News & Offers
I have had an idea which I hope you will enjoy. I have talked to you in the past about our wrapping machine, christened PEARL. An eye wateringly expensive piece of equipment, we were all terrified when I made the commitment to buy her three years ago. However, it turned out to be the best decision ever. During lockdown, having PEARL was the only way Deets and I could keep the business going as we would never have been able to hand wrap the pies as well as make and dispatch them.
However, PEARL does have a darker side. She will run perfectly for hours on end and then without any warning, she has a complete fit and the pies start coming out with untidy, scrunched up wrapping. She is completely random in her choice of flavours to muck up, her bad behaviour is a complete mystery to us and the lovely engineer to visits us from time to time. I have tried shouting at her (before you say anything, I agree that talking to an inanimate object is not a good sign). In the past, it was not a problem, we simply opened up the bars, chopped them into sample pieces and sent them out with wholesale orders but, of course, sampling is not allowed at the moment. So, we are going to give them to you.
With every order from now until next Sunday, I will send you a FREE “Wonky Pie”. The pies themselves are perfect, it just that the wrapping is untidy. Of course, we could remove the packaging and put them through PEARL again but wrapping them twice does not feel environmentally friendly. On the subject of the Planet, I am absolutely desperate to stop sending out the pies in poly boxes but I just cannot find an alternative which is not drastically and prohibitively expensive. I have tried sheep’s wool and various sorts of bio-degradable plastic pouches but they cost a fortune. I have scoured the internet but without success. If you have any ideas, I would be so grateful to hear from you.
The “Wonky Pies” are displayed on George the cactus who is a story in himself for another time.
Please take great care,
The dogs and I love Trencrom Woods, which lie at the base of the Hill on the far side from the Raw Chocolate Pie kitchen. The dogs’ enthusiasm for the woods can be summed up in a single word – squirrels. They run in mad, fruitless circles watched on, I am sure, with much amusement by the squirrels. They are hopeless hunters, thankfully. I love the woods because they are so peaceful, despite the squirrel hunting, a perfect place to be before the start of another mad day. There is something very reassuring about trees.
Autumn coming to Trencrom Woods
In Spring, the floor of the woods is covered in bluebells, in Summer the leaves are so dense, they turn it into a ‘deep, dark wood’ with hardly a glimpse of the sky. Now, in Autumn the floor is carpeted in leaves and we can see the sky again.
By the time I got back from our walk yesterday evening, it was virtually dark and very cold and this gave me the idea of a FIRESIDE COMPANIONS PACK. A cup of hot raw chocolate and a chilli pie seemed the perfect answer, so here it is:
FREE “Fireside Companions” Pack
WITH EVERY ORDER PLACED BETWEEN NOW AND NEXT SUNDAY YOU WILL RECEIVE A FREE “FIRESIDE COMPANIONS” PACK and believe me, they really are perfect companions – I know because I have tried (more than once)!
Grim times are here again but remember chocolate, particularly raw chocolate, lifts the spirits and boosts energy and like trees, it is very comforting.
Please stay safe,
There is a lot to get through this week. Firstly, for the second week running, there will be two free pies sent out with every order, regardless of the size of your order – this time Goji & Pumpkin Seed and Nut.
These two pies are free with every order placed between now until next Sunday, 11th.
There is a reason for this, I need your help. Once again, I want to introduce a new product suggested by you. Many of you have asked for a top quality bag of mixed nuts and dried fruit. I have regularly in stock organic mixed nuts (NO peanuts, not even a trace), goji berries and cranberries dried in apple juice (no extra sugar). So, what else would you like to see in the bag? I have to admit, I am offering the two free pies as a sort of bribe to hopefully persuade you send me an email with your ideas. You know I am always very grateful for your views.
Talking of fruit, last Tuesday, 29th September, was Michaelmas Day. It celebrates the day St Michael threw the Devil down to hell and he landed on a prickly blackberry bush. Whether it was due to the prickles being very sore or simply the indignity of it all, Satan flew into a tantrum. He cursed the fruit, stamped and spat on it and even scorched it with his fiery breath. This is why you must never pick blackberries after 29th September for fear they may be devilishly contaminated. You have been warned!
The statue in the chapel on St Michael's Mount, showing St Michael casting out the Devil.
St Michael is very close to the hearts of those of us lucky enough to live around here. The reason, of course, is the proximity of St Michael's Mount, which is very much on display from the top of Trencrom Hill and much loved by us all. At dawn, seen from the top of the Hill, The Mount is backlit by the rising sun. It looks totally marvellous but quite unreal, like an illustration from a child's story book.
YOU WIN! I said last week would have to be the last one until nearer Christmas when we put in your orders samples of flavours you may not have tried. I have had so many lovely emails about this, I felt I had to do it for one more week. Thank you for your kind words.
PS The Raw Hot Choc Bomb is going down a storm. I can take no credit for this, it was your idea.
Our top selling pie is Pink Himalayan Salt, in fact sales have always been massively ahead of all the other flavours. As well as being a pie in its own right, Pink Himalayan Salt also puts in an appearance in the Peanut Combo Pie, which is half Peanut Butter Fudge and half Pink Himalayan Salt.
It has been a pretty miserable week for all of us, one way and another, so Deets and I thought it would be good to offer you a cheering gift since you are so very kind to us.
Pink Himalayan Salt and Peanut Combo free with every order for just one week.
So, for one week from today, with every order you place, regardless of its value, you will receive the above two pies, worth £5, absolutely free of charge. Remember, though, if you spend £20, postage and packing is free too! Also, with every order you will continue to receive samples of flavours you may not have tried but I am going to have to stop this offer next week until nearer Christmas.
What an extraordinary little island we live in. At the beginning of the week we had all the doors and windows open, I had to put chill packs in the chocolate parcels I sent out and the dogs needed a hose down after their walk because they were so hot.
Lupin is very pleased to have the log burner going again. That is supposed to be my chair.
By last night, I had to light the log burner because it was so cold – we don’t run to central heating. As you can see, Lupin my lurcher absolutely hated the idea! The Brits always get accused of being obsessed by the weather – small wonder. A friend of mine from Oxford visited Cornwall for the first time last Autumn. Being a very thin strip of land between two coasts does make West Cornwall a trifle volatile. After a day down here she said – “It’s extraordinary, you have all four seasons in a single day”. I couldn’t disagree.
Please take care.
Deets leads a double life. Entirely unaided, she makes approximately 3,000 Raw Chocolate Pie and Raw Fudge per week. No small achievement in itself but when an ear splitting alarm goes off on her phone, she drops everything, races to her car and becomes a coastguard.
From when she was very small, she has been an outdoor girl. Those of you who remember Halzephron Herb Farm might also remember Deets, always out on the headland playing with the ponies, goats, sheep, hens and ducks we kept in our small animal farm. Like many of the young people who live in St Ives, she trained in catering, first at Blas Burgerworks and then Halsetown Inn before joining me and taking over production. She is very good at her job and loves it but ask who she really is and I think first and last being a coastguard is enormously important to her.
Deets the coastguard
Of course, she always gets a call when we are at our most busy, shouting at me to take over as she rushes past. She also maintains that if she plans an early night, no sooner has she got into her pyjamas and made a cup of tea than off goes the alarm! When she returns from a call out, I am always very relieved to see her back in one piece and, as you can imagine, I am enormously proud of her.
This week with every order placed, you will be getting loads of free stuff. You will receive a sample of the Raw Hot Choc Bomb I mentioned last week, also made by Deets in her spare time!
A free Raw Hot Choc Bomb with every order
And also samples of flavours of Raw Chocolate and Raw Fudge which you may not have already tried.
Have a good week, stay safe.
I am really spoilt for choice with the marvellous ideas you sent me a couple of weeks ago. What I am going to try to do is to make up samples of various of your suggestions and send them out to you when you place an order.
Overwhelmingly, what many of you requested was a raw hot chocolate so that is where I have started. With every order placed in the coming week, I will send out a free sample of a proposed RAW HOT CHOC BOMB with full instructions. We have tried it with various milks. It is great with cow's milk but Deets and my favourite is putting the Bomb into oat milk. For children, almond milk is good as it is sweeter without the need for sugar.
Bertie checking out the Raw Hot Choc Bomb
Bertie may need little introduction to many of you. He is our very favourite and very best professional model. He first modelled for us in an O2 promotion for Easter 2018. The location for the shoot was the sand dunes above Porth Kidney Beach. It was blowing a minor but spiteful gale, spitting with rain, freezing, Bertie had just had a long day at school and he was only three. The light was awful so it was not a quick process but through it all Bertie smiled and remained jolly and positive while the rest of us were miserable and shivering! He is complete star and as you can see he loves the proposed RAW HOT CHOC BOMB!
So, it is your turn now – please let me know what you think of the Bomb and if you like it, I will have a double pack for sale on the website by next weekend.
I am continuing with the free samples with every order of flavours you may not have tried. You have given me some lovely feedback on this. By sending you samples and involving you in the decisions as to what we should be selling, I hope we are creating the nearest we can get to the shop experience and hopefully a real feeling of customer involvement. With just Deets and me running the business at the moment, it is so helpful to have you looking at the range with a fresh pair of eyes, so thank you for all your help.
Please take the greatest care,
PS The St Ives mug Bertie used for his raw hot chocolate came from his mum's and aunts' shop – website www.thestivesco.co.uk
Firstly, a really big thank you for your wonderful response to my request for help in deciding on new products. I received over 300 emails, and I will reply to each and every one of you. I really am most grateful for your suggestions, advice and some really fabulous ideas. Deets will draw the winner out of the hat tomorrow.
The reason I haven't replied to your emails before is that on Monday I had a lovely surprise. The last few months have been hard for all of us and Deets and I are very aware of how lucky we are, not only to have a job but also one which we love. It has been hard work, though – 7 days a week. On Monday, my elder daughter, Lucy, her husband and my three grandchildren arrived at Chycoggan and swept me off to the Scilly Isles for a surprise 3 day break. It was totally magic. We walked, we swam, we talked and slept. We stayed on Bryher which was delightfully quiet - it pleased me as I am in danger of becoming something of a recluse!
Grandchildren Lily, Fred and Isobel on Bryher
Spending time with my grandchildren, having seen so little of them in recent months, was particularly special. Lily has been a brilliant helper at food festivals in the past – heaven knows when we will be able to do that again but she is determined to start selling Raw Chocolate Pie again soon. It was great to also have time to stop and think and with all your many ideas to work through, I am now raring to go!
Everyone does seem to be enjoying the little samples we are putting in each order so I will continue with that and the 10% discount for as long as I can.
Red Squirrels on Tresco.
Sorry, this is totally random, but I had never seen a red squirrel before so I thought I would share this photograph with you.
I have probably driven you mad since the beginning of March regaling you with stories about my children, dogs, house martins, Trencrom Hill, jelly, swimming and even my Grandmother. Sorry! Today, I want to ask for your help.
I want to increase the range of what we offer on our website and I would be so grateful if you could give me your ideas as to what you would like to see there. As far as I am concerned, it does not have to be all about chocolate – though any ideas for raw chocolate products would be good. However, everything on the site does have to be vegan and health giving. No Junk! Could you email me with your ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org and the winner will receive a year’s supply of Raw Chocolate Pie (52 bars).
I can’t choose the winner by selecting the best idea because some of you may make the same suggestions. So, I am going to put the names of everyone who has emailed their ideas into a hat and ask Deets to pick one at random. The prize winner can choose the flavours and I can send your prize out monthly, quarterly or all in one go – whichever you prefer.
It’s a bit of fun, yes, but there is a serious intent behind it. I need to try and build the business back to where it was before the virus and I want to do it by offering a good range of healthy food products. Raw Chocolate is a fabulous anti-oxidant, energy boost and brain food and I want to build on that too. Perhaps we should be offering more superfoods, herbal medicines, health drinks, maybe I should develop our own raw chocolate smoothie mix – I would be so grateful for your ideas.
The free samples of flavours you may not have tried will continue to be included in every order and the 10% discount continues too.
My father's mother, Granny Ada to me, was a thief on a massive scale! She had green fingers and could grow anything and everything. Wherever she went, she kept in an extremely large handbag a little velvet drawstring purse. Inside was a tiny pair of scissors with mother of pearl handles. These where the tools of her trade, she took tiny cuttings of every plant which interested her, and most did. I remember a day out with her at Kew Gardens, you can imagine what went on. I was old enough to be very embarrassed and frightened she would get caught. She didn't, of course, she never did, she was a pro.
Granny Ada with a pigeon friend.
Granny Ada grew up in Blakeney, on the North Norfolk coast. Her father, Giles, was a sea captain, regularly crossing the Atlantic. When Giles was a little boy, he and his father rode together to Burnham Thorpe, a nearby village. They joined the villagers, Giles was lifted onto his father's shoulders and they watched Admiral Lord Nelson leave his home for what turned out to be the last time, his destination - Trafalgar. So, I knew someone, who knew someone, who waved Nelson off to Trafalgar. It is interesting how, through a family tree, great events in history seem so close.
Sorry, I have drifted off the point, which is that every time we met, Granny Ada gave me a box of fudge, which I absolutely hated - too sweet, too cloying and I didn't like the texture. Luckily, Granny Ada did and so used to eat most of the box. However, when it was suggested to me that as a Cornish business, we should really be producing a vegan, gluten free fudge, I was sufficiently scarred that at first I resisted. However, the temptation became overwhelming to try and produce a fudge which was not only a dairy free, gluten free, with no added refined sugar but also one which I would actually like. It was not easy, particularly as the added requirement was to use raw ingredients. We got there in the end, I really like it and now our sales of Raw Fudge rival Raw Chocolate Pie.
So, in honour of those of you who, like me, are not natural fudge eaters, I am including a free Raw Combo Pie with every order from now until Sunday next, 16th August.
Raw Combo Pie is half Naked Raw Chocolate and half Raw Vanilla Fudge, so I am easing you in gently to fudge eating! If you would prefer your free pie to be Peanut Combo, just say so under "instructions" on the order form.
Free samples of flavours you may not have tried will continue with every order and I am hanging on to the 10% discount for the time being.
I should really have named one of our fudges after Granny Ada. Maybe I will.
I feel confident in saying that I think those of you who have been involved in the running of a small business will agree that it is not easy! Of course, it is absorbing, stimulating, exciting and often fun but interspersing all that are serious dollops of terror.
My most terrifying Raw Chocolate Pie decision was the purchase four years ago of “Pearl”, our wrapping machine. Pearl (so named because she is completely precious) was eye wateringly expensive, as was the wrapping material needed to wrap our 10 varieties of Raw Chocolate and 6 Raw Fudges.
Deets and I travelled to Leeds to find the right machine and see it in operation wrapping our pies. It looked so easy on the factory floor of the manufacturers. The first hurdle was actually getting Pearl into the shed we had built for her. Our farmer neighbour lifted her over the fence on a forklift, I couldn’t look!
The arrival of Pearl
None of us had ever operated machinery of this sort before and there was a great deal of trial, error and bad language in order to get Pearl set up. Now however, four years on almost to the day, Pearl has saved us. By restricting our products to largely machine wrapped, Deets and I have been able to keep the business going. Hand wrapping by the best wrappers clocks up 100 pies an hour, Pearl does 60 pies a minute.
The very first Raw Chocolate Pie I made was NUT. You will see below how I started wrapping the pie and how Pearl does it now. Quite a contrast!
To celebrate Pearl’s 4th birthday, for one week from today, I will include a free Nut Pie with every order as well as samples of pies you may not have tried and 10% discount continues.
I have made plenty of stupid decisions in my working life but Pearl wasn’t one of them.