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Sweet innovation by BE Chocolate

PUBLISHED: 00:00 03 February 2016

Bryan Townson of BE Chocolates

Bryan Townson of BE Chocolates

Archant

Bryan Townson’s chocolates are the perfect gift this Valentine’s Day. Emma Mayoh reports

Bryan Townson of BE ChocolatesBryan Townson of BE Chocolates

Many people express their love on Valentine’s Day with flowers or a box of chocolates. But chocolatier Bryan Townson is helping people say those three little words with his eye-popping, award-winning sweet treats.

The 41-year-old, from Lower Darwen, launched BE Chocolate a little over a year ago with wife and Great British Menu chef Eve Townson, who is also executive chef at Ramsbottom’s award winning Eagle and Child. He creates a range of beautiful designs in striking colours as well as different and unusual shapes. He has carved everything from chocolate boots and shoes, flower pots and geckos to huge scale designs including an entire garden made out of chocolate to a cast of a man’s hands wrapped around his partner’s pregnant stomach.

‘I really enjoy being creative and trying new things,’ said Bryan. ‘I like it when people come to me with ideas that might challenge me because I’ve not made them before. ‘It was exciting when I was asked to do a chocolate garden for a birthday. I had to make a huge solid chocolate tree as the centrepiece. It took hours but it was a lot of fun.’

Bryan, originally from Blackburn, has worked as a chef at top venues across the county for several years including The Fieldings Arms and Ribby Hall. He also lectured catering at Hopwood Hall College in Rochdale. He has always enjoyed making chocolates but it was after he made the favours at his wedding that he started to consider it more seriously. Since then, he has made more and more, teaching himself the skills he needs as well as undertaking specialist courses.

Bryan Townson of BE ChocolatesBryan Townson of BE Chocolates

Bryan already supplies a number of top hotels, restaurants and wedding venues including the luxury Hotel Gotham in Manchester, which he also supplies some desserts for, and The Wellbeing Farm in Bolton.

His chocolates have put smiles on the faces of brides and grooms as well as their guests as well as at a host of other special occasions. He also supplied chocolates for Lancashire business awards, The BIBAs and has also been awarded two stars from the Great Taste Awards for his Kalamansi Caramel, a chocolate that uses green Kalamansi limes, which originate from Asia.

But his biggest fan is his four-year-old son, Arthur, who has helped his dad develop a new chocolate.

‘I used Arthur’s Batman mask as a mould to have a go at making a chocolate one for Hotel Gotham,’ said Bryan, who makes his chocolates in the cellars of the Eagle and Child. ‘He thought it was really quite fun. It worked out really well too.

‘I took the first one I made home for him. I didn’t tell him it was chocolate. He got a shock when it started melting. We enjoy making chocolates together. He enjoys the eating bit too.’

Bryan is also passing on his skills to young talent in the industry by working with apprentices including Reece Hunt who is also a commis chef at the Eagle and Child. The work paid off when Reece, a former Radclyffe School pupil, was named Young Pastry Masterchef of Great Britain last year. The title also meant Reece received the David Lyell Scholarship to allow him time to see some of the best Parisian chocolatiers at work.

‘Reece likes being creative, like me, so we work well together,’ said Bryan. ‘It is important me to encourage talented chefs and chocolatiers like Reece. He worked very hard and always shows enthusiasm. I’m really proud of what he has achieved.’

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