Mustard video: Chocolate shoes prove to be a girl’s best friend

09:13 13 March 2013

Chocolatier Gary Funnell with the £700 Saffire Slipper that the Taverham based company is producing in a limited edition of 50. Photo: Steve Adams

Chocolatier Gary Funnell with the £700 Saffire Slipper that the Taverham based company is producing in a limited edition of 50. Photo: Steve Adams

Chocolate and shoes are among many women’s favourite things.

So when a life-size stiletto shoe was created out of chocolate you would think it would become every woman’s next must-have thing.

You would also expect its creator, artisan chocolatier Gary Funnell, to become the George Clooney of his profession.

But with a hefty £695 price tag and a whopping 2,800 calories, the sweet treat is likely to remain just a dream for most.

Mr Funnell runs Saffire Handmade Chocolate in Taverham with his mum, Angela Ruthven.

From being melted chocolate to sprinkled with glitter and ready to sell, each Saffire Slipper takes a week to craft. They are made using a bespoke mould created by Mr Funnell. Once the chocolate has set and the shoe is out of the mould, it needs between four and five hours of hand crafting to make it into the perfect shape. The shoes are then covered in cocoa butter, before they are finished with a coat of edible glitter.

Mr Funnell, who has a background in car bodywork repairs, lives in Dussindale with his wife, Charlie, daughters Annabella, 16, Kathrin, 14, and 12-year-old son, Rick.

“My mum started the business and needed some help because she received so many orders,” he said.

After selling his business in 2009, he joined his mum full time.

The 48-year-old had the idea to create a chocolate shoe at Christmas. “I have been blown away by the interest in it. Even if they didn’t generate the interest I would still make them. I didn’t do it to make money, I’m doing it because it’s fun.”

Each shoe, which is the equivalent to a size 3, contains 2,800 calories, which is more than the recommended daily allowance for men. The shoes are available in four colours – blue, purple, red and black gold and each one will set you back £695 – nearly double the price of a pair of Jimmy Choo shoes.

Mr Funnell, a self-confessed chocoholic, only uses white chocolate to make the shoes.

“The milk and dark chocolate discolour the colouring I use. Using white chocolate makes the colours pop a bit more,” he said.

Each shoe is delivered by the firm within a 150-mile radius and comes presented on a dark chocolate base which is mounted on a wooden plinth and covered in a bespoke perspex box, which Mr Funnell designed and made himself. “My wife loves them. She got the very first shoe – it’s blue. I want to remake it for her though because since I started making them, the shape has changed.

“They are designed to keep.

“The chocolate will last indefinitely, it’s sugar so it never goes off.

“Some people will probably eat them but I made them to be a collectors item.”

Norwich has a rich heritage in both chocolate and shoe-making.

A J Caley Limited were known for the quality of their milk chocolate before becoming Rowntree-Mackintosh then Nestle.

Meanwhile, it wasn’t that long ago that Norwich was still was one of the leading centres of shoe-making in the land.

There were factories, large and small, dotted around the city turning out millions of pairs of shoes every year.


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