Lara and Cameron of Bare Bones Chocolate, Glasgow, have been making a big splash in the craft chocolate world since they started crafting their own micro-batch chocolate bars in 2018.
As is so often the case, their journey into the world of craft chocolate started from a love of great coffee. Lara, a chef and food photographer, and Cameron, a mechanical engineer, were fascinated by the complexities of flavour and endless possibilities in every coffee bean. They soon had a private coffee shop in Cameron’s parents’ garage with a heavily modified espresso machine.
It wasn’t long before they discovered bean-to-bar chocolate and their passion for great flavour and sustainable, high-quality craftmanship expanded. They acquired a stone grinder and experimented at home with tiny micro-batches. Living in England but wanting to return home to Glasgow, they decided to take the plunge, borrowing Lara’s dad’s coffee bean roaster and setting out to transform their home-crafted bars into a craft chocolate brand.
Their first bars came out in 2018 and have since acquired quite the following. Lara and Cameron work at it full time (and nights, and weekends…) and have now brought in Cameron’s sister Holly to help meet the growing demand.
Their mission statement, Cameron tells us, is simple:
“We want to make the best possible chocolate, using the finest cacao and ingredients that people really love. Being a sustainable business is really important to us, so our mission is to be mindful of the planet and our footprint through all of our processes.”
To that end, their beautiful self-designed packaging is made from recycled paper coffee cups and are themselves recyclable after use. That’s really important to them, Cameron explains: “We wanted to be a little bit of a solution to an existing problem and throw-away culture”. The wrappers are made by Edinburgh-based Vegware, a company that makes new food packaging out of old food waste.
And finally, here’s Cameron, telling us a little bit more about themselves:
What is your favourite food? Favourite chocolate makers?
Coffee is still a big passion of ours: we love our AeroPress, trying new beans/roasteries and going out for coffee on weekends. Lara has a large and diverse collection of cookbooks that we love to make our way through. We are always experimenting with foods and different processes – particularly with fermented foods and bread making. We used to have a pizza truck and still love making proper Neapolitan-style dough! Pump Street Chocolate was our first taste of craft chocolate so will always be a favourite of ours.
What chocolate achievement are you most proud of to date?
Creating a great customer experience (from ordering to eating) is one of the most important parts for us, so to get such incredible feedback and messages about our chocolate is so amazing. A very large proportion of our sales are repeat customers, which we are so proud of and really means so much.
Some incredible coffee shops and concept stores that we loved and visited before we made chocolate now stock our chocolate, which is still such a surreal and exciting thing. I don’t think the novelty will ever wear off!
And lastly, we are really proud of winning Silver and Bronze in the International Chocolate Awards and two gold stars at the Great Taste Awards for our debut collection.