Sweet success through innovation for luxury chocolatier


Cirillo, a new luxury chocolatier in Lurgan, has been assisted by Invest Northern Ireland to launch a range of gourmet chocolates which are also gluten-free.

In addition to being gluten free, the chocolates are free from wheat and eggs. The company’s dark chocolate is also dairy-free.

Assistance for Cirillo, a new business start, was announced by Maynard Mawhinney, Invest NI’s Director of Food and Tourism, during a visit to the company, which was formed last December by businesswoman Caroline McArdle.

Mr Mawhinney said: “Our work with the company has included marketing advice and support particularly for its e-commerce website which is already attracting enquiries from potential customers in Britain.

“This artisan business has identified a very significant market opportunity developing from the demand for products from those with coeliac disease and other intolerances.

“The company has demonstrated tremendous enterprise and commitment in coming up with innovative recipes for a wide range of products. The knowledge and experience gained is enabling the business to spot other opportunities for its expertise in creating ‘free from’ chocolates, a developing market particularly in Britain.”

Caroline McArdle, a graphic designer, began researching and developing her own recipes particularly for chocolate. The end result of research over three years is a range of ‘free from’ chocolates and desserts from quality ingredients including cocoa sourced directly from farms in Ghana.

“I looked at chocolates currently available in confectioners and supermarkets and found that the majority contained gluten. It seemed to me that the only course was to start creating recipes for my own products. I also consulted leading chocolatiers about how to develop a range of luxury products.

“A key feature of our products is that we don’t use any processed ingredients. The chocolates are lovingly handmade in small batches to recipes I have developed and are fully tested as being gluten free by a fully accredited laboratory.

“What this means is that chocolate lovers can count on the products being completely gluten free and on the provenance of all the ingredients. We have total control over the sourcing of ingredients and the entire production process.

“I’ve created a range of luxury chocolates that coeliacs and those with other allergies can now enjoy.”

The range includes cappuccino bar, milk chocolate, plain, marshmallow, bresilienne (sugar coated toasted hazelnut pieces) or chunky hazelnut pieces. Dairy free dark chocolate comes plain or with fruit and nuts.

The artisan business also produces wedding favours, unique gluten free birthday and Christmas products and bespoke chocolate cups and truffles on request. In the pipeline is a range of truffles for retail.