Chocolates have long been the go-to choice for Valentine’s Day treats and with Valentine’s Day, literally just days away, I thought what better time to have a chat with Bootleg Chocolates, the Freeport-based chocolate manufacturer, to find out just what makes their chocolates so unique.
The company, whose name is an acknowledgement of the prohibition era, has been around for about six years but officially launched a store in 2015, introducing gourmet, handmade chocolate treats with a unique Bahamian flare. “We use high-end European chocolate with Bahamian ingredients,” says Amanda Ormerod, who runs the Port Lucaya-based business along with her mother, the master chocolatier.
“We have always had an interest in chocolate. We always had chocolate in the refrigerator. My mother always did deserts and catering. Six year ago I started doing it with her part-time and I created Bootleg Chocolates. We tested it for some time got a great reception. It was until a year and a half ago we started to open up the store front,” says Amanda.
The company sells ganaches, with Bahamian inspired flavors such as gully wash, gin and coconut water and guava duff among others. We don’t use preservatives in our products, everything is natural,” says Amanda. The company also retails caramel, the most popular of which is a goat pepper balsamic caramel Amanda notes, as well as chocolates bars.
To be clear, despite the name, not all of the company’s chocolates contain libations and as the company notes, ‘Bootleg Chocolates aren’t illegal. They just taste like they should be’.
You may run into Amanda at local art shows offering chocolate tastings or see Bootleg Chocolate at establishments such as Young’s Fine Wines, Doongalik Art Studios The Farmers Market and the Island House and Dilly Dally Harbour Island.
Still, Amanda notes that Bootleg Chocolates wants to extend its product line.We only retail the caramel and chocolate bars. We want to have another offering for our clients.”
One major challenge she notes is the high duty on her raw materials. “I’m trying to get into the hotels but my raw materials like my packaging and chocolate have such high duties on it that I can’t compete with foreign products. The response to our business has been great but you also need that volume as a small business. It’s kind of a catch twenty-two situation because you need the volume to get the funds to make good products but you have to pay so much to actually make the product.”