A chocolatier is launching a new range of chocolate bars featuring paintings by her grandmother who discovered her artistic talent when she was living with dementia.
Jo Edwards will be unveiling them at the Llangollen Food Festival and will be raising money for a dementia charity in memory of her beloved “Nanan”, Pat Rayfield, who was 93 when she passed away last year.
The images of the stunning watercolour pictures have been printed on the chocolate bars and 50p from the sale of each one will go to the Dementia Friendly Wrexham organisation.
Jo, who runs her own artisan chocolate company, Aballu, is a regular at the popular food festival that’s being held on Saturday and Sunday, October 13 and 14.
Remarkably, her grandmother didn’t take up watercolour painting until she was 85 and after she was diagnosed with dementia but went on produce more than 150 stunning works of art.
Earlier this year the family put on an exhibition of Pat’s work and sold the paintings, with the proceeds going to Dementia Friendly Wrexham as a way of raising awareness of the creative potential of people living with the condition.
Jo, who set up Aballu in 2006, has now gone a step further and come up with a technique to depict the pictures on the chocolate bars.
She said: “It’s quite a labour-intensive process using an edible printing system to transfer the art work onto the chocolate bar.
“The process is quite technical but I lay the print onto white chocolate and set it on the milk or dark chocolate bars which are all hand poured and finished. It looks amazing and I’m really pleased with how it looks.
“I’ve chosen just five of her paintings; one of lavender fields, toadstools, a woodland scene with sheep grazing, a window with a display of wild flowers and a bee on a flower. These were all painted after her dementia diagnosis.
“Nanan, as she was always known to us, only painted for the last eight years of her life. She painted what she saw on post cards or pictures from books.
“Her water colour paintings were just fantastic. She did some abstracts too, as well as things like meerkats, autumn scenes, anything that she liked the look of.”
“The Llangollen Food Festival is a very special event and I felt it was an appropriate place to launch the new chocolate bars dedicated to Nanan.
“The bars are 100 grams each and retail at £3 with 50p from every bar sold going to Dementia Friendly Wrexham.
“It’s a great way to remember Nanan and to raise awareness of just how devastating dementia can be. However, people living with dementia still have talent and can be creative, as Nanan proved,” added Jo, who’s based in Rossett.
Llangollen Food Festival committee member Phil Davies is delighted Jo Edwards is launching her new product at the food festival and is raising funds for what is a very good cause.
He said: “Jo has always been a big supporter and exhibitor at the food festival.
“Two years ago Jo set a new world record at the festival for rolling and coating chocolate truffles. She made an incredible 49 on the main stage in just two minutes which beat TV chef Gino D’Acampo’s 47.”
“The festival is all about new and exciting products and Jo’s new chocolate bars are a stunning example of that philosophy and I’m sure they will sell very quickly raising a good sum for Dementia Friendly Wrexham.”
To find out more about the Llangollen Food Festival please visit www.llangollenfoodfestival.com