Our series of photographic portraits by Charlotte Stone shows Bristol people at work

This Christmas, we re-visit Zara’s Chocolates in Bedminster.

This small Bristol-born company was created from a love of all things chocolate. Started in 2011, it is now based from a shop on North Street, Southville, which it has shared with local florist Ivory Flowers since November 2013.

In the shop you can watch Zara and the team hand-making all the delicious chocolates for sale, and even try a few… “I studied through the Ecole Chocolat Professional Chocolatier Programme,” says Zara, “and enjoyed learning about the history of chocolate, how to work with it, and experimenting with different flavours.

Zara's-Chocolates-002“Since starting the company, the team and I have delivered demonstrations and tasting events, hosted indulgent chocolate-making parties, and produced beautiful wedding favours and corporate chocolates to order. More recently, we were awarded best local confectioner at the Bristol Good Food Awards 2014, which has spurred me on to further establish our presence within the city’s food scene.

“There are no unnecessary ingredients added to the chocolates, and we make sure they are all of the highest quality and ethically sourced. All our creations are gluten-free, and there is also a good range of dairy-free chocolates available. I also play close attention to detail the presentation of our products, as that adds to the taste and keeps customers coming back for more!

“Customers visiting the shop will always find it full of our trademark chocolate teacups, which is one of the first products I started making. There is also a wide variety of bars, chocolate bites, and a whole host of treats in-between. For that personal touch, glass domes full of freshly made truffles are also available so customers can pick and choose their own boxed selections.

“Alongside the main range, we love creating seasonal chocolates to suit the festival or time of year. Our Valentines Day range included chocolate lace-effect hearts filled with our best-selling sea salted caramel and were encased in crisp, gold-dusted shells, and an indulgent selection of truffles ranged from hedonistic champagne with a raspberry sugar dusting, to soft, creamy hazelnut pralines, and even passionfruit and raspberry truffles.

Zara’s chocolates can also be found in a range of independent shops and delis around the region. For more information tel: 0117 953 3892 or visit: www.zaraschocolates.co.uk