Jennifer Earle started London's first food tour business over sixteen years ago and has spent over a decade working inside the food industry as a Buyer, New Product Developer and Food Innovation Consultant.
For the past decade she has been the go-to, internationally recognised chocolate expert for radio, TV, magazines and newspapers. She founded London's first specialty food tour business, Chocolate Ecstasy Tours and is a senior judge for the International Chocolate Awards and the Academy of Chocolate Awards, and a general judge and chocolate specialist at the Great Taste Awards, the Quality Food Awards and Which? Magazine.
As a Food Buyer at Marks & Spencer and a Food Developer at McDonald's UK, Jen worked on categories including produce, prepared meals, promotional calendars, new category introductions, health foods, coffee and the famous McFlurry range. She continues to consult on new product development and runs food innovation safaris for many of the UK's largest food retailers and manufacturers. A considerable amount of Jen's time is spent reading about and visiting new food openings - restaurants, bakeries, pop ups and shops - in London, where she lives, and on her regular travels.
How did it start?
Apparently Jen's mum ate at least one Mars Bar a day whilst pregnant with, so the obsession with chocolate was a done deal in utero. There was always chocolate at home; lots of fruit and vegetables from the garden, but always chocolate. Australian school days began with hot chocolate drunk in a flask on the way to the bus stop (in a car you could see the gravel road through the holes in the floor), and finished with glasses or mugs of Milo (usually with more Milo than milk) as soon as she arrived home.
After university in Melbourne, travels to the US and Europe opened Jen's eyes to a myriad of more chocolate possibilities and, over the last 16+ years, she's watched the food world, and the craft chocolate industry specifically, become more sophisticated, more varied and more exciting.
How's it going?
In her life that revolves around chocolate, Jen has visited cocoa farms, chocolate boutiques, artisan bakeries, food markets, food fairs and chocolate factories around the world - from tiny kitchens with one melangeur to the giant industrial operations making Smarties and Thornton's chocolates.
Jen continues to eat chocolate every single day. Several times a day.
Her current mission is to visit all of the great bakeries and chocolate shops in the UK. Alongside running online chocolate tastings for private groups and monthly Mystery Tastings open to anyone.