The sun is appearing lower in the sky and the nights are drawing in and we are full of good feelings for being able to identify Prestat as our Business of the Month for October. Aside from the fact Prestat have their own almost story-book tale behind it; we have arrived at an early in the month conclusion, to feature the business, because there are some special chocolate items available; especially fitting for serving at events and occasions which falls within the autumn season. Namely the Orange and Cardamom Chai wafer thins (see featured pic and Figure 1); the Black Forest Gateau Truffles and the Thundercloud truffle, but more about these and other award winning products at the end.
The company’s background in brief:
- Past owners (the Dufours) happened to be the French inventors of the first ever chocolate truffle. From 1902 through to the 1950s Antoine Dufour, and later his son, Tony, made and sold high class Prestat Chocolates from central and fashionable London based premises
- Under the Croft ownership of the business (which lasted over 20 years), Neville Croft acquired many well known and returning customers because of a link he had with high profiled thespians
- Prestat has been the only Purveyors of Chocolates to hold two Royal Warrants
- Author, Roald Dahl actually mentions Prestat by its very name in one of his books, not Charlie & The Chocolate Factory, but another title called My Uncle Oswald where he talks most definitely of a Prestat truffle.
- The chocolate business was one of many strands for another of Prestat’s owners, Stanley Cohen. Cohen was the owner of the business from 1980 onward, but other priorities, including his charity work, received the lion’s share of his attentions. Cohen was responsible however, for locating Prestat to the current London Piccadilly premises – 14 Princes Arcade (see above). Prestat remains secure and loyal to its London heritage which dates back to the turn of the last century
- On the Prestat website Under ‘Our Story‘ in the menu, present co-owner MD Bill Keeling tells of his excitement in discovering a secret room with hidden ‘treasures’ when he and half brother, Nick Crean acquired the business in 1998
- Prestat has concessions in Harrods (see above) as well as Liberty and Selfridges, the brand appears in John Lewis and other high end outlets both in the capital and countrywide, and the whole, extensive Prestat range is available via the website online. Production and Worldwide dispatch is now handled in and straight out of the chocolate kitchens at Park Royal, West London; yet fresh chocolates are still taken down to Princes Arcade on a daily basis. Prestat have been actively selling in the US for over three years
- The company have a social responsibility policy with a focus on the upkeep of good communication channels, so that Fair Trade farmers in Ghana are better advised in regard to trading matters centred on their raw cacao products. Prestat offers support to an organisation called Esoko who operate a helpline and offer expert advice for Ghanaian farmers
- Prestat have always handcrafted all of their own chocolates, these are of the finest quality. The vibe around this artisan brand is that it balances the classical with the more experimental, contemporary approach to the mixes and flavours synonymous to fine chocolate production of late. A vibrant rebrand in recent years reflects Prestat’s traditional links with the theatre
- The previous award winning Prestat kitchens, have recently received six further Gold Star wins for their six entries submitted to the Great Taste Awards 2014. The six award winning chocolate products include the three mentioned in the first paragraph plus the Knickerbocker Glory Art Deco and the Classic Earl Grey Tea with Twist of Lemon Milk Chocolate bars, pictured with other chocolate bars available (Figure 2), and last, but by no means least, the delicious Red Velvet truffles we at TSS reviewed earlier in the year. Read the review here