtive chocolate-grabbers. Sorry. It'll be lettuce leaves for you two for the next 24 hours. Oh, and save some of the Belgian truffle cake for me....

  8. Actually Nick I don't know why I said that. I'm very fussy with chocolate. I like Green and Blacks, try their Maya Gold, beautiful and their Caramel chocolate bar. Beautiful but expensive. We make the most amazing Irish Whiskey Chocolate Fondant cake mmmmmmmmmmmmm

  9. He was probably jacked up on a chocolate high when he did it.

    I saw a story recently that said sugar after 35 damages your skin's ability to produce collagen, btw.

  10. Manuel - Oh yes Green and Blacks is delicious, I don't eat nearly enough of it. The chocolate fondant cake sounds ecstatic - as long as the owner of the restaurant opposite doesn't come in and crush it to smithereens....

    Medbh - Oh no, sugar after 35 wrecks your skin? But I can't give up chocolate, I can't, I can't. My life wouldn't be worth living, I'd be a shadow of my former self....

  11. That picture hypnotised me for a couple of minutes.

    All Thorntons needed there was a good spin doctor - they could easily have harnessed the comedy potential and marketed him as sooom evil chocolate genius who can't stand even to look at inferior chocs...

  12. A brainwave, Con! Yes, nowadays anything can be salvaged with the right spin doctor. That Adolf Hitler, he could have been the world's hero if he had just got the PR sorted out. Yes I like it, the evil genius of chocolate who goes mental over low standards. Thornton's missed a trick there.

  13. Here's the recipe for the best brownies I've ever tasted for all you chocolate fiends:

    Mmm chocolate... is it wrong to eat chocolate before lunchtime on a Monday?

  14. Thanks, Caro, must look that up. I just love brownies. Though must admit, I'm usually too lazy to make them myself. How can it ever be too early to eat chocolate? - a minute past midnight's fine by me.

  15. You can speed it up by melting the chocolate and butter in the microwave... give them a go, you won't be disappointed!

  16. Hmmmm. Soft and gooey, rather than cake-like, says the blurb. But I think I prefer the latter. Still, I must give them a try, they do sound delicious.

  17. Hi Nick, I loved this story, it reminds me of the spoilt girl in the Charlie and the Chocolate factory story and it made me smile.

    Wasn't he just acting out what everyone else in the room wanted to do? I loved the official Thorntons response, and am left wondering, "what was the spokesman really thinking?"

    Poor stressed man, acting out his latent chocophobia. Now he faces endless community service sorting through great looming piles of vermicelli and popping out those nasty little sugary metal balls that used to be so popular on cakes lol.

  18. Hi Hullaballoo. Hadn't occurred to me he might be a secret chocophobic after all those years of enforced proximity to the stuff. I wouldn't mind sorting through a few piles of chocolate vermicelli - sounds like tastebud heaven!