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Chocolate factory to open on Mull

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Move over Willy Wonka – they’re planning a a chocolate factory on Mull.

If planning permission is approved, the factory and retail outlet would be the first thing to greet visitors as they step off the ferry at Craignure.

Behind the proposal are the owners of Arlene’s Cafe in Craignure, Arlene and Ishbel Robbie.

The application lodged with Argyll and Bute Council seeks to build the factory on land north west of the tourist information centre.

Arlene’s Cafe currently offers customers its own range of Belgian chocolate, which is made on site.

However, space is tight and they initially had plans to build a shed somewhere to made the chocolate. When the prime site in Craignure became available, they decided to think bigger.

Arlene Robbie said: “We sell a lot of chocolate in the cafe. It is getting to the stage we need more space to make it.

“If we get planning permission we hope to open the new factory next summer, when we will be re-branding our chocolate. We have recently done a bean to bar course so we will be introducing the new type of chocolate made from the bean.”

The cafe has been open for six years and they have been making their own chocolate for four years.

Mrs Robbie added: “It’s very popular. Chocolate is something that everyone likes.”

They currently sell bars, mixed bags and handmade chocolates. At Christmas time they are a popular feature at all of the local festive markets.

Tobermory Chocolate, a separate venture which sells hand-crafted chocolates in the main town of Tobermory, is run by Keith and Rhoda Drake. It has been in operation since 1991.

Mull is well known for its local produce, with its own distillery, dairy, biscuit factory, slaughterhouse and fish smokery.

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