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Record-popping year for East Riding artisan chocolatiers

Record-popping year for East Riding artisan chocolatiers


Santa and his elves were no doubt incredibly busy over the festive season, organising everyone’s gifts, and so were the White Rabbit Chocolatiers team in Beverley.

In fact, the artisan chocolatier, based in Dyer Lane, has enjoyed a record-breaking year and, as a result, has started 2018 with a recruitment drive.

The chocolate café has just celebrated its first anniversary, shop sales have doubled year-on-year and online orders have flowed from across the UK, including from corporate clients such as hotel chain Supercity Aparthotels and a national civil service department.

Master Chocolatier Sally Hawkes and her daughter Amy made an incredible 6,000 handmade truffles per week in the run-up to Christmas to satisfy this demand - twice as many as a year earlier - not to mention popular festive novelties like the 'Polar Pals' polar bear and seal duo and the chocolate coal-filled Santa's Boot.

As a result of all this activity, the business is now looking for up to five new individuals who share their passion for chocolate to come on board and help out in the shop and café.

Business Manager Ed Hawkes said it’s been a bustling festive period: “Our online order book has been full to bursting, and we’ve been fortunate to have a constant stream of customers visiting the shop to choose some seasonal treats or take a bit of time out from the stresses and strains of Christmas shopping at our café.”

The Beverley Festival of Christmas saw thousands of visitors flock to the town’s annual one-day market, with many descending on White Rabbit. Ed added: “It really was a record-popping weekend for us at both the shop and the café. We were rushed off our feet but everyone was still smiling at the end of the day!”

The White Rabbit team pride themselves on crafting imaginative products using only the finest quality ingredients. Ed said: “For the festive season we focused on producing a range of edible presents to suit all ages and budgets. We really enjoyed creating a special selection of hand-made festive-themed goods and it was wonderful to see them literally flying off the shelves.

“The Santa Bunny with its little red hat was a big hit, as were our beautifully decorated baubles, and the shiny Santa Boots with their black sugar-coated lumps of honeycomb coal. The edible spoons and hot chocolate sticks, the Christmas cats and dogs and the packs of Cheeky Chaps all proved really popular. It was great to see people enjoying our innovative creations.”

The menu at the White Rabbit café has also been going down a storm, with the Georgian hot chocolate drink becoming a particular customer favourite over Christmas. Ed added: “The Georgian hot chocolate has a spiced flavour, which is perhaps why it’s popular at this time of year. Our café’s salted caramel brownie remains a big hit too, and rightly so as I do believe it is one of the best in the country.”

Chocolate box orders came in thick and fast in the run up to the big day, with the team having to turn around a mammoth request from a government department for 250 of the 'large' boxes. Ed added: “Our team have been absolutely fantastic and worked their socks off, I’m extremely grateful to them.”

White Rabbit also offers a bespoke corporate team-building service, which naturally involves a lot of chocolate-making fun, and a couple of weeks before Christmas the team welcomed 18 members of staff from the famous York visitor attraction, the Jorvik Viking Centre. Ed said: “We split them into two teams, with each group getting the chance to both create an imaginative batch of treats and enjoy a chocolate party. It’s all great fun, especially as we judge their efforts and present an award to the winning team.”

This year has seen the flourishing business partner with a number of new suppliers who share their commitment to producing high quality, ethical and natural products. This includes milk from Cherry View Farm in Cherry Burton, used in White Rabbit milk chocolate goods and also in the café drinks, and elderflower cordial from Side Oven Bakery, based in Foston-on-the-Wolds, for the elderflower with strawberry truffle.

Looking ahead to 2018, Ed said: “We’ve had a fabulous year, better than we could have ever expected, and I’ve got a great feeling about the next 12 months. The team is brimming with ideas. We’re looking forward to adding to that talent and enthusiasm by taking more staff members on board.

“We’d also like to enter a few more awards and hope to work with more talented local partners.

“Thanks to all our customers and others we’ve worked with for helping to make 2017 such `a success and here’s to an even better 2018!”

Anyone wishing to apply for one of the White Rabbit jobs can pop into the store and hand in their CV and covering note personally, or email them to



Photo: The Hawkes family from left, Ed, Amy and Sally