Thursday, 28 August 2008


It's your last chance to come and get a piece of the chocolate pie at Covent Garden - only two more days to go...I'm imagining quite a lot more hot chocs than cold chocs today - it's horrif. Makes you want to bolt for somewhere succulent. Good job being in Jimmy is like a little neon dream world.

This weekend we're in Hampshire for Festibelly, a tiny little festival that we're very excited about. Then comes Bestival where the Choc Star team has decided to contort the '20,000 Freaks Under The Sea' theme and git real freaky. Watch out!

Phoebe's wedding in the 'burbs

My cousin Phoebe got married to her long term boyfriend, Dom, at the weekend. He's a massive chocolate fan and has been a big advocate of the Choc Star cause since the beginning. They insisted that only the choc-mobile would do as dessert. Knowing how our family is I suggested also laying on a large supply of chocolate martini shots - they really got things jumping. Everyone kept insisting that I let the waiters run the show so I could enjoy the party but there was no way I was going to let that bunch of pubescents loose in Jimmy - I enlisted the help of Belli and Bendy inside and had Beps set up a bar on Gennie from the Box out back. Before long the marquee was depleted and the van was fairly rocking with ever the Choc Star magic did the trick and I actually kinda liked having access to all the backstage gossip with the caterers.

Thursday, 14 August 2008

Covent Garden Night Market

It's a beautiful morning - rain is predicted but our milkshakes are protected by domed lids and the white chocolate and macademia nut cookies are in little wet weather bags, so come and knock yerselves out!

We'll be on the west side of the Piazza from midday-10pm, spinning out the old Choc Star charm (and some nice edibles too) and will be making it our home every Thursday and Friday during August.

See you in the Garden.

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

Big Chill

Camp Bestival

A nice mellow festival, beautiful weather, lots of customers - all you need really to succeed...but somehow it doesn't always work like this so this was a nice surprise. I met this author called Henry Hemming who's written two books that strike a chord with me. I tracked him down backstage and drilled him for info on getting published. Thick skin is the key, that and terrier like determination - the writing skill doesn't get a look in without these. I'm off to develop tougher skin...

99 Red Balloons

It's one of my favourite ever pop songs, along with I Want To Break Free and Love is a Stranger (Eurythmics) and I hope to jiminy that I can enjoy it in some way this weekend at the Bristol Balloon Fiesta. I have no idea what to expect - it's not like other festivals where you sort of know your audience but there are half a million of them over the four days so surely some will come knocking for some choc?!

So I'm giving myself a hard time because there's been nothing happening here for ages. But honestly, there's no frickin' time. I put the tour on pause about a month ago in order to do a few private gigs and get into the festival spirit and now it's August. Last weekend was Big Chill and Standon Calling, before that Camp Bestival and Lovebox and before that my most favourite ever (bit like the pop songs but better) - this mesmerising set-up in Norfolk which I'm not allowed to name, what I can say though is that it managed to mimic the effects of phenylethylamine in chocolate and reproduce the feeling of falling in love. We came away from that weekend with our hearts bursting. Christ, it sounds so bloody cheesy but straight up, this festival gave us what a festival should give and all the extra-curricular BS didn't turn up once.

For a start I was able to amble over there, cross-country from my mum's house, which was a great way to arrive. Then we got set up and the shennanigans began - all sorts of people carousing. Big smiles, no dodgy London-in-wellies posturing, all bound up in a mutual trust that everyone is on the same page as far as having a damn good time is concerned. It actually reminded me a bit of raving BITD in that blissed-out, ego-shed, almost innocent way. Last weekend was more of a contrast at the Big Chill. Don't get me wrong, it's a nice festival in many ways but from a trader's point of view the cynicism just reaked.

So here's the thing, a culture of rack it and stack it prevails amongst the food traders. Churn that low-grade food out, give it a nice name with an exotic twist and then jack up the price. Call it Organic (even if it isn't), call it Vegetarian (and then cook in lard), bang on about Farm-Reared then hop off to Bookers for 40 to a pack of frozen value burgers when the stocks run out. That's how you make money at festivals. But if you are trying to do something well then you can sit and spin - plenty of others waiting in the wings if you can't stump up the exorbitant pitch fee. It's no different really to the high street but it just tries to make out that it's not like the real world, which is why it stinks so bad.

Anyway, I'll get some pics of these shindigs up soon - and some more suppers too. And I need to start getting the next phase of the tour off the ground...I'm thinking of taking it to lands afar. Imagine!?