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Meet the Makers: Sandra Colamartino from Quirky Chocolate

Meet the Maker: Quirky Chocolate


One speaker: Sandra Colamartino

My name is Sandra and I'm the owner of Quirky Chocolate, based in Edinburgh.

We approached the creation of the Pink Castle chocolate bar.
We'd listened to what the National Trust for Scotland were interested in and they definitely wanted something that was using Scottish ingredients.
We've got a really good relationship with the local supplier, so we looked at the fruit that they freeze-dry and we had thought it would be really interesting to combine a few things that are less common.
So, we went for the honeyberry, which is an unusual, quite new addition for Scottish food.
We also looked at the classic Scottish raspberries -- that was an obvious one -- and then we also added some blackcurrants.
We thought that, combined in a creamy white chocolate, would probably give us something that would be really delicious.

What inspired the flavour of the chocolate bar was a white chocolate doesn't actually taste of cocoa.
It's much more vanilla-based, so we thought with the obvious combination of fruit and cream, it might be really nice to go with a white chocolate bar.
And then also the colouring with the pastel shade, we thought, if anything, the white chocolate and the fruit would be the closest thing that we could come up with towards pink.

We created the packaging for the Pink Castle chocolate bar by first of all working with the tartan that had been specially produced by the National Trust for Scotland.
We have a range that uses tartan, so it was a great one for us to work on because we were able to really just keep a lot of the branding that we use for Quirky Chocolate.
We updated the typography to match the Pink Castle, and then by simply adding in the tartan, suddenly we had a really beautiful-looking bar that sits well with our collection but also gives the National Trust for Scotland something unique that you can only get when you visit their properties.

The Trust has teamed up with five talented local makers to produce the Pink Castle collection of products in celebration of the re-opening of Craigievar Castle.

The creation of the Pink Castle collection was inspired by the reopening of the iconic Craigievar Castle after the 18-month Pink Again conservation project. Here, we speak to Sandra Colamartino from Quirky Chocolate, who has created a delicious pink chocolate bar for us.

Hi Sandra, tell us a little about yourself and your business.

I am the owner of Quirky Chocolate. We’re based in Edinburgh in an Art Deco former school building at the foot of Arthur’s Seat. I started creating personalised chocolate bars in 2008 in my small workshop in Edinburgh. My background is in graphic design, so I wanted to combine my two favourite things: beautiful design and delicious chocolate!

We now operate our own chocolate kitchen, where we develop and create quirky and delicious collections of designer artisan chocolate. We combine the amazing talents of our in-house chocolatiers with the talents of independent illustrators and designers. We pay a royalty to the artists for each sale featuring their work, so by choosing Quirky Chocolate you’re also supporting the independent creative community directly. It allows us to bring fresh and inspiring designs while we can concentrate on delivering delicious new flavours.

How did you approach the creation of the Pink Castle chocolate bar?

We began with some brainstorming sessions to define the vision of the chocolate bar, but we obviously had the pink theme in mind. We selected the fruit from our local supplier – we chose honeyberry (a relatively new addition to Scottish menus), the classic Scottish raspberry and blackcurrants. We then thought about combining this with a creamy flavour, for which white chocolate was perfect. This also gave us the pastel shades we were looking for to complement the pink theme. Prototyping and testing were crucial steps to refine the recipe, ensuring that the final product met the desired standards of quality and appeal.

Ingredients for the Pink Castle chocolate bar were sourced with an emphasis on quality and sustainability. We use locally sourced ingredients where possible, ensuring that the chocolate bar not only supports local producers but also aligns with the ethos of the National Trust for Scotland. Additionally, there was a commitment to using ethically sourced cocoa to ensure that the production process was environmentally friendly and socially responsible.

What inspired the packaging design?

The wrapper for the Pink Castle chocolate bar was inspired by the Pink Castle tartan that has been specially produced by the National Trust for Scotland. By incorporating this unique tartan, we were able to align the packaging with our existing chocolate range, which already features tartan in its packaging. We updated the typography to reflect the Pink Castle, seamlessly integrating the new design with the Trust’s existing branding. This approach resulted in a beautiful and distinctive chocolate bar that not only fits well within our collection but also offers the National Trust for Scotland a unique product available exclusively at their properties.

A person wraps a bar of chocolate in a pink tartan paper wrapper, with piles of already wrapped chocolate bars lying on the table behind.

Did you enjoy collaborating with the Trust on this project?

Working with the National Trust for Scotland was a fantastic experience, and we are very proud to have created a product that celebrates such an iconic Scottish landmark. The Trust is committed to using Scottish flavours and encouraged us to develop a new combination that we hadn’t tried before. It was exciting to explore how we could use Scottish local ingredients to create something that resonates with Craigievar Castle.

Working with the Trust not only expanded our chocolate repertoire but has also strengthened our bond with an organisation that’s all about protecting and championing Scotland’s incredible cultural and natural heritage.

Can you talk us through the finished product?

The Pink Castle chocolate bar is made with locally sourced Scottish ingredients, such as raspberries and blackcurrants, and boasts a delightful blend of sweet and tart flavours. The packaging features the specially produced Pink Castle tartan, which links the chocolate bar beautifully with the rest of the Pink Castle collection.

We are proud that these chocolate bars will be sold in the Trust’s shops, allowing chocolate lovers to savour a taste of true Scottish flavours whilst celebrating a landmark of Scotland’s heritage.

Two Pink Castle chocolate bars are displayed on a pink table, with some of the white chocolate broken into pieces in front of them. Craigievar Castle is in the background.
Pink Castle chocolate bars, made by Quirky Chocolate

The Quirky Chocolate Pink Castle bars are available in selected properties and in our online shop.

Pink Castle collection

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