Belfast Telegraph

Chocolatier lands an invite to take her sweets to the palace

By Lisa Smyth

A luxury Northern Ireland chocolate producer has won a coveted spot to showcase its goods at a networking event organised by the Duke of York.

Chocolate Manor was selected as one of 12 winners to provide food and drink to Prince Andrew at his Pitch@Palace entrepreneurship competition yesterday.

They were also tasked with designing and manufacturing 2,200 bespoke printed chocolates to be included in gift bags handed out at the gala event at St James' Palace.

Geri Martin, who set up the Coleraine firm, said: "This has absolutely been our greatest achievement to date.

"We applied for a place and the following day we received an email from the Prince's special adviser asking us to send samples for testing.

"We put together a range of different samples, including chocolate discs and bars, all designed especially for the Pitch@Palace event and posted them to Buckingham Palace.

"That was really exciting, the thought that something I made being sent to Buckingham Palace and people there would be trying my chocolate.

"I was delighted to even be considered so it was incredible when they contacted me and asked me to produce chocolates for the actual event."

The Duke of York founded Pitch@Palace with a view to support entrepreneurs with the amplification and acceleration of their business ideas by connecting them with potential supporters including angels, mentors, investors and potential customers.

The first Pitch@Palace event took place in April last year.

Chocolate Manor was one of only a handful of companies from the food and drink sector in the UK to be invited to participate in yesterday's event.

"It has been an incredible experience and I hope that it will lead to even bigger and better things for Chocolate Manor," added Ms Martin.

Belfast Telegraph