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Food: The Newmarket chocolatier making edible art

When work dried up due to the pandemic, A-list chef Louis Beckett decided to realise a long-held dream: launching his own chocolate brand

Formerly head pastry chef for Urban Caprice - the catering arm of the brand behind A-list haunts The Ivy, Scott’s and Annabel’s - Louis Beckett returned from a trip to Australia last year to find the hospitality industry decimated by Covid. Having “a need to keep busy - and make a living”, he decided to realise a long-held dream: starting his own chocolate business.

Selling exquisite bonbons, bars and barks, all as artfully decorated as they are skillfully flavoured, Xocolat by Louis Beckett is currently based in the kitchen of Fordham’s White Pheasant and is selling via webshop, social media and Newmarket deli/cafe The Pantry.

“This was something I had wanted to do for a number of years but always had an excuse not to. Due to the pandemic, there was no longer any excuse - it just seemed like the perfect time to just do it and give it a real go,” says Louis, whose passion for chocolate was ignited during his three years at Cambridge’s Michelin starred Alimentum, where he was pastry sous.

“Let’s be honest, a love for chocolate starts with basically everyone at a very young age,” he continues. “But professionally my love for chocolate making 100% started at Alimentum. The early days were very messy. . . chocolate everywhere, to the point that the kitchen needed a deep clean before evening service could take place!”

Stints working with Alyn Williams at London’s Westbury, also Michelin starred, and East Anglia’s Chestnut Group, which includes The Northgate in Bury and The Rupert Brooke in Grantchester, built up to the job with Urban Caprice, which saw Louis “really pushed to the limits in terms of my creativity” and cater events at the Tower of London, Natural History Museum and Windsor Castle.

The Assorted Bonbons, priced from £8.50 for six, currently include tonka bean cheesecake and lemon meringue and change flavours every few weeks. Filled bars (£6 each) come in white chocolate and hazelnut praline, biscoff and cookies and cream, while barks (also £6) are available in dark pistachio and sour cherry dark, dark cranberry orange and walnut and white raspberry and California almond.

With their expertly tempered shine and artful cocoa butter decoration, Louis says his aim is to “create chocolate nobody has ever seen before” and “a taste sensation that generic shop-bought chocolates just simply can’t give you, whether this is through flavour combinations you’ve never tried, like passion fruit and olive oil, or by elevating familiar flavours like cookies and cream to a whole new level.”

Made to order for a Wednesday dispatch via Royal Mail, in time for weekend delivery, the full Xocolat by Louis Beckett range can been browsed and bought at xocolatbylouisbeckett.co.uk

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