Sheffield chocolate festival set to bring 50 stalls and specialist makers to city - here is just one of them

There’ll be a truly international flavour at the Roundabout Yorkshire Chocolate Festival at Sheffield’s Kelham Island Museum this weekend.

By The Newsroom
Monday, 18th October 2021, 6:00 am
John Cowings.
John Cowings.

For chocolatier John Cowings brings in beans from around the globe to create the distinctive chocolate tastes of his Derbyshire micro business Cacoa Elora.

And he will be sharing some of his trade secrets and his favourite creations at the October 24 festival, presented by South Yorkshire youth homelessness charity Roundabout.

It’s a day of live music, workshops and more than 50 stalls featuring all things chocolate - everything from from brownies and doughnuts to hot chocolate and beer as well as a selection of non-edible chocolate themed gifts.

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Distinctive chocolate.

Working from his home, John - a diversity officer - imports beans from as far afield as Uganda, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Indonesia, Ecuador, Papua New Guinea and North West Honduras.

“This is a real bean to bar business, starting with the cocoa bean and going through the complete process”, said John.

“I’ve been making chocolate products since 2014 and at first I worked with chocolate made by other suppliers but then I discovered that I could do the whole thing myself on a small scale.

“I source the beans from countries all around the world - different places produce different beans and different tastes and it’s those differences that you try to bring out in the production process.

“The beans are not produced by big companies but are grown by people who are perhaps working in cooperatives.

“When the beans arrive at my home, I then start the who process of drying them, seeking out imperfections - you have to go through them by hand - and then I have to roast them to bring out the distinctive flavours and also loosen the shell.

“The result of all those processes is the cocoa nibs and from them you make chocolate that is as pure as possible.”

John sells his chocolate bars online and at fairs and at the chocolate festival he will also be offering an afternoon tasting session with samples. And one of the questions he anticipates he will be asked is how much he enjoys chocolate himself now...

He said: “Of course I enjoy chocolate but people think I must be eating it all the time but of course you don’t!”

For festival tickets visit