Celebrate International Chocolate Week

Throughout the world people have
been celebrating the medicinal, ritual and downright delicious properties of
chocolate.

Doug McPherson of Cayman Taffy told
the Compass that it kicked off officially on Monday, 13 September with International
Chocolate Day – one of three this year – and that chocolatiers were extending
celebrations to a full chocolate week. It has come at a time of year when he
was experimenting with new flavours and preparing to launch into action for the
high tourist season, with a distinctly Caymanian twist, he noted.

“Pretty much everyone who comes
through the door goes out with a bunch of new stuff to try – although nobody
complains about that. The mango caramels we make are a big hit – it grabs a lot
of people’s attention as it’s a local ingredient,” he noted.

Business challenges

As an independent business, it can
be a challenge to attract passing trade, particularly from the cruise ships,
noted the chocolatier. As well as making special truffles and caramels during
chocolate week, Mr. McPherson said that he was planning to build and design new
moulds for chocolate stingrays, which tourists often request alongside the existing
chocolate turtles he makes. The local angle is very popular with tourists, he
added.

“People walk down along the beach
from the Ritz, a two mile hike down, and tell me the only reason they came to
Cayman was to visit the shop – I ask them how they’re going to get the chocolate
back up the beach in the heat,” he said.

Mr. McPherson noted that a major
aspect of surviving and thriving as a business was that clients come year after
year to sample the fare. This was something as true in the chocolate industry
as it was for many other sectors of the tourism industry.

“Although the last two years have
been a little tough economically the repeat business from tourists and locals
has kept things on a level and even up slightly.

“Things like visitors
leaving notes in their condos for the next tourists, giving tips of where to
buy chocolate on the island, help a lot. Word of mouth takes years to build but
is a good foundation,” he said.

LOCALchocSTORY

International Chocolate Day has fans young and old.
Photo: Submitted
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