The owner of a chocolate shop in Salford says his business has recovered after what he described as a difficult lockdown.
R&M Fine Chocolate is run by Raanan Malkin himself and is located on Singleton Road in Salford.
Malkin said: “The first six months of Covid I was in big, big trouble if you take percentages in a normal year let’s say my normal year is 100% income it was for 6 months around 20-30% that’s it which is a huge problem this chocolate business supports all my family but the 2nd part of Covid I started to make the online for corporate and the 2nd part went through Christmas, and I ended better than the average year.
“The 1st part was 10-30% and the 2nd part was like 150-170% of a normal year so I started very badly, and I ended very good extremely good. I’m always joking that for me lockdown is great it’s not so good but yeah covid is a huge problem you need to adapt yourself.”
Malkin chose the name R&M because it resembles his initials. He noticed that other companies sent a chocolate kit with a pre-recorded video for them to watch so that the audience could make it at home, but he didn’t want to do that. Malkin wanted to give it a personal touch and they can ask questions.
He also decided to “add a spatula to the boxes it sounds silly, but people are very happy to get spatulas something extra it’s making the experience of the kit and opening it.”
Malkin does in-person classes on Sunday usually from 16+.
He added: “Some people come in with their children which is fine I have courses for children which is a chocolate camp through summer half term and it’s for 4 or 5 days.
“We have activities that are based only for children, for families and adults together but we cover a whole range of different ages. If the children are too small, they need help so I’ve worked with children from age 5 they can do everything they just need someone to be with them and for this kind of activity my wife comes in with me.
“The most popular now is the truffle class where they learn how to make the basic truffle if they really want, they can learn how to add extra flavours to use their imagination and to get more than a few flavours so that’s the most popular for now.
“When I learnt we call it praline which is what they call it in Europe which is the chocolate with soft filling. When we first came to England everyone used the word truffle for everything and there’s a huge different between truffle and praline. So now I’m using bon bon to make it clear that it’s a different product.”
Raanan’s inspiration came from “spending loads of money on chocolate I don’t know exactly why but I thought to myself let’s see how I can do this by myself. I looked where to learn, and I learnt that it wasn’t so popular as it is today.”
He added: “Once a week I got homework, so I did homework at my house and then I took my homework to work and put it in the work refrigerator praying that nobody touched it. It was a long process of learning at that time mostly from books by myself and going to masterclasses all over the world mainly France but all over. Today it’s much easier it’s all online so it’s easier.”
“I just found myself spending loads of money and effort to find unique special chocolate and just one day wondered to myself can I do it by myself.”
When asked about special occasions, he said: “I’m not a chocolatier that does things for special occasions unless somebody orders it because I’ve found if you produce it and then try to sell it it’s a gamble maybe someone will buy it, or you’re stuck with it That’s why I prefer to produce to order not to stock.”
“Last Christmas it was lockdown, so I did a personalised box and I put a chocolate slab over it saying, “Merry Christmas” or “we love you Mummy”.
“This Christmas I’ll probably do the same but I’m doing new flavours as well!”
Raanan developed passion fruit, mango, red berries, and other fruity flavours. He said he “decided to develop these products in summer but was “too busy to get it out” so it is going into Christmas with the summer fruity [theme].