We are an artisan chocolatier based in Devon on the shores of the beautiful river Dart. Overlooking Dartmouth and out to sea, our U&E kitchen studio is the perfect place to create mouth-watering treats. The setting is truly inspirational and the weather and changing season and scenery influence the style & design of our creations. All of our chocolates are made and painted by hand so that each box is unique and truly exclusive.
Exceptional quality is at the heart of everything we do - sourcing only the finest, freshest ingredients, organic and from Devon wherever possible, to produce truly exceptional chocolates and fudge. We don’t use tempering machines, never add artificial flavours and we never take shortcuts.
I’m often asked if I have a favourite U&E flavour. The answer is ‘yes’. Whilst I love all of our flavours & each recipe has been carefully crafted, one will always have a special place in my heart - espresso fudge!
Every day at Umber and Ecru starts with coffee. Slowly brewed in a Moka pot on the gas hob. It's like a ritual; grinding the beans, tamping down the coffee, turning up the heat and waiting for the rich umber liquid to slowly percolate through. Bliss! And this first pot will be one of several throughout the day to keep me going (I’m not addicted, honest).
In 2018, I was training for an extreme triathlon, and had been pondering how I could get my caffeine fix throughout the event. I’d heard that ‘butter-coffee’ provided steady, long-lasting energy. As fat slows digestion, the caffeine in the butter-coffee is absorbed more slowly. And never a fan of sports energy gels, which in my opinion taste disgusting and seemed to give me an unhelpful rapid hit of sugar, I wondered if the butter in fudge would help control its sugar release too?
That was the eureka moment. I put the two together and created espresso fudge, made with real, fully caffeinated coffee and rich organic butter.
So, did it work? Well, just six minutes shy of the sixteen-hour cut off time, in the stunning French town of Vichy, I crossed the finish line and became a full distance Ironman, fuelled by U&E Espresso Fudge! Umber and Ecru was born.
But my confectionery obsession started long before that. Growing up abroad in the 70s, in the hot climate of Southern Africa, chocolate was not at its finest! But my mum’s home baking was heavenly, especially her Cumbrian fudge and golden rum butter at Christmas. When my grandma would arrive from England to visit there were always exotic confectionery treasures in her handbag - tins with sweets dusted in icing sugar and Cadbury’s dairy milk shared out in tiny pieces.
When I returned to England with my family in the late 80s, I couldn’t believe the array of chocolates on offer. Cream eggs... OMG amazing!
It is fair to say that I have a sweet tooth, but chocolate is my passion. Even our wedding in 2005 was chocolate themed, I made my own chocolate wedding cake, favours were little boxes of handmade chocolates, table names were different chocolates, and my two bridesmaids were dressed in chocolate coloured silk!
But it was about twelve years ago that my chocolate experience went to another level. A friend arrived to stay and brought a stunning box of artisan chocolates. The box took centre stage on the table after dinner, as we selected different flavours, cutting them on a board with a sharp knife into delicious morsels, so we could all savour each flavour. I’ll never forget the tobacco ones that had been created for Heston Blumenthal!
To me less is more, I always advocate quality over quantity. Whether it’s the finest wine, a spectacular cheese, slowly brewed coffee, or outstanding chocolate, taking the time to savour and enjoy each mouthful is key.
We are obsessed with perfection, taking extra care and effort to ensure that each and every chocolate looks absolutely amazing (and tastes even better), before we package them beautifully for a truly luxury experience.