A Wiltshire cafe owner and chocolatier has won a prestigious award celebrating the quality of her chocolates.

Hollychocs, an independent chocolate business run by former Cadbury employee Holly Garner and her husband Sam, was awarded Gold by the Taste of the West Awards 2023 and was also crowned ‘Chocolate Champion’.

The business, based near Devizes, scooped the award for their seasonal chocolate box of handmade treats which boasted a variety of flavours, including Icelandic Lava Salt Caramel.

This success comes just three months after Mrs Garner opened her new cafe, named The Beanery, alongside a revamped shop and chocolate studio at Poulshot Lodge Farm.

Reflecting on the victory, Mrs Garner said she was “overwhelmed” by the success of the business which she founded in September 2019.

She said: “We are really honoured because we put a lot into the business and weren’t expecting to win this award at all.

“It’s very overwhelming and means a lot to us.”

Wiltshire Times: Mrs Garner at HollychocsMrs Garner at Hollychocs (Image: Hollychocs)

The Taste of the West Awards were established in 1991 and have since become the largest regional food group in the UK.

Each year they recognise the highest quality food and drink producers in the region across a huge range of categories.

Mrs Garner emphasised the importance of the annual awards for offering support to independent businesses and giving them increased recognition.

She added: “When we win these awards it puts us on the map and puts trust in us, because customers know our chocolate has been judged by leading food critics.

“As a small, independent producer of handmade chocolates, the recognition these awards bring is really vital to the survival of businesses like mine.

“My husband Sam and I put our heart and soul into everything we do, and being recognised amongst so many fantastic producers is something we are very humbled by.”

Wiltshire Times: HollychocsHollychocs (Image: Hollychocs)

The business has also enjoyed success at The Beanery, which Mrs Garner says is attracting large crowds three months after its grand opening.

The cafe sells a wide variety of treats made in her own chocolate studio, as well as 12 different varieties of hot chocolate.

Mrs Garner told this paper that the new venture had been well received by locals who had flocked to the premises in large crowds, causing The Beanery to extend its opening hours.

“It’s going really well”, she said.

“We’ve been really busy and people are enjoying it because it’s a lovely shop and cafe, in a nice environment, where they can come and spend their time.”