Chocs away as Sutherland sweet firm expands
A luxury chocolate manufacturer which started up in a small kitchen in a remote part of Scotland has expanded into international markets after reporting soaring sales.
Sutherland-based Cocoa Mountain said it was taking orders from as far away as Canada and New Zealand.
The company expects this year to see turnover more than treble to £1m and its workforce to increase to 25.
Cocoa Mountain is based in the Balnakeil Craft Village, Durness.
Owner Paul Maden completed a professional chocolatier course in Vancouver, Canada, before setting up Cocoa Mountain in 2006 with partner James Findlay.
The company began by selling mainly to visitors to Balnakeil and to their cafe and retail outlet, and last year opened a second outlet in Auchterarder.
Cocoa Mountain has also developed a mail order business and website, with help from Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).
HIE development manager Laura Gunn: "We have been working with Cocoa Mountain since day one and it is really exciting to see them now breaking into international markets.
"To be able to sell their products around the world from one of our most remote areas is just fantastic."
As it seeks to expand, the firm has just recruited a new chocolatier from France and a deputy manager from Canada.
Mr Maden said: "We are now looking at increasing our customer base in Saudi Arabia and Singapore."