‘WILLY WONKAS OF NORTH WALES’

En­trepreneurs mak­ing choco­late post­cards of at­trac­tions:

Bangor Mail - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

Pic­ture: JAMES DAVIES

Alun Jones (left) and Phil Nel­son aim to pro­duce a bar for ev­ery UK land­mark

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