How these two blokes make the best chocolate we’ve ever tasted

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Brockley-based Doisy & Dam make dark (and light) chocolate for grown-ups. We find out their secret


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Doisy & Dam founders Ed and Rich in alleyway
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Childhood bezzies Ed Smith and Richard Wilkinson spent months experimenting with their favourite superfoods to bring what we *reckon* is the finest chocolate we’ve tasted in recent memory. (Especially the maple, toasted rice and pink salt, unparalleled in its moreishness; the coconut and lucuma ain’t far behind either.)

With a City background, Richard handles operations and logistics for the Brockley-based Doisy & Dam , whilst Ed, a former marketeer – who, in fact, brought British menswear label Jack Wills to the US – handles the more creative aspects of the business, heading up the sales and marketing. We grabbed Richard for five minutes.

Your chocolate is incredible, especially the dark varieties: nicely bitter and grown-up for our tastebuds. How have you done it?
We tried to make it as approachable as possible for all types of chocolate lovers. We use central and south American chocolate (Dominican Republic and Colombian) which we love as it’s got the perfect combination of bitter sharpness and a deliciously sweet fruity aroma. The simple answer is we don’t really have to do much, the cocoa speaks for itself. We then add carefully selected ingredients that we hope don’t overpower the cocoa, but instead add innovative textures and flavours: it’s a lot of trial and error (emphasis on the trial).

Doisy & Dam chocolate bars
You can pick and mix Doisy & Dam ‘superfood’ chocolate bars. Photo: PR

We have two particular favourites: the maple, toasted rice and pink salt organic; and tangy goji and orange organic (both 74%). What are their backstories?
I wish I could tell you that our flavours are carefully crafted with customer trends in mind, but really what we do is we make chocolate that we think tastes good. Anna is our in-house recipe guru and she’s always experimenting with different ingredients, some ingenious, some indigestible but always fun to try. We whittle these choices down until we have something we think is ready to be unleashed on the unsuspecting public, at which point we close our eyes, cross our fingers and hope they like them as much as we do. Maple, toasted rice & pink salt is Anna’s biggest triumph – it’s our best seller by a long way. And it’s vegan.

So now let’s rewind. Why the dark stuff?
We started out with an interest in superfoods: we think they’re an awesome way of adding nutrient rich foods to our diet, but we weren’t that impressed with the formats they were available in. We wanted to find a vehicle to introduce them softly into people’s diets and couldn’t think of anything better than chocolate. We both absolutely love the stuff in all formats and didn’t want to reinvent the wheel – instead we wanted to create a mindful indulgence that people wouldn’t feel guilty about snacking on. There’s no crap added, only high quality ingredients and superfoods making it a better choice for your treat.

Doisy and Dam founders Richard Wilkinson and Ed Smith
Mates since the age of 5. Doisy and Dam founders Richard Wilkinson and Ed Smith. Photo: PR

Going back further, how did you two meet?
Ed and I have been friends for the last 25 years and have always had a shared passion for food and business. We spent years and years running through various business ideas until we finally decided to take the plunge four years ago.

And why the name?
Neither founder is Doisy or Dam, or for that matter Daisy or Dom (as some people call it). Doisy and Dam were in fact two incredibly accomplished scientists who won the Nobel Prize for Physiology of Medicine in 1943 for their work on the discovery and science behind vitamin K. The discoveries they made led to a much better understanding of health and nutrition, which is why we wanted to put them on the front of our bars.

Clever. So you’re based in Brockley?
We’re both south Londoners. I live in Borough and Ed lives in Bermondsey; and yes, the business is in SE4. We both love it as it’s got a combination of authentic communities and a vibrant and rapidly growing food scene. It’s an amazing place to explore on the weekends, and it seems like there are constantly new places for us to try: fun, sure, but doesn’t lead to a particularly healthy bank balance.

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Doisy & Dam’s Top 3 Brockley highlights

Eggs benedict at Parlez with Doisy & Dam founders
The boys rate local hangout Parlez. Photo: Facebook

1. Brockley Market – the obvious and first choice, an amazing local food market with delicious food to take home as well as food-on-the-go stalls serving up incredible dishes. Main pick would be the homemade crumpets from the Good & Proper Tea van. Delicious with their homemade jam. More here
2. Browns Coffee – right by the station is our favourite coffee shop in London. Small and unassuming, the coffee they make is phenomenal and the guys behind the counter are super passionate about what they do. More @brownsofse4
3. Parlez – the best brunch in town. This spot has just opened up and serves tea and coffee from local suppliers, as well as an awesome brunch. More here

Find out more about Doisy and Dam here

Main image: PR

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