New Chocolate ‘Sailboat’ sets sail on Carlingford Lough

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A County Down chocolatier has partnered with Fortnum & Mason, one of the oldest and most luxurious department stores on the planet, to help produce 99% emission-free sailboat chocolate.

The family business Neary Nógs Stoneground Chocolate is located between Killowen and Kilkeel and is Ireland’s leading chocolate maker. The journey of their Sailboat Chocolate may have started on the Caribbean island of Grenada, but along the way it ended up on the shores of Carlingford Lough. Embarking on a mission that wouldn’t have gone out of place in a feature film, Neary Nóg had the blocks of raw chocolate delivered thanks to local charity Silvery Light Sailing and a hard-working rowing team in Killowen.

Rowers prepare to deliver another load of chocolate bars to Neary Nógs
Rowers prepare to deliver another load of chocolate bars from TS Britta to Neary Nógs

Produced in the Caribbean by the world’s first artisanal chocolatiers “Farm to Store”, the new Certified Organic Sailboat Chocolate is 99% emission-free.

Fortnum’s set out to transport this remarkable Caribbean chocolate to Piccadilly with the lowest possible emissions. This meant transportation by sailboat, electric van, and even as a passenger on a horse and cart.

Shane Neary, Neary Nógs chatting with Gerry Brennan, Silvery Light Sailing.  Photography: Columba O'Hare
Shane Neary, Neary Nógs chats with Gerry Brennan, Silvery Light Sailing. Photography: Columba O’Hare

The journey of their Sailboat Chocolate slates began on the Caribbean island of Grenada, where a small cooperative of organic cocoa farmers is transforming the cocoa-chocolate system one bean at a time. The Grenada Chocolate Company is a cooperative of organic cocoa farmers and chocolate makers with a radical new business model that has resulted in the first ‘Tree to Bar’ chocolate of this century, adding all the value to the local economy in the village of Hermitage, Saint-Patrick. Each farmer is a shareholder in the company and is paid above the standard rate, with factory workers paid double the going rate for equivalent jobs.

Shane Neary brings one of the packets of chocolate to the ground for processing.  Photography: Columba O'Hare
Shane Neary brings one of the packets of chocolate to the ground for processing. Photography: Columba O’Hare

The beans are then processed in a solar-powered factory. While cocoa beans are normally shipped across the world to be made into bars, Grenade Chocolate Company uses zero emissions to make their chocolate and beans fresh, rather than months or even years old.

Once 350kg of chocolate, in 25kg blocks, had been manufactured by Grenade Chocolate Company, she began her first trip to the open sea on a motorless sailboat called Tres Hombres. Piloted by FairTransport, Chocolate sailed from Granada to Den Helder in the Netherlands, but her days at sea were not over yet. Once in Den Helder he began his second voyage on the T / S Britta, with Silvery Light Sailing, to Carlingford Lough in Ireland.

TS Britta awaits you in Carlingford Lough.  Photography: Columba O'Hare
TS Britta awaits you in Carlingford Lough. Photography: Columba O’Hare

Once on our shores, he began his journey to NearyNógs on the Le Morne coast, one of Ireland’s oldest chocolate makers. A passionate team of volunteers transported the chocolate to Killoween, on the Morne mountain shore, using traditional rowing boats from Drontheim. From there he started a bumpy 5.9 mile horse and cart ride to NearyNógs

NearyNógs Stoneground chocolatiers make exceptional confectionery in their solar-powered factory overlooking the Irish Sea. The Fortnum & Mason Sail Boat Chocolate was broken down into slates, soaked and packaged in recyclable and biodegradable packaging before the final leg of its journey to Piccadilly.

He started his journey home from Neary Nógs, en route to Fortnum & Mason chocolate wonderland, on horseback and cart towards Rostrevor. It was then transported from the shore of the Morne Mountains, once again, by volunteers in rowing boats from Drontheim en route to Carlingford Lough. Here he was greeted by the magnificent sailboat Klevia, whose white sails propelled chocolate by the wind to Port Penrhyn, Bangor, North Wales.

TS Britta.  Photography: Columba O'Hare
TS Britta. Photography: Columba O’Hare

As the last stop on this sustainable journey was entirely on land, we sought out our own Fortnum & Mason electric vans to deliver our exquisite Sailboat Chocolate house in Piccadilly.

Now you can play your part in this exciting story by visiting us in Piccadilly and trying it out for yourself. Whether as a unique gift for a friend or as a treat for yourself, this is chocolate like no other. You could call it chocolate on a mission.

Fortnum & Mason thanked everyone who helped make their project a reality, including Shane and Dorothy Neary of NearyNógs; Joanne Orr Cars; Fair transport; Gerry Brennan of Silvery Light Sailin; Carlingford Lough volunteers; Stephen Reid at Grafters Media and Chantal Coady OBE, founding member of the Academy of Chocolate, co-founder of The Chocolate Society and founder of Rococo Chocolates.

Check out a video of the trip below


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