Just a few kilometres from Kinvara in Co. Galway is Hazel Mountain chocolate factory. You may have seen them on the Late Late, heard them on Today fm or read about them in the paper. As a rural business, they are excelling and now that my summer lodgings are in that area, I decided to head over and check it out.
The location of the factory and cafe is deceptive, it’s just on the side of a fairly unexciting road. The cottage is the cutest I’ve seen and there is a car park out front for a few cars. I visited on a Friday around 1pm and the place was hopping! In front of you is a cafe with some outdoor seating and to the right is the shop and factory.
I went to the shop and factory to learn more about how the chocolate is made, where it comes from and so on. Unfortunately for me, I didn’t learn a lot which was a great disappointment to me. You can see a woman in the factory working away but there’s no information up as to what she’s doing. There are several posters on the wall but they are mostly promotional photos on the factory. In this respect, the only option you are left with is to buy some chocolate. It comes in a few different flavours but because of the nature of the business, they are expensive. The ones I bought were 5.95 each and there were 8 squares. The little chocolate sweets on the table were costed at about 1.50 each. I personally felt that the emphasis was on the commercial side and that they are denying themselves by not having the information there for the people on the process of their work.
There was only one man working on the floor when I was there and by the looks of the photos, he was one of the owners. He was trying to man the till so he did his best to explain about the chocolate from there but it was all a bit much for one person. He was also using his mobile phone in front of customers which I HATE. That’s a very picky thing to say but your customers are paying your wages so they deserve your 100%.
Overall, I probably won’t be back. It is a nice place and worth a visit. They have a cafe which I didn’t visit but I have heard from friends that the chocolate drinks are delicious.
Since publishing this post, Hazel Mountain Chocolate factory have been in touch to say that tours ARE available on Saturdays and Sundays and details are on their website, http://www.hazelmountainchocolate.com/pages/about-us
Here are the details;
BEAN TO BAR SHED & TASTING ROOM
Discover how bean to bar chocolate is really made with a guided tour from one of our head chocolate makers. Your 45 minute tour will take you through all the stages of our chocolate making, followed by a tasting session. Tours available Saturday & Sunday at 1pm. Cost €12 per person, €5 children (unsuitable for children under 12yrs)