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Costa Rica: The Making of a Chocolatier

JK Fine Chocolates

31st August 2017

Founder: Jamie Kemp

Jamie Kemp turned his Costa Rica gap year experiences into a career.

After university, founder of JK Fine Chocolates Jamie Kemp says he “got a bit carried away with chocolate” and soon found himself travelling to Costa Rica to live and work with a native family in Mastatal who own a small chocolate business and cacao plantation. Jamie’s passion for fine, high quality cacao led to him developing a completely new range of ‘Triple Truffles’ and ‘Mini Rustic Truffles’ which celebrates the fine flavours of single origin cocoa and chocolate.

Jamie loved his stay with La Iguana Chocolate in Costa Rica and to this day he remains good friends with the family. He also has the privilege of being one of the only chocolatiers in the world to use their rare cocoa beans in a selection of his chocolates.

As JK Fine Chocolates begins to scale, Jamie also sources a lot of his coverture chocolate and cocoa beans from Madagascar, and he is set to travel there this September to learn more about the Chocolat Madagascar farms. They grow and produce fine quality cocoa and a committed member of ‘Raise Trade’, which supports local communities and the economy.

Jamie is mostly a self-taught chocolatier and he believes this has given him an advantage in innovation as he doesn’t often follow the conventional rules:

“I love creating chocolates and truffles that break the conventions of the chocolate industry. Without formal training as a chocolatier, I’m not constrained by how things have been done in the past and I love taking inspiration from the fine quality cocoa I have in front of me. I simply let the natural flavours and aromas shine through in the finish product.”

For Jamie, starting a successful home business is all about drive, passion and support:

“Without those things I think I might have stopped a long time ago! At the beginning, I found it tricky to feel self-confident, but with hard work and determination, I’ve managed to turn my passion into a viable business that is looking to scale and expand into the luxury deli market.

“Of course, growing a home business isn’t easy, but I wake up and know that I am doing what I love – and that makes it worth it!”

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