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Tag Archives: Hazel Mountain Chocolate

Festival to showcase Burren chocolate factory

The world’s smallest and most remote bean-to-bar chocolate factory, based in North Clare, will be showcased at the first annual Bite Food Festival in the RDS from November 19-22. Hazel Mountain Chocolate will be one of the country’s top artisan producers showcased at the major new food festival, which is expected to attract over 20,000 Irish food and drink lovers. Based on a small farm near the Burren, the internationally award-winning factory is about to expand its products into Scandinavia, where their seaweed chocolate has already become a huge hit. Their success story started just four years ago when John Connolly and his Polish-born chocolatier wife Kashia decided to learn how to become chocolate makers. “We use uniquely-flavoured cocoa beans from Madagascar, Cuba, Costa Rica and Venezuela and ensure we get them direct trade from small farms in each country,” said John. “Our dark chocolate is made from just two ingredients, cocoa beans and unrefined cane sugar. “It takes about …

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Coverage blackout costing businesses

Tourism businesses are losing “invaluable” free publicity because of the poor phone and broadband coverage in the county. According to John Connolly of Hazel Mountain Chocolate, “Social media can generate such momentum behind a business” and poor internet access prohibits people from “advertising your business for free”. Mr Connolly added that, for many businesses, strong broadband is necessary from a basic operational level. “We have had every provider in the country come to us and no one was able to offer us guaranteed internet. We ended up using satellite broadband, which is just fast enough for the visa machine, if you stand in the right place in room. Last year we went to a cocoa plantation in Costa Rica; they had broadband and phone coverage and they didn’t even have a flushing toilet,” he said. The phone coverage is so bad in some parts of the county that a local priest asked one mobile operator if erecting a mast on …

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