What's more magical than a chocolate factory? How about a chocolate barn? Even better, Cocoa Loco's barn used to be an ice cream factory – beat that, Willy Wonka!
Full of beans
Cocoa Loco is not your ordinary chocolate factory. Set in a West Sussex country estate, the ‘factory’ is a kitchen in a 250- year-old building aptly named The Chocolate Barn. In 2005, Sarah Payne set up Cocoa Loco baking brownies in her kitchen after having children. Husband Rory later joined the team and they eventually expanded into the Barn.
It isn’t just the location that’s special. Cocoa Loco’s chocolate is single origin, organic, Fairtrade and lovingly handmade. The result is fantastic tasting, pure and unique chocolate. All of the cocoa beans used are sourced from a co-operative in the Dominican Republic, so farmers are paid a fair wage.
The magic really happens at Cocoa Loco, where the small team of skilled chocolatiers create brownies, cookies, buttons, eggs and bunnies. The eggs and bunnies have beautiful marbling, which can only be done by hand.
“Each bunny and marbled egg is truly unique. White, milk and dark chocolate is swirled together in a jug and poured into moulds, meaning no two are the same. The molten
centres of the eggs are then cut out once they’ve chilled – nothing is automated.”
Sarah’s an avid collector of weird and wonderful moulds, from ladybirds, ducks and holly leaves to the famous lop-sided bunny – Cocoa Loco’s most popular choc at Easter.
“Sarah has lots of creative ideas – the most awesome thing I’ve ever tasted was a candied tomato covered in chocolate. We have a small mill for making experimental chocolate and try out small batches at our café in Horsham."
You won’t find Cocoa Loco’s chocolates just anywhere – which makes it even more special when you taste their delicious creations, like you’ve won your own golden ticket
Cocoa pods are often heavily sprayed, although being organic means Cocoa Loco's beans are pesticide free. Organic chocolate also tastes more chocolatey. Rory explains, “Our chocolate has a higher cocoa content than a lot of commercial bars. Even our milk chocolate has a cocoa content of 37% and our dark chocolate has 73%.”