The new Wonka film starring American-French actor Timothée Chalamet has been plastered across bus shelters, billboards and social media for a while now.
There’s no denying that the much-loved fictional character knows how to craft chocolate.
To this day, I pin my sweet tooth down to Roald Dahl. I would have done anything to get my hands on a Wonka Bar after reading the children’s novel for the first time.
But up-and-coming Aberdeen chocolatier Andrew Garden could give the billionaire factory owner a run for his money. Not only can he style chocolate, but hair too.
He may not mix his chocolate by waterfall, but Aberdeen’s Wonka is a force to be reckoned with
“I have been a hairstylist for 30 plus years and have always had an interest in anything creative,” says Andrew, who lives in the Granite City.
The chocolatier started his business, known as Styling Chocolate, earlier this year.
He went on to say: “I decided to learn how to make chocolates to give to clients as a treat at appointments.
“Their response was so positive that I set up my business. So my journey has taken me from styling hair to styling chocolate – hence the business name.”
Andrew works four days a week as a hairstylist at Willowbank salon, on Willowbank Road. During his days off (and nights) he handcrafts chocolates at home.
His wife Claire is in charge of packaging, admin and deliveries.
“She is also [the] official taste tester, which she doesn’t seem to mind!” he adds.
“I did a lot of my own online research to understand what is involved in making good chocolates. I also completed a number of online courses.”
Styling Chocolate: What flavours are available?
The entrepreneur has always been a fan of chocolate, and admitted to “eating a lot of it.”
So, the idea of learning how to make it himself was very appealing.
His flavours include:
- White chocolate with mango and passionfruit, banana gold
- White chocolate with blueberry ganache and popping candy
- Dark chocolate mint
- Milk chocolate salted caramel
- And milk chocolate apple compote and gingerbread ganache, among others.
They change periodically, but a few favourites have stayed with each collection.
Andrew said: “A customer favourite includes the milk chocolate mini teacake – [featuring] homemade strawberry jam, vanilla marshmallow and a biscuit base.
“My personal favourites are milk chocolate blackcurrant caramel and dark raspberry caramel.
“I love coming up with ideas for flavours and then working out the best way to achieve them in a delicious balanced way.”
Handcrafted chocolates ‘that look too good to eat, but should absolutely be eaten’
Not only do the chocolates receive raving reviews for their taste, but their appearance too.
“Making the chocolates delicious is crucial of course but I also want them to look amazing,” Andrew (or as I’ll continue to refer to him as, Aberdeen’s Wonka) went on to say.
“There is most definitely an art involved in creating chocolates that look too good to eat, but absolutely should be eaten…
“The process is tricky and takes a lot of time but I love spending hours doing this and the end result is absolutely worth it.”
An Instagram page was set up for Styling Chocolate in January for the business owner to showcase his range and craft, and spread the word.
Andrew will continue to sell his products through the page and direct to existing customers.
However, he has big plans to look forward to in 2024.
“What I have loved most about running Styling Chocolate is eating the mistakes,” he joked.
“But really, I have enjoyed the great feedback from customers. I have had lots of repeat orders which I am very grateful for.
“And next year, I hope to be present at local maker’s markets.”
Who knows, Andrew may have his own chocolate factory one day…
For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org