It really seems like its been an eternity.
Back in 2012 we met often, toasted frequently, shared music, and of course delighted in all the wonderful decadence of chocolate in its many forms: caramels, nougats, truffles, brownies, cakes, mousses, ice creams and those oh so sinful cocktails. There were the frequent dessert pop-ups (Cocoa Club), there were the festivals (Chocolate Fest, Chocolate Week), the markets, there was American Pancakes on the table with what just had to be the world's best hot chocolate (at least that is what you told me) and there were the awards and recognition.
Then it all just......................................stopped.
I returned to the States to visit family and renew my U.K. visa. It was 'supposed' to take weeks...it took months. 7 long months to be exact. First they said 'no'. It all just kind of fell apart. Some of you tried to keep in touch...I responded...sometimes. It was hard, really, really hard. I felt powerless. I couldn't visit my son... I was lost, sad, depressed. Time passed...my wonderful, loyal and talented Chocolate Lab staff (Amanda & Rachel) made the last Pancakes in October. It was shut.
Then we spoke to a solicitor and appealed...there was no one to call, it's all just anonymous emails. Months passed and then one day another email came and they said 'yes' -- I guess they realized that they'd got it wrong....so, so wrong.
I returned to the U.K. last April..dazed, confused and bruised...still am.
Started back at the Stokey Market in May, survived the heat of last summer, the madness of Christmas and now the storminess of winter.
But it was the move back into the Stokey Market that began the long journey back. We talked, you seems really happy to see me and that made me feel good, really, really good. Simple as that. Those interactions were and are so, so important to me. You cared. You cared about our chocolates and you cared about me.
Its 2014...now what?
I don't know...really. There is this new website and address (someone bought my old domain name whilst I was marooned). But yet, the possibilities are endless...well at least as long as you ...and your friends...and their friends.. :) keep coming back for more, keep sharing your Niko B. experiences, keep coming around to chat about 'life'...and keep inspiring me.
Thank you for taking the time to read this...thank you.
Anthony Ferguson, Master Chocolatier and Founder - Niko B. Organic Chocolates