Chocoholic's paradise in Welwyn Hatfield village
PUBLISHED: 08:30 23 December 2017
Did you know that we have our very own Chocolate Factory tucked away in rural Hertfordshire?
While you read this, an army of Truffletiers are making hundreds of chocolate stars, buttons, lollies, snowmen and reindeers ready for Christmas.
Delicious truffles are being packed into glossy red boxes, tied with gold ribbons, and marzipan animals are being shaped and painted, ready for Christmas day.
If you drive through quiet Woolmer Green, you might miss the factory just on the outskirts.
There are no giant golden gates to draw you in.
The modern exterior doesn’t do justice to the lovely shop inside.
It really is well worth a visit at this time of year.
The Lessiter’s family have been making chocolate since 1911 for many famous names (which remain a closely-guarded secret), but you can buy their delicious chocolate under their own name The Secret Truffletier.
They are proud to use fresh cream from local British farms in their truffles, rather than the more common vegetable oils.
Inside the shop, the walls are lined with oak and glass-fronted cabinets and smart shelves, containing the red boxes of Lessiter’s signature truffles.
Rows of chocolate Father Christmases, snowmen and reindeers of various sizes stand guard.
Tables are covered in baskets, piled with crackers and stars for the tree, or you might be drawn to the classics such as rose and violet creams, cherry brandies and mint thins.
I chose chocolate coins and chocolate Brussels Sprouts, which are a weirdly realistic green; a perfect stocking filler for my family.
You can also buy Christmas trees made from piles of chocolate truffles, which I think would make a fun alternative to Christmas pudding after Christmas lunch.
The tiny cafe (just three tables) overlooks part of the factory kitchen, and we could see Truffletiers at work through the window making marzipan fruits.
The cafe has a nice selection of cakes (including chocolate, of course) and our coffees came with a chocolate star.
If you prefer you can buy bags of hot chocolate to take home.
If you cannot make it to the shop, you can order some of the boxes online, but they don’t send everything they make as it is so delicate; what a great excuse to visit!
The shop and cafe are open Monday to Saturday, 9am to 5pm.