Spotlight retailer: Chouchoute Chocolaterie
Made from pure chocolate, cane sugar and cocoa butter, it’s no surprise when people say Chouchoute Chocolaterie is the best chocolate in Birmingham.
Home to the Great Western Arcade, Chouchoute Chocolaterie brought its luxury chocolate tasting experience to Birmingham back in 2002.
Chouchoute pronounced ‘shoo-shoot’ is French for to pamper, to treat, to indulge which the owner & creator, Pierre Soualah aims to do with his hand-made chocolate.
Originally from Lyon, France, Pierre trained as a traiteur in Fauchon, Paris. It was when he worked in patisserie when Pierre got his first taste for chocolate, “I did chocolate training there, it was my first experience and the smell was divine. This is it. This is what I wanted to do.”
With a family who loves gastronomy, going into work in this field was like “fish to water” for Pierre, “as soon as I went in there, there was no-way out of it.”
After his venture in Paris, Pierre worked in the famous department store, Selfridges, London “I was planning to establish a store in London but my wife, who was then my girlfriend moved to Birmingham, she worked for Cadbury in the marketing department.”
His move to Birmingham came as a big shock in terms of finding real chocolate, “I was planning to buy chocolate but didn’t find any fresh chocolate, it was just supermarket chocolate.”
This is what speared him on to open up his own gourmet chocolate store.
However, it took some time for him to establish his chocolate to his customers. “We are dealing with people who see Cadbury as chocolate, to change that mentality to gastronomy is really tricky.”
He says the difference between his chocolate and Cadbury’s is his chocolate is an “experience rather than a sugar rush.”
The highlight of his job is creating the chocolate, “Chocolate is one of the best commodities to work with, the smell, to understand the chocolate, it’s so fascinating as a drink and product. It is the moment you start to create work with the chocolate, that’s when you become a chocolatier.”
In terms of inspiration for his new chocolate creations, French creator says: “We taste chocolate from different chocolatiers and we do a thing sometimes when we think “how about this with that?”. We don’t do cliché ones like chilli and chocolate. We do things here differently. I do traditional ones and I do chocolate for the adventurous.”
So what are the future plans for the chocolatier? “I want to keep giving good customer service, providing fantastic chocolate and making sure customers come back again and again and to serve the next generation after that.
“I also plan to work with volcanic chocolate, it is smokier and more interesting. That’s my next adventure from mid-October.”
If you were curious, Pierre’s favourite chocolate out of his store is Vanilla – “it has a very warm spice, very gentle and tight. It has everything about it.”
You can visit Pierre at:
40 Great Western Arcade, B2 5HU
If you can’t visit, you can order chocolate at: http://www.chouchoute.co.uk/