Who doesn’t love chocolate? Swedish Chef Erik Landegren sure does and in fact, he calls himself a “chocoholic”. When he gifted the United States with his take on perfectly handcrafted chocolates that marry classic American confections with European quality, this resulted in the quality Bridgewater Chocolate – an artisanal brand of chocolate that is so rich and indulgent, without being overly luxurious or pretentious. The award-winning American chocolate brand, has landed in Kuwait, marking its first foray into the Middle East in partnership with retail franchise operator M.H. Alshaya Co.
Originating in 1995 from Erik’s inspiration to start selling his chocolate creations in a local Connecticut specialty food store, Bridgewater Chocolate’s products are handmade using the finest European ingredients, with high levels of naturally sweet cocoa that result in rich and sophisticated blends. The chocolates are made with 100 percent cocoa butter to lower the melting point, which creates the smoothest and silkiest chocolate. And since their inception to the market, the variety of Bridgewater Chocolate has only expanded.
The 40 delicious flavors include oozing caramel and chewy, buttery English and Irish toffees. There is also a selection of fruit-based products for those with tropical taste buds, including Australian Apricots, Spanish Orange Peel, and Cherry Heart, as well as chewy caramels wrapped around a selection of nuts.
Bridgewater Chocolate adds a special touch to symbolic occasions and cherished family moments, from weddings, birthdays and baby showers to corporate gifts, festive occasions and family luncheons. Elegant and sophisticated, Bridgewater Chocolate’s signature classic hinged navy blue box comes with wired gold ribbon, and carries the iconic image of the flagship Bridgewater village store. Each box can be personalized to celebrate every occasion.
Bridgewater Chocolate has won numerous awards over the past 20 years, and is often featured on Food Network and other media outlets. Its key to success has been simple and unchanged over the years: uncompromising high quality ingredients in all of its products, classic American flavors and style, individually and delicately handcrafted chocolates, and an elegant signature packaging that reflects the quality of the chocolates.
The Bridgewater story is all about one man’s pursuit of perfect chocolate, which is why we at bazaar were so excited to meet with the man himself who told us of this journey and why having these chocolates available to us here in Kuwait is the ultimate treat.
When did your love affair with chocolate begin
I was in love with chocolate from a young age. When I arrived to the U.S. in 1987, I realized that the Americans shared my love for chocolate, but their chocolate traditions were different from what I was used to, as they tend to like a lot of nutty, chewy, nougat filled confections. The difference in their confections sparked my interest in making chocolate so that I could ultimately combine American confection with European quality.
From there, how did Bridgewater Chocolate materialize?
I was in the restaurant business, but I would make chocolate confections on the side just for fun. When I moved to Bridgewater, Connecticut, I was given the opportunity to manage a small food store, and we wanted to vamp it up a bit by adding in some specialty sections: a bakery, pastries, artisanal food – so I proposed a chocolate selection, and it was a hit. Four years later, in 1995, the demand for my chocolates was expanding, so it became its own business.
What separates Bridgewater Chocolate from other chocolatiers?
I think that conceptually, we offer good quality and value to everyone. A Kuwaiti blogger recently said to me, “I have a niece who’s five and a grandmother who’s 80 and they both love chocolate. I feel like I can bring them both in here and they’ll find something they really like.” I want to offer something for everyone – good quality and value to both the niece and the grandma. It is unique to itself but it is compared to many others.
What is the most popular product within the Bridgewater Chocolate product range?
Our signature Pecan Törtéls were the first chocolate I ever made for the store, and it’s still our best seller. The US market also enjoys our Peanut Butter confection. I also feel close to this particular chocolate because before making it, I wasn’t crazy about peanut butter… then I developed a taste for it. It made me realize that you can really acquire a taste for things, and I promised myself I wouldn’t make products that I didn’t like. Peanut butter changed my mind and won my heart.
Why did you choose to partner with M. H. Alshaya and what prompted the international expansion?
When we came to Kuwait to meet with Alshaya, the decision was easy. Alshaya does a great job making the experience, presentation and service of each brand come alive, and what I like most about them is that they don’t change or disturb the brand, they only make it a little better. This is the first Bridgewater Chocolate store outside the US and it’s already off to a good start.
Why do you think Bridgewater Chocolate is right for Kuwait and The Avenues?
I think The Avenues embodies something similar to our core concept: it isn’t pretentious, but it represents elegance and class. I like to think we are classy and represent quality. I think Bridgewater Chocolates are suitable for the population here for all ages and genders, and I feel that because The Avenues caters to all of Kuwait, we will fit in well here.
Bridgewater Chocolate is now available in Kuwait at Grand Avenues—The Avenues, next to Victoria’s Secret. To find out more about Bridgewater Chocolate, call 2228 3806 and follow them on Instagram @BridgewaterChocolateME or Facebook/Bridgewater Chocolate ME.