The Chocolate Manor in Castlerock became the twelfth Économusée in Northern Ireland on Thursday 24th March. Along with guests from Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, Tourism NI and guest speaker Paula McIntyre, Causeway Coast & Glens Heritage Trust launched the artisan chocolatier into this international network of elite artisans, in a chocolate infused celebration.
Nestled in the small coastal village of Castlerock visitors to the area have the opportunity to browse the Chocolate Shop and Artisan Food Emporium. If you’re looking for an engaging activity to share with family, friends or colleagues, or want to add artisan chocolate making to your Irish food experience, a visit to The Chocolate Manor is a must!
The Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, Councillor Richard Holmes said: “Council is very proud of the role it has played to help Geri transform her hobby and passion in to a very successful business venture.
She has participated in our Sales Growth Programme, Alchemy Business Mentoring and received practical support from our COVID recovery grant, Rural Development Programme and most recently the Tourism Excellence Programme, all of which have aided her sales growth strategy and capital purchases.
Through Taste Causeway we have supported Geri and other food artisans to showcase their products at Balmoral Show and BBC Good Food Show, and it’s hugely encouraging to witness her progress, which is based on her exceptional products.
The Chocolate Manor is a fantastic addition to the thriving Économusée network and I wish her well as she embarks on this next important step.”
Graham Thompson, CEO of the Causeway Coast and Glens Heritage Trust welcomed guests to the celebratory event, explaining the concept and what visitors can expect to find: ‘’As with all our Économusée businesses, visitors to The Chocolate Manor will have the opportunity to meet the artisan and discover the history of their craft. Having an Économusée artisan, especially a chocolate one, in this superb coastal location will have a positive impact on the area and will be a valuable addition to the network. We welcome Geri and her team and we look forward to working with you and promoting you locally and internationally.’’
In 2020, when the rest of the world stood still, The Chocolate Manor moved to distinctive premises, which have been located at the heart of Castlerock village for over 120 years. Geri, a skilled and passionate artisan chocolatier has worked with 5-star restaurants and some of the biggest names in the culinary industry to produce bespoke chocolates for special occasions. The Chocolate Manor has even had several commissions for members of the Royal Family.
Geri Martin, owner of The Chocolate Manor added: ‘I want to thank everyone who has helped me on this journey. I am excited about the future and look forward to being part of the Économusée network, welcoming chocolate loving visitors from far and wide into our workshop to experience, experiment, indulge and create their own unique handcrafted chocolate treats and build life-long memories along the way.’’
**Économusée Artisans at Work is a concept that was developed in Québec and involves partners from Canada, Norway, Sweden, the Faroe Islands, Iceland, Greenland, Haiti, the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.
Within Northern Ireland the other eleven Économusée workshops are; Broighter Gold Rapeseed Oil in Limavady, Scullion Hurls in Loughgiel, Steenson’s Jewellers in Glenarm, Hillstown Brewery in Ahoghill (currently closed), Hot Milk Forge in Martinstown and Ursa Minor Bakehouse, Broughgammon Farm, North Coast Smokehouse in Ballycastle, Audrey Kyle Arts and Gobbins Crafts in Islandmagee and the Creamery Can in Glarryford. Each workshop is situated on or close by the famous Causeway Coastal Route making it an ideal craft trail for visitors.