Orford, Suffolk Heritage Coast
Which boxes are they in?
Lella, Mary, Fitzgerald, Alma
Chris & Joanna Brennan
Why we love them?
Delicious chocolate, packaged beautifully and sourced directly from small scale family farms and cooperatives.
Before Chris made chocolate, he baked bread. Too much bread.
What began as a hobby in his kitchen soon grew into a stall at a local market. Chris was making so much sourdough that any bread his family couldn’t eat, went on to be sold.
It wasn’t too long before Chris was struggling to meet the market demand for his sourdough. Chris knew that it was his daughter, Joanna’s, dream to have her own café. And that was when the lightbulb moment occurred.
The pair put their heads together and in 2010 Pump St. Bakery set up shop in the beautiful Suffolk village of Orford. With their bread causing a long queue down Pump St. most mornings, Chris and Joanna directed their attention to making great pastries.
Good pastries have one very important ingredient – chocolate. If you’re going to all that effort to make a great pastry, it would be a real shame to fill it with bad chocolate.
Chris and Joanna searched high and low looking for a chocolatier that could match the quality of their baked goods. But, they just couldn’t find what they were looking for. So, whilst Suffolk’s bread-boom was going on, Chris snuck off to his kitchen again.
Micro-batch after micro-batch, Chris refined his process and recipes until he and Joanna agreed that the chocolate was good enough to pair with the baked goods.
The chocolate was delicious. The queue on Pump St. kept on getting longer, but Chris and Joanna’s chocolate exploration led them to some un-flavoursome discoveries.
It’s an unfortunate truth – corruption, violence and exploitation are all rife in mainstream chocolate production. The humble cocoa bean travels through a complicated web of middlemen, processors, and distributors before it is even bought by the household chocolate brands that we all recognise.
This supply chain is bad for the people who fall victim to it, but it’s also bad for chocolate. With such low prices offered for cocoa beans, farmers can’t invest in their agricultural process, resulting in poorer quality beans and smaller yields.
Finding the best ingredients wasn’t just about getting the best flavours, it was about making sure that they were sourced correctly – the 100% guarantee that cocoa beans arriving at Pump St. were not grown, harvested, or transported by anyone who was exploited.
Chris and Joanna would only agree to work with farmers or families whom they had a relationship with and could guarantee the good and safe working conditions of their employees. Prices well above the market asking price for cocoa would be paid, and in return farms would deliver some of the best cocoa beans in the world.
Chris and Joanna agreed that this was a pretty good deal and they agreed that it was time for the Pump St. Bakery to get a new neighbour.
Pump St. Chocolate moved in.
To this day, the Suffolk chocolate makers still honour their roots as bakers, paying homage to Chris’ infamous sourdough loaf in their bar ‘Sourdough and Sea Salt.’