Focus Friday: Bean & Goose

Natalie and Karen Keane from Bean & Goose homemade craft chocolate are in Ferns, Co Wexford. Pictured tempering the chocolate. Picture: Patrick Browne

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The Bean and Goose journey began in 2014 when Karen and Natalie started making chocolate together. We caught up with Natalie to find out more about their delicious range of hand crafted chocolate.

Can you tell us about a bit about Bean & Goose?

The Bean and Goose story began in 2014 when Karen and I started making chocolate together. We are Karen and Natalie Keane sisters and founders of Bean and Goose. We make chocolate at Last Tree Farm based in the Wexford countryside.

We create a range of chocolate bars, seasonal and Irish whiskey truffles, sharing slabs of chocolate and seasonal, gifting products.

All Bean and Goose chocolate is made using the complex and rich flavours of single origin chocolate paired with flavours and ingredients that reflect and celebrate the Irish seasons.

Design is also a very important layer to the Bean and Goose story. We work in collaboration with designers, illustrators, food producers and other brands to bring different elements to our products, this can be in our packaging, product design or flavour inspiration. This allows us to create stories, moments and memories with our chocolate. It is important to us that our chocolate is a whole food experience and we strive to create both a visually beautiful and wonderfully tasting product.

What  inspired you to create Bean & Goose?

Some of our earliest childhood memories involve chocolate. Like most children, chocolate was a treat and linked to memorable family and seasonal occasions which for us were often spent on our holidays in Wexford.

As adults, we spent a weekend with Benoit Lorge, in Kerry learning the art of hand tempering chocolate on marble slabs. We loved this process and began exploring the possibility of working together in this area. We learnt about the world of premium chocolate finding the wonderful,varied  tastes of single origin chocolate. We knew this was the chocolate that we would work with and we would pair it with seasonal Irish flavours to give everything we do a flavour of Ireland.

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How has your chocolate evolved since you launched it?

Our vision for Bean and Goose was always quite clear, we wanted to make beautiful chocolate for a new generation of consumer who was interested in provenance, exploring flavour combinations and celebrating Irish craft and design.

The most significant change has been with our branding and packaging which has been developed with Designgoat. When we began selling our chocolate in Honest to Goodness market, Dublin we wrapped all of our bars and products in simple brown paper. We wanted to test our product and speak with our customers before we committed to the branding process. Now our range is cohesive in its look and feel and once again we have turned to our Wexford landscape which has been the inspiration for the colours in our packaging and even the shape of our new topography bar mould. Deigngoat designed our topography mould inspired by the origins of our chocolate and where we are based in Last Tree Farm

What flavours is your chocolate available in?

We have a range of dark and milk chocolate flavours. We start by selecting the best dark and milk single origin chocolate from around the world, then we add our Irish inspired flavours and ingredients. 

Our passion is with using seasonal, natural ingredients and it makes sense to us to use what can grow in our gardens and can be foraged locally. We are surrounded by countryside full of ingredients that inspire, we use elderflower, lovage, gorse and blackberries as well as our herbs from our  garden which is full of lavender, mint, bay, fennel, rosemary and thyme. In the summer time we use the orchard trees growing nearby and we love the addition of edible flowers on our bars , slabs and truffles.

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What does the future hold for your business?

We are incredibly excited by our business and the network of customers, retailers and collaborators that we have met on our journey. We have so many plans to make what we do better, offering our customers a range of beautifully designed products.

This involves growing our network of retailers in Ireland so that our customers can find our products easily when they want them. 

Adding more products to our range so that customers will have always the perfect Bean and Goose product for their occasion.

We plan to develop our online store giving customers access to our full range of product and the stories behind them.

Where can you buy Bean & Goose?

Bean and Goose is available in around 60 of the best independent food and design stores in Ireland.You can find an up to date list on our website 

We also make bespoke bars which we love to do, playing with flavour combinations to reflect the customer or their event.

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