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Cocoa Ben's, Newbury - a bit of local flavour

Chocolate indulgence made in the heart of Newbury – JOHN HERRING went along to meet Ben Marshall who specialises in luxury, handmade chocolates under the name of Cocoa Ben’s and his creations are proving to be very popular

John Herring

John Herring


01635 886633

Cocoa Ben's, Newbury - a bit of local flavour

WHAT started out as a hobby has become a full-time passion for 28-year-old Ben Marshall, who dreams of one day opening his own shop in Newbury.

Using all his own recipes, it takes him around three hours to make and pack a batch of 200 truffles in his town centre apartment.

Ben says his signature treat is Champagne and Cointreau, but his offerings of salted caramel, raspberry and Madagascan dark are also rather special.

“I want to get people to know me for certain flavours and then trust me, when I make something else,” he said.

The chocolatier’s passion for chocolate-making became his new life goal after visiting a cocoa plantation in Granada.
“I started doing it as a hobby – because obviously we all love a bit of chocolate. I wanted to do something more creative… I’m very passionate about doing what I love and making that your work. I went to Caribbean and that sold it for me. I want to end up doing it full time and make a regular income from it.”

Ben is trained in physiotherapy and currently works as a disability analyst, but chocolate has definitely become his new passion: “ I would like a shop one day. Next year the aim is to enter some awards.”

And although his creativity is growing with each batch, Ben says that the ethics of his mouth-watering creations are also becoming ingrained.

“It’s all fresh. I want as little colouring or additives I can possibly get – that’s why I changed to Casa Luker [a Colombian cocoa supplier]. I want to support the actual producers of the cocoa, not the cheapest I can find, and that means they are paid a fair price. I also want to get more into the vegan side.”

Ben, whose parents Julie and Keith own the Dew Pond restaurant in Burghclere, grew up locally and trained at the UK Chocolate Academy Centre in Banbury.

His delicious chocolates can be found online at, or are available to buy in the Dew Pond and independent coffee shop Harrison’s Coffee in Northbrook Street.

“I wanted to do something I love. The first goal was to try it as a hobby, and now the shop and full-time is next.”

This article first appeared in the winter edition of Out&About magazine

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