Fox fans in deliciously sweet venture


One couple has turned their love for foxes and chocolate into a delicious business.

Cilla Bertram and John Waller, of Alexandra, had always enjoyed chocolate but discovered something special about fine chocolate when they worked overseas.

In 2015 both Miss Bertram and Mr Waller visited a remote chocolate shop in Ireland.

Mr Waller said it was their first time chocolate tasting.

“It was like wine tasting, but chocolate, and the flavours were amazing,” he said.

Miss Bertram said the experience inspired them to make their own chocolate.

“We got back to the car and decided we would make chocolate.”

The pair then began making chocolate for friends and family.

“It was good for us to practise and get feedback . . . what’s the point in making chocolate that’s not delicious?” Miss Bertram said.

They returned to New Zealand in November last year and started The Chocolate Fox in Central Otago and sold products at their first market in December.

Miss Bertram said the business name came from the foxes that they often saw in the streets of London when they first started making their chocolates.

“The locals didn’t like them [foxes] but, we thought they were pretty cute.”

All the chocolates were made by hand in small batches by Miss Bertram and with the help of Mr Waller who worked as an accountant.

They used fine Belgian chocolate, often mixed with Central Otago produce, to create truffles, bonbons and chocolate bars.

Miss Bertram said she enjoyed “matching local flavours with chocolate”.

As of last Saturday The Chocolate Fox products are now available from Guild in Dunedin.

The pair were very excited to have an opportunity to sell their products in a shop, as they previously just sold them at markets.

Mr Waller said there was a big difference between fine chocolate and standard chocolate.

“It’s like wine and coffee.”

“We enjoy matching chocolate with flavours . . . you see and taste them coming through. You can do amazing things,” Mr Waller said.

This was the first time they had run a business and Miss Bertram said they ended up doing a lot that wasn’t making chocolate.

She said one of their challenges about bringing their chocolates into a store was having to include all nutritional information, as this wasn’t necessary when selling at markets.

“It was a bit tricky . . . but now people know exactly what is in their chocolate,” Miss Bertram said.

The pair agreed they were just taking their business one bite at a time, but hoped bringing their chocolates to Dunedin would be the start of something.