‘WILLY WONKAS OF NORTH WALES’
Entrepreneurs making chocolate postcards of attractions:
APAIR of self-styled “Welsh Willy Wonkas” have launched a unique range of chocolate postcards that enable tourists to send novel holiday messages.
Inspired by vintage travel posters from the 1930s, they are intended to be given or posted as “edible souvenirs”.
The launch wrapper, depicting a stylised view of Snowdon, was quickly followed by landmarks from around Britain, from Stonehenge to London’s Tower Bridge.
The product is the brainchild of two men from North Wales and their Mountain Chocolate Company.
Phil Nelson of Anglesey and Alun Jones of Conwy wanted to create a chocolate bar that’s made in North Wales which can rival Kendall Mint Cake and Toblerone.
“I suppose you could call us the Welsh Willy Wonkas,” quipped Alun.
Through a mutual love of outdoors sports such as surfing and mountaineering, the pair became friends while both working at Plas Menai centre on the Menai Strait.
Until 2016, Phil ran Llanberis outdoor business Surf-Lines, while Alun travelled the globe as a chartered surveyor, living in the US, Maldives and Poland before returning to North Wales in 2017.
As a member of the RE Jones family which published the North Wales Weekly News for more than a century, he was quick to re-build his roots on his return, opening the Conwy Gift Shop and Press Room Cafe in the town.
In turn this drove a search for local products and produce, which led to the creation of the Mountain Chocolate Company and its 1930s-style postcards.
Phil said: “We wanted to create a gift item that gives a great sense of place as well as great taste.
“The imagery works equally well as a piece of art on the wall as well as packaging on a retailer’s shelf.”
For this reason, the company is also selling posters which businesses and individuals can frame for their walls.
Tourist attractions such as Zip World and Surf Snowdonia were among the first to stock the Snowdon chocolate bars, with others in the pipeline.
And now that the range has been expanded to include other UK landmarks, the company is hoping to find many more stockists having making its debut at this week’s Speciality & Fine Food Fair, London.
“There really is no limits to the range, which can be expanded to include many more attractions across the UK,” said Alun.
“Already we’ve been contacted by operators who want to place orders for bespoke designs for their businesses.”
So far the range extends to nine wrapper designs, including Land’s End, Cardiff Bay and Edinburgh. Alun hopes that, in time, they will become collectable.
“The bars can be posted to friends and family who, once they’ve eaten the chocolate, can display the sleeves on a fridge or wherever,” he added.
To get the new confectionery business off the ground – it launched in mid August – the company enlisted help from Cywain, the Welsh Government’s food and drink development initiative.
Llior Radford, Cywain’s development manager for north east Wales, said Alun and Phil had been deter- mined to deliver a quality product from the outset.
“I can see their products expanding into national, if not global, markets,” he said.
Individual postcard bars cost £4.50, plus £1.50 shipping. Trade boxes of 20 bars are also available.
Posters – currently limited to Snowdon only – cost £15.
Alun Jones (left) and Phil Nelson aim to produce a bar for every UK landmark