QUEEN OF THE CHOCOLATE CASTLE

When you see, or think of Queen Anne chocolates, what comes to mind? The incredible stores with rows of delectable chocolates, or maybe a box of chocolates you were given at Christmas, or a perfect chocolate egg from the Easter bunny, or maybe something your grandma bought as a special treat? The brand has come a long way from its early beginnings and has been reinvented by none-other than the founder’s granddaughter herself.

Back in 1920, Ernest Adams and business partner Hugh Bruce set up a bakery based in Christchurch which grew from strength to strength, opening more bakeries up and down the country. It was around five years later when Queen Anne chocolates were brought to life with some help from two Canadian confectioners, Morton Patterson and Hugh Smith, who came all the way to the Queen Anne Chocolate Studio on College Street, Wellington. A year and a three-story factory later, the chocolate production was underway. Having made it through the ‘Great Depression’ the 30s saw over 60 varieties of hand dipped Queen Anne chocolates sold throughout NZ in its iconic Queen Anne shops with black and white tiles and leadlight windows that featured row upon row of glossy chocolates.

“So many people have told me over the years that Queen Anne Chocolates were the ultimate ‘sought after’ gift,” said Sarah Adams, granddaughter of Ernest Adams, and owner of the business today. “To be given a gift of ‘Queen Anne’s’ was a wonderful thing. Of course, the only thing better than a one Pound box of Queen Anne chocolates was a two Pound box!”

It wasn’t until the late 70s when these stores closed following Ernest Adams purchasing Adams Bruce Ltd, when Ernest decided to ‘stick to the knitting’ of the baking side of the business.

However, this wasn’t to be the end of the beloved Queen Anne chocolates. Sarah Adams, having worked in her grandfather’s company, Ernest Adams until it was sold to a ‘bigger fish’ suddenly found herself in the wrong pond.

“I was without a job and as luck would have it I was asked to write a biography on my grandfather, the next thing I knew I was looking for original chocolate recipes, constructing iconic Queen Anne boxes and finding a manufacturer to make them!”

Queen Anne was back in business.

In 2011, the Queen Anne factory opened in Christchurch and the chocolates today are made using tried and trusted recipes of Sarah’s grandfather.

In the last year, the quintessentially Kiwi chocolates continue to grow as a brand and in flavour sourcing only the best ingredients to deliver to Queen Anne lovers around the country.

Today, the look and feel of the brand has had a bit of a refresh, to keep on-trend and in-line with consumer demand. Not only are the margins generous for the retailer, the chocolates have been developed into an everyday indulgence. While still continuing the traditionally seasonal boxed chocolates, Queen Anne has launched a new handcrafted retro Marshmellow Bar (55g), that is the perfect-sized treat for consumers.

“We wanted to capture a new audience of baby boomers and millennials, to share with them the delicious taste of Queen Anne chocolates, and bring Queen Anne into the present. This also included a new Salted Caramel range in our boxed chocolates as well as the retro marshmellow bars.”

Matched to the original Queen Anne recipe, the dark chocolate fits the NZ flavour profile perfectly, and isn’t too bitter. The new marshmellow bars are available in vibrant and delicious flavours like Boysenberry, Caramel, and Raspberry, alongside beautiful milk or dark chocolate.

In capturing a new audience, and developing new flavours, the brand has been refreshed, fits in with current consumer needs and is ready to find its way home into New Zealand supermarkets and consumers hearts once again. For more information, to order (and maybe get a sample), call 03 357 0085.