Angela creates new gourmet flavours for chocolate enterprise
Talented baker Angela Patterson used furlough from her successful career in retail management to create delicious artisan foods which proved extremely popular with visitors to last week’s Balmoral Show.
Angela, who lives with husband Adrian, a graphic designer, near Ballymena, set up Gold and Browne’s gourmet brownies in April and introduced her range of luxury, home baked treats at the popular event, a highlight of the local food calendar.
“Balmoral was a marvellous occasion which produced enthusiastic feedback from people who sampled my brownies,” Angela, a graduate in Hospitality and Tourism from Ulster University who also studied at the former Catering College in Portrush, says.
“I was part of the Mid and East Antrim Council’s presentation at the show, my first as an exhibitor. I enjoyed the experience, learning from fellow traders and from the craic with shoppers. Mid and East Antrim, furthermore, has been very supportive of my small business since I started it.”
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Furlough, Angela continues, led her to review her career and future: “Running my own business is something I’ve always wanted to do. Adrian was very supportive and encouraged me to ‘go for it’. I subsequently decided to develop my love of baking and approached Mid and East Antrim Council for advice and support in areas such as running a small bakery and in marketing.”
She was also encouraged to commercialise her rich brownie recipes by family and friends who loved the products she handcrafts in her kitchen. So, in early 2021, “after a coffee and brownie fuelled afternoon chat around the kitchen table, a huge leap of faith was taken and hey presto ‘Gold & Browne’s Gourmet Brownies’ was born,” she says.
Angela then completed the local council’s ‘Go for it’ small business start-up programme: “The programme was very beneficial. While I had extensive management experience from my career in retail, there were many other areas in which I needed guidance,” she adds. “The programme gave me the confidence to push ahead with baking luxury brownies. I started developing the business in terms of recipes, branding and marketing especially my plan to sell online. Adrian was the driving force in creating a really attractive branding, high-end packaging, the website and social media campaign for the products.”
Angela describes her handmade foods as “truly artisan brownies which are gooey, fudgy, indulgent and made with love from the finest Belgian chocolate and natural ingredients to be the very best they can be”.
The delicious brownies, she continues, “are also made using gluten-free ingredients to create an awesome chocolatey taste”. Only the best gluten-free ingredients are used and the brownies are certified by the local environmental health office as being gluten- free.
Angela sources all of the ingredients herself, from the finest Belgian chocolate, gluten-free flour to the locally produced free-range eggs and butter. She lovingly mixes, bakes and creates each and every single brownie.
“As our brownies are homemade and hand cut they won’t be perfectly square, flat and most definitely not all the same size,” explains Angela. “Our generously sized brownies have character, bumpy edges and are packed full of that glorious chocolatey flavour expected from a genuine brownie. After all, it’s all about the taste.”
She continues: “The brownies are made using 100 percent sustainable chocolate and contain only natural ingredients, with no artificial flavours or preservatives. There’s an intense chocolate flavour, achieved through high cocoa content Belgian chocolate imported from a major supplier in Scotland. We’ve deliberately left our existing four-strong range of brownies ‘naked’ and undecorated to let the true chocolate taste speak for itself.”
The success of the company’s launch and especially feedback on the brownies led Angela recently to give up her job and to focus all her energy and enthusiasm on the fledgling enterprise.
Encouraged by the Balmoral experience, Angela and Adrian are now focused on marketing the brownies throughout the country: “I’ve also taken part in the popular speciality food market run by Taste Causeway in Ballycastle and there are other markets in the area, especially Coleraine, that I’d be keen to join, because they are a great and low cost way to create awareness of original products and how they can be accessed, for instance, through our letterbox brownie delivery service.”
They’ve also developed stylish gift boxes which emphasise the luxury of the products and enable people to order online freshly baked brownies for birthdays, weddings other special occasions and as corporate gifts.
Another potentially important development is the company’s interesting collaboration with Aaron Heasley of Moon Gelato in Moira on a unique dessert sandwich product.
Brownies have also been provided as a welcome gift for glampers at Glenarm Castle.
“It’s all been quite a learning curve,” Angela adds, “we’ve made good progress to date but there are other opportunities that we’ve identified in short and long-terms,” she adds.
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