Try 22 types of single origin buttons at new Suffolk chocolate shop
- Credit: Charlotte Bond
It’s funny how sometimes a passing comment can completely change your life – as is the case with the Wright family.
Dad David wasn’t happy with the quality of hot chocolate when he was out and about and so decided, as you do, to set up a chocolate café with wife Jaqueline in 2008. Today Marimba boasts its original café and chocolate shop in Sudbury, a factory on the outskirts of Bury St Edmunds, supplies more than 600 cafes nationwide with its Chocolate Melts, and has just opened a brand new chocolate shop in the centre of Bury St Edmunds.
Son Brad, also part of the family business, says they couldn’t be happier to have a new outlet in the foodie town, around two miles from where all the chocolate is made.
“When we moved the kitchen to Bury St Edmunds we hoped to have a shop in the town centre but never really found a suitable place,” he says. “Unfortunately, with the pandemic, an old jewellery shop decided not to re-open, and that gave us the opportunity to jump into the perfect location.”
While smaller in size to the Sudbury branch (there’s no café in Bury), there isn’t a square inch of the new shop that hasn’t been furnished with delights. Brad laughs that it’s “floor to ceiling stuffed with chocolate”. What could be better than that?
“As you walk in, the first thing you see is our truffle cabinet and that’s got over 24 different types of handmade truffles, which we make fresh in Bury St Edmunds. The most popular are Champagne, and there’s another, Eric’s whisky and ginger wine – that was my grandfather’s favourite drink.
“The display is nicely lit up and we offer a limited release of special editions every season.”
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Something Marimba has become known for is its huge array of single origin chocolate buttons, spanning from the darkest of dark, via milk, to ruby and white, each with its own unique flavour profile. There are 22 in all, alongside seven flavoured varieties. “You can choose chocolate from around the world, which is a nice experience,” says Brad, “and we have a brochure that talks customers through flavours and tastings. In addition to the buttons customers do like our chocolate thins. There are 18 types with different inclusions, like Unicorn, which is white with popping candy and really colourful decorations, lime and chilli, and maple and pecan. Then we have chocolate coated nuts, honeycomb, raisins and pretzels.”
Brad is also chuffed with the work of Marimba’s in-house chocolate artist whose skills are called upon for anything from hand piping personalisation onto bars, right through to decorating a giant chocolate rabbit weighing three kilos. “She is so talented and does it all by eye. They’re truly amazing designs. We just give her a piping bag and away she goes!”
Almost everything in store is handmade by Marimba’s chocolatiers, complemented by treats sourced from other high quality makers.
“Our ice cream is from Criterion which is based in Bury St Edmunds,” says Brad. “And we have our own roast of coffee, King Edmund, made for us locally.”
But it’s the hot chocolate, which underpins the creation of the entire business, that should be your first port of call on a visit to the shop. There are six single origin varieties to try, plus a sugar-free and ruby version (which is slightly fruity).
Marimba, at 14 Buttermarket, is open from 9am to 5pm Monday to Saturday, and 10am to 4pm Sundays. “It’s already been so positive,” says Brad. “I love the fact people in the town centre are buying something made in the town. It’s quite a nice feeling.”