Hadleigh Maid

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Meet the Suffolk chocolatiers who’ve got us all in a whirl!

Nestling deep in the heart of the Suffolk countryside is Hadleigh Maid, a family-run chocolate factory which has been producing hand-made treats for over 35 years.

The second-generation family business originally began life in 1976 when Mike and Avril Briggs discovered a passion for chocolate making and turned the back room of their shop in George Street into the ‘smallest chocolate factory in the UK’. 

With a focus on quality and flavour, and traditional techniques, the family business went from strength to strength.  It’s now situated in new, bespoke premises in the town and has become renowned for producing indulgent and heavenly chocolates.  These range from thick and chunky bars of milk and dark chocolate to exquisitely decorated pralines, exotic truffles and luxury selection boxes. 

A sweet success story

Donny Briggs, the current managing director, and his wife Angela, took over the running of the business over ten years ago, and the couple began working with our Sourced Locally team in 2011.    

They started by supplying just 14 of our stores with bars of milk chocolate, and now an extended range  including bars of dark chocolate, fruit and nut and chocolate orange, are available in stores across the region. 

But the overwhelming success story of our relationship with these Suffolk chocolatiers has been the comeback of Hadleigh Maid’s iconic Walnut and Mallow Whirl! 

Hadleigh Maid

When we started working with the Briggs family we began to hear people reminisce about one of the first ever products they had made; a chocolate shell, filled with a top secret mallow recipe and topped with a walnut. It sounded so delicious that we just had to offer our help in getting them back on the market. 

Donny explained: “The problem was that we used to make them entirely by hand, piping out the chocolate shells and whipping the mallow, which meant we could never make many at once. But with help from the Sourced Locally team we were able to develop our original recipe and create a production line which was able to create far more in one go.” 

The Walnut and Mallow Whirls are now sold exclusively in our stores, and have become a real customer favourite. They even outsell single Mars bars week after week! 

Donny added: “Bringing back our Walnut and Mallow Whirls was a big boost for our business, which we are continuing to build for the next generation. Working with the East of England Co-op has helped us to expand, take on more staff and has generally helped us to step up to the next level of chocolate production. We are proud of our Suffolk heritage and to be working with a regional retailer that supports other local businesses.”