How chocolatier brought a piece of Brazil to Norfolk

Women in business, Marcela Da Costa, Emporium Norwich Chocolatier. Pictures: Brittany Woodman

Women in business, Marcela Da Costa, Emporium Norwich Chocolatier. Pictures: Brittany Woodman - Credit: Archant

Introducing Brazil’s culture to Norfolk proved a recipe for success for a chocolatier who launched her business ahead of lockdown.

Marcela da Costa, 38, who is originally from the South American country, moved to Norwich six years ago. 

And just three months before the Covid-19 pandemic hit the UK, Mrs Costa and her husband launched their business, Emporium Norwich. 

Using her family’s secret seasoning, she creates Brigadeiro - pronounced bree-gah-deiro - which is a traditional Brazilian style artisanal chocolate confectionery.   

Originally a homemade sweet, they are made of condensed milk, fresh cream, butter, chocolate and sprinkles. They are also the national truffle and dessert of Brazil and are usually moulded into small balls covered with chocolate sprinkles and placed in a small cupcake liner.   

Women in business, Marcela Da Costa, Emporium Norwich Chocolatier. Pictures: Brittany Woodman

Women in business, Marcela Da Costa, Emporium Norwich Chocolatier. Pictures: Brittany Woodman - Credit: Archant

Speaking about the launch of the business, Mrs da Costa said: “I tried to do something different.  

“It was nice because people were curious about what we were doing, but it was hard too as people were unsure what Brigadeiro was.  

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“I had to introduce the culture too.” 

Women in business, Marcela Da Costa, Emporium Norwich Chocolatier. Pictures: Brittany Woodman

Women in business, Marcela Da Costa, Emporium Norwich Chocolatier. Pictures: Brittany Woodman - Credit: Archant

She recalled first falling in love with the delicious treat from a young age. Growing up in a rural town, for years she saw her mother pick out the ingredients straight from the supermarket shelves before turning them into delicious food. 

Mrs da Costa described the vision to be recognised as one of Norfolk’s best artisanal chocolates and revealed her ambition to become an entrepreneur. 

Women in business, Marcela Da Costa, Emporium Norwich Chocolatier. Pictures: Brittany Woodman

Women in business, Marcela Da Costa, Emporium Norwich Chocolatier. Pictures: Brittany Woodman - Credit: Archant

She added: “Women; we need to be a mum, a wife, a housewife, a friend, and I have to focus on my business to learn more and more in the future. It will not be easy as we grow but it should become smoother.  

“I’d love to have a shop, sell more products than chocolate, and have a room for workshops - maybe we can even have a factory or a shop in the future. 

Women in business, Marcela Da Costa, Emporium Norwich Chocolatier. Pictures: Brittany Woodman

Women in business, Marcela Da Costa, Emporium Norwich Chocolatier. Pictures: Brittany Woodman - Credit: Archant

“My daughter was just six months when we began the business. 

“As a woman and mother in business, I can’t see any problems with wanting to be a woman and raising both a child and a business. 

“For some women, it is harder depending on their kind of work but people from Norwich are very supportive.” 

Women in business, Marcela Da Costa, Emporium Norwich Chocolatier. Pictures: Brittany Woodman

Women in business, Marcela Da Costa, Emporium Norwich Chocolatier. Pictures: Brittany Woodman - Credit: Archant

Women in business, Marcela Da Costa, Emporium Norwich Chocolatier. Pictures: Brittany Woodman

Women in business, Marcela Da Costa, Emporium Norwich Chocolatier. Pictures: Brittany Woodman - Credit: Archant