Win a Year’s Worth of Tempt Chocolate!

by Karen Waller in Totnes, Devon, United Kingdom

Total raised £2,550

£6,500 target 13 days left
39% 90 supporters
Keep what you raise – this project will receive all pledges made by 1st June 2024 at 6:34pm

Raising funds to secure a plant-based, ethical, artisanal, neighbourhood chocolaterie and tiny café in Totnes, Devon

by Karen Waller in Totnes, Devon, United Kingdom

Individual prize draws are not promoted or endorsed by Crowdfunder. See Terms & Conditions

A Passion for Chocolate, A Commitment to Community


Hi, I’m Karen Waller. I’ve been a chocolatier for 15 years now, and I’m creating a space that combines community and compassion with chocolate. We took on an empty and dilapidated old butcher’s shop in Totnes, Devon, and have been striving for 6 months to recreate it as Tempt: a welcoming and inviting chocolaterie where we can share our love of what we do, educate, and make our much-loved chocolate to ship out nationwide via our website.


With Tempt, I have two key goals:

1. To provide great chocolate using ingredients that consider deliciousness, people and planet. It’s all plant-based using our own innovative recipes (so it’s for all chocolate lovers – including those who care about what they put in their body, vegans, and people with dairy intolerances)

2. To offer a little sanctuary of joy and a new social hub to the community of Bridgetown in Totnes (where I live), which has seen all but one other local shop close down for conversion to residential use.

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By entering this prize draw, you’re not just giving yourself the chance to win A LOT of delicious, ethically sourced artisan chocolate, you’re helping me bring happiness to many other people, too!

So, please, enter now – and I’d really appreciate it if you could share this campaign with your family and friends. 🙏

A free postal entry option has been included.

Why does this project matter?

On a personal level, I want to get back to doing what I love – making great chocolate and bringing my community happiness through that chocolate.

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On a macro-level, I want to live in a more compassionate world, one where business owners and workers have an awareness of their supply chains, and people who create food actually care about what they feed to their customers (my No.1 rule is that if I wouldn’t put it in my own mouth , then it doesn’t go into my chocolates).

As we face increasing economic uncertainty and almost unprecedented levels of fear, there is a tendency to pull back inside ourselves, to protect ourselves from the outside world. I could also have taken that decision, and decided not to take the risk of opening a bricks and mortar chocolaterie in such volatile times, when it feels that small businesses everywhere are closing down or under threat.

But when I think about the world in which I want to live, and the future I want to see, independent businesses like Tempt are key to making that future happen – not nationwide chains or international conglomerates. I want the artisan bakers to thrive, because they support better farming and they support our health through good bread. I want independent cafés run by people who can tell me about their coffee, craft chocolate makers who know where their cocoa comes from and work with the magical properties of the chocolate to get the best from the bean, and I want grocery shops staffed by people who are as obsessed by the deliciousness of a Jerusalem artichoke as I am! So, as well as being a way to provide great chocolate, Tempt is equally  a manifestation of the authentic, ethically-aware future I want to see.

What makes this project unique?

There are far too few neighbourhood chocolateries in the UK. Far fewer still who are genuinely conscious with their sourcing. And you can probably count on one hand how many of them have a range which is entirely suitable for those who don’t consume dairy (for whatever reason). Many years of meeting chocolatiers, chocolate makers, and cocoa growers and sellers from around the world means that my ethics are at the core of what I do.

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I also make my own ‘milkt’ and white chocolate (to my own recipes) instead of buying it in. This is an additional step that creates a lot of extra work, but it’s fundamental to what makes my chocolate so uniquely delicious, smooth and creamy – which is what makes it so enjoyable, and was key to it becoming much-loved by all my customers at my previous shop in the beautiful city of York.

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One of the key differentials to Tempt  is my interest in the health impact of my chocolate. Unless it’s 100% and raw, chocolate is never going to be a health food, but I do believe that pleasure and joy have a positive effect on our mental and physical health, as does sharing joy and community connection. It's important to me that I am consciously aware of every ingredient in my products, because there’s no responsibility as big as creating food for people. That conscious awareness keeps me learning and evolving what I do, and has been part of my own journey in the last few years.

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I use organic or untreated ingredients as much as possible, and have a continual desire to learn and evolve my products – and to understand their environmental impact. Using organic is an added cost that I absorb, and there are arguments for and against certification, but organic sourcing is really important to me where possible because it’s not just about our own health, it’s important to look at the issue holistically and to consider the farmers and the environment.

So, just who is Karen Waller?

I’m a chocolatier and chocolate-maker, and the heart and hands behind Tempt. I grew up near Sheffield, a working class steel and mining town, and I’ve worked in the chocolate industry for over 15 years, including 3 years as Head Chocolatier at the renowned Rococo Chocolates in London. I’ve won multiple industry awards, took Rococo to the Salon de Chocolat in Paris and have been a regular judge for the Academy of Chocolate awards.

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I can talk for hours about chocolate and the ethics and science of it, and seem to have a condition where I’m incapable of walking past empty shops without assessing them for their potential as chocolateries. Most recently, I established Tempt v1.0 in York in the middle of lockdown. It was a stunning shop, and I had a wonderful community of customers from York and beyond. I miss it very much, but hope that this Totnes version of Tempt will become as much loved, and of course it’s been wonderful to connect online with my York customers and they are all super excited that Tempt chocolate is making a comeback!  

My love of chocolate was borne from another 'condition' – Francophilia – which I’ve had since my teenage years. It was exacerbated by a year in Paris, where I wandered the little streets of the Odéon quarter at night, and would make pilgrimages across the city to try new pastries and chocolates. I’ve come to deeply admire the relationship that the French have with food, and the fact that most towns – and many villages – have their own artisan chocolaterie; the best chocolatiers in France are peppered throughout the country rather than all being found in Paris and other major cities.

This led to a fundamental feeling within me that a chocolaterie is something which should be at the heart of a community. People buy chocolates to celebrate and to commemorate, because they’re either happy or sad. We buy them as gifts for almost any secular or religious occasion, and there are few experiences that match the pleasure of good chocolate melting sumptuously in the mouth, as you sense the skill and individuality of the chocolatier who crafted it for you.

After a brief hiatus from chocolate last year, in a kind of quest of self discovery, I discovered after all that it's chocolate that brings me peace and contentment! Chocolate enables me to give something back, and creating relationships with my customers – and bringing them pleasure through what I do – is what gives me my 'juice'. Chocolate is my service, so to speak.

My day job is as a part-time support worker with the elderly here in South Devon, which has given me the time and space to both start setting up Tempt, and the opportunity to meet so many lovely, interesting and brave people who have reinforced my belief that human connection is the most beautiful thing in the world. It’s also been a reminder that we need to seize the day; we never know what tomorrow will bring, and that evolving alongside our challenges is a key part of our journey.

What's been achieved already?

Back in November, I took a deep breath, then took over the lease on a shop that's been a butcher's for nearly 250 years, and I've been busy cleaning and renovating it since (with a little help from my friends!). I'm now really very close to completing the shop interior and starting to actually make chocolate in there!

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I’d like to add a massive ‘thank you’ here to everyone who’s helped me get the chocolaterie to where it is today, and to everyone in Totnes and Bridgetown who’s taken the time to drop in, wave or give us a thumbs up through the window while we’ve been working on the shop. Also thank you to all of my York friends and customers who’ve also given their encouragement and been so excited to see the chocolate make a return. Your friendship and support is truly appreciated, and it’s been encouraging to feel accepted by the Totnes community before I’ve even officially opened the doors!

Why have our costs been so high?

Well, we’re in a situation where it’s a Grade II listed building, but the inside has been mistreated and disrespected, so with the available budget, we’ve been limited to making the most of what we have ... which is considerably more time-consuming and challenging than ripping everything out and starting again! 

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I’m not going to sugar-coat it: there have been times when I couldn’t see a way through the ‘butcher goo’ and bad workmanship we inherited. Weeks spent on our knees scrubbing the floors, degrouting and regrouting, and literally days just cleaning all the rust and filth off the old butcher hooks and rails took its toll on our motivation levels! We won’t even mention that ‘butcher smell’ that hung around for months and months! We had hoped to be fully open by Easter, but there are so many supply chain issues right now, and doing almost all of the work ourselves has been incredibly time-consuming alongside our day jobs and all of the other tasks involved in setting up a business. We can thankfully now see the light at the end of the tunnel, but due to delays and unexpected costs, there’s nothing left in the bank account to give the business a solid start.

The way I want to do things also has a cost: wherever possible I do things the best I can. I’ve used all eco-friendly paints and varnishes from Graphenstone and Lakeland, we’ve used local contractors, and our beautiful wood shelving has been made by Landworks at Dartington, a charity who support ex-offenders by giving them a route back into employment.

And of course there’s the cost of our ingredients. Most of our cocoa products are grown and processed in Madagascar, as ‘Raisetrade’, which both pays the farmers fairly, and also creates skilled jobs in the country rather than shipping out a raw commodity. This means my dark chocolate and cocoa butter cost more than double the price of the chocolate that most chocolatiers use. I try to source my nuts (particularly cashews) directly or through an importer I trust to behave in an ethical way, and the oats I use are organically-grown in Shropshire, helping to lower the carbon footprint of my chocolate.

Then there’s packaging. Despite ‘plastic taxes’, eco-friendly home compostable packaging still costs double or even triple what basic plastic versions do. Unless you’re a big brand and your high purchasing power and customers are covering that cost difference, most small businesses just have to take the hit on their profit margin if it’s important to them and the way they run their business. 

I don’t make any claims to be perfect; only once we know better can we be better, after all. Without doubt, if we’d had a limitless budget things could have been done even better, but there’s a strong part of me that won’t let me compromise on certain things, and I have been, and will remain, determined to support other local and ethical businesses through what I do. I believe this is the pathway to sustainability and strength of small independents, and is my way towards supporting other companies worldwide who are trying to make positive change.

What will the funds raised be spent on?

Funds raised from this prize draw will be used to purchase ingredients and buy the remaining items we need. I’ve taken loans to get the shop up and running (on top of using nearly all my savings!). When you take on a project, you know it will cost a lot, but converting  an old butcher's shop into a chocolaterie and café has been unexpectedly costly! 

We’ve had the extra pressure in the last few weeks of absolute chaos in the cocoa market creating both significant price rises and shortages. This means that since I took on the lease this has already wrecked cashflow as I had to make the decision to stock raw ingredients 6 months ahead of what I usually would in order to actually have product – otherwise I’d have spent 6 months on the renovations, only to have no chocolate at the end of it! 🤦.

In summary,  a shortage of bulk cocoa in Africa has meant that the large corporations are currently hoovering up all available cocoa worldwide, which has sent prices soaring to a record high. Those corporations care nothing for ethics, but they have the capital, and so their demand means that small scale makers aren’t just being faced with higher prices, but also the previously unseen probability of entirely losing our supply. As such, I had to take out further loans to ensure I've got a consistent supply of ingredients at least until Christmas, and then I’ll have to deal with whatever comes after that point! 

Put simply, the prize draw funds will help put me back on a steady footing, cover the costs of equipment that still needs to be purchased, and get the chocolaterie open!

I want this fundraiser to be fun and fair to all, so I deliberately chose to run it as an old-fashioned prize draw, rather than a rewards-based campaign which favours those with a degree of spare disposable income. This way, everyone gets the chance to win a year’s supply of delicious chocolate, and can choose how much they want to increase their chances of winning with multiple entries, or just how much they want to give their support.

The Prizes

So what’s on offer to the lucky winners? 

First Prize: A Year’s Worth of Artisan Chocolate (1 prize available)

Worth over £1k, this prize includes a monthly delivery which will vary but will include the following: a box of 21 individual chocolates, Tempt chocolate bars, brownies/cookies, chocolate shards, and chocolate-coated specialities such as caramelised hazelnuts, milkt chocolate coffee beans, or chocolate-covered chewy banana chunks. The Easter delivery will consist of Easter-themed items such as Easter eggs and bunnies.

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Second Prize: A Christmas Hamper AND an Easter Chocolate Hamper (1 prize available)

Worth over £200 you will receive a box of seasonal Tempt deliciousness in the run-up to both Christmas and Easter!

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(I think it's probably sensible to mention here that all photos are for illustrative purposes only and your actual prizes may differ from the products shown!)

I’ll randomly pick one winner each for the first and second prizes. Good luck everyone – and thank you for your support! ❤️❤️❤️

And Finally...

As an addendum, we’d like to engage with the fact that Tempt and our chocolate is all plant-based. We acknowledge that ‘ethics’ means different things to different people. We don’t use dairy in any of our products, and this means we can remain true to our personal ethics, drive innovation, and not only create delicious products for every chocolate lover, but also provide delicious ethical chocolate for an under-served section of the population. We are inclusive, and invite everyone to enjoy what we do. We simply make great chocolate :-) 

Entry options

£20

5 Entries (1 FREE)

5 entries

£5

1 Entry

1 entry

£10

2 Entries

2 entries

£50

15 Entries (5 FREE)

15 entries

£100

30 Entries (10 FREE)

30 entries

Postal entry

Send your details to:
Win a Year’s Worth of Tempt Chocolate!
4 Bridgetown, Totnes, Devon, TQ9 5AB, UK

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