Artisan chocolatier Geri Martin is planning to create Northern Ireland’s first visitor experience centre designed to showcase all aspects of chocolate. The unique centre will feature a workshop space for education and tastings. It’s also intended to be an attractive venue for schools and groups of all kinds to gather, to learn and to experience chocolate making and tasting.
Based at Coleraine in county Derry, Geri currently owns Chocolate Manor and is a producer of indulgent, delicious, creative and personalised chocolate as well as bespoke chocolate experiences. Geri plans to locate the planned centre in the Causeway Coast and Glens area. She’s a member of the Taste Causeway Collaborative Growth Network which involves artisan and smaller food producers there.
Geri, a mum of two, is passionate about quality chocolate production and has just launched a crowdfunding ‘ChoccyDream Maker’ campaign to raise £5,000 towards the costs of the planned visitor centre which has been influenced by the success of the existing small business and the growing interest in chocolate throughout the area. All her chocolates are produced by hand.
“Our range of delicious handcrafted creations allow our customers to delight and impress theirs, and I recently began to employ local staff to help us grow the business even further.
“I also share my enthusiasm and love of chocolate through interactive, educational and indulgent chocolate experiences, including making sessions and tastings for individuals and groups of all ages and sizes.
“We have launched this funding project to help us share our love of chocolate with even more people. We have outgrown our current production space and we dream of having our very own Chocolate Manor venue, that will not only allow us to continue to make our very popular products, but also to welcome visitors who want to learn about, make, taste and experience everything chocolate has to offer,” adds Geri
She has already identified the “perfect location” and is seeking funding to transform it into the space she envisages into a visitor centre in 2020.
“We’ve created a range of special treats for those who contribute to making this dream a reality, creating Northern Ireland’s first chocolate workshop and visitor experience centre,” Geri says.