Sarah Burrows unleashes chocolate tree frogs
After a two-year pandemic pause, the Bermuda Fudge Company is back with a new weapon in their sales arsenal: chocolate amphibians.
The chocolate tree frogs, complete with a box that chirps like the real iconic creatures, have been taking Bermuda by storm ever since company founder Sarah Burrows released them this month.
“I am in the Ignite business accelerator programme and someone there posted it on Instagram for me,” she said.
“I was amazed by the response. Today alone, I have delivered about 35 boxes.”
Her gift boxes contain four flavours: vanilla, milk, ruby (a tangy fruit flavour) and dark, and are now available at Riihiluoma's Flying Colours on Queen Street and Brown & Co on Reid Street in Hamilton. The frogs are hopping their way into other stores too.
“When people ask me how long I have been in business, I now say six years plus two,” Ms Burrows said. “I don’t know what to say about the pandemic. I took a break from it during that time.”
Her main customers, cruise ship passengers, were in short supply in Bermuda for a long time.
“You had to pivot or quit,” she said.
She chose to pivot, using the Covid-19 downtime to upgrade her skills and brainstorm new ideas.
The chocolate is helping her to appeal more to locals who seem to be less keen on her fudge than visitors.
Previously, she was focused on crafting only fudge. She learnt to make chocolate during lockdown, at the suggestion of her brother, Maurice Woodmore.
“Chocolate is more temperamental,” she said. “It is still a really interesting medium to work with. My brother is a bit of a scientist. We started playing with chocolate, and I took an online course.”
She started brainstorming her tree frog chocolate idea early on in 2020, but getting to the finished product took two years.
They were not ready yet, when the Bermuda Fudge Company reopened last summer.
“We only had about 50 per cent of the usual visitors, but we were swamped,” she said. “I’m hoping this summer will be the same.”
This summer, she plans to have her chocolate frogs ready to join her fudge offerings.
“We are trying to build up a stock,” she said. “Plus, I have other ideas.”
However, there are still some minor glitches to work out.
“The sensor that is supposed to make the frogs sing when you open the box is very sensitive to light,” she said.
As a result, in a bright space, the frogs sometimes burst into song before even being opened.
“We are working on that,” she said.
Ms Burrows has an associate degree in nutrition.
Her philosophy is that there are no bad foods, just poor behaviour and a lack of nutrition education.
“There is nothing wrong with a treat,” she said. “You just have to educate yourself in nutrition, or be disciplined. You don’t eat a piece of fudge in place of broccoli and carrots.”
She is not a fan of the Government’s sugar tax introduced in 2018.
“I don’t think it has done what it is supposed to have done,” she said. “I don’t see any education come out of the tax, or the population’s health improving. And there are other things that are bad for you. You can overindulge in eating pasta, for example. What would be more important would be education in consumption and knowing where your carbohydrates are.”
Ms Burrows has always been business-minded.
“I like the challenges of being an entrepreneur,” she said. “I see things and I see opportunity.”
She got into making fudge after a Bermuda tourism survey found that visitors wanted more locally made products.
“A friend who is a pharmacist in Dockyard said visitors were always looking for fudge,” Ms Burrows said. “I said let me think about that. I researched the question and said I could do that.”
Note: the chocolate is shaped into tree frogs. There is no actual amphibian in the ingredient list.
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