Saturday 20 December 2014


Here's an interview with Sally Wood, the founder of Sweet Theatre, that I wrote for Harper's Bazaar's website. Love her Shakespearean Leading Ladies chocolate bars:


The Sweet Theatre chocolatier, theatre producer, actress and wife of a Rolling Stone gives Bazaar a look into her life
Picture courtesy of Matt Crockett

As well as working on a new musical of Jackie and touring with her husband Ronnie Wood, Sally launched her highly successful Sweet Theatre range of chocolates at Harvey Nichols last year. A result of her love of baking and Shakespeare, the chocolate bars are named after the Bard’s leading ladies, here she tells us all about them...

When did your passion for baking start?
I lived in the home economics room at secondary school. I had a wonderful teacher called Mrs Adams who taught me all about baking and how to decorate cakes. I was immediately hooked!

Can you remember the first thing you baked and was it a success?
It was a Christmas cake for a school competition; I must have been about 13. I just kept icing more and more silver trees on it and won first prize - possibly for the ‘most trees on a cake’!  I’ve still got a photo of it.

What was the catalyst for launching Sweet Theatre?
I’ve gifted a lot of bakes over the years and eventually started to wonder if I could produce something with a longer shelf life. I worked on the chocolate bars for fun originally, but decided to take them more seriously when they got such a positive reaction.

 Why did you choose Twitter as a research forum for Sweet Theatre’s chocolate flavours?
I find you get a new perspective from Twitter, as you’re talking to people you don’t know, and the feedback is so quick.

How did you decide which Shakespearian leading ladies should lend their names to the Sweet Theatre chocolate bars?
I really enjoyed the whole process of deciding who should be linked to which flavour and why, as I’m such a Shakespeare fan. Some jumped out more easily than others; for example, Miranda from The Tempest immediately had to be sea salt. That was a given from the start.

How did you initially approach Harvey Nichols as a launch stockist?
I submitted my request via its online customer service form and hoped for the best. I wasn’t sure anyone would see it but they did, and requested some samples. They were very impressed with the quality of the chocolate, which led to a meeting and an offer to launch the products.

Where else is Sweet Theatre stocked?
At Fortnum & Mason, the Royal Shakespeare Company, all eight of Sir Cameron Mackintosh’s theatres and the Samuel French Bookshop.

Which are yours and Ronnie’s favourite Sweet Theatre chocolate bars?  
Mine is currently Beatrice (honeycomb) closely followed by Lady Macbeth (orange) and Viola (mint). Ronnie loves Portia (espresso) – he’s a real coffee nut.

Why did you choose Laura Tinald to illustrate the Sweet Theatre chocolate wrappers?
I was visiting my mum and dad in Birmingham and saw her artwork on a café wall. I really loved her style and thought it would be a brilliant fit for Sweet Theatre. My favourite illustration is, without doubt, Lady Macbeth – who is also my favourite Shakespearian character.

Sally Wood’s favourite Laura Tinald illustration for Sweet Theatre’s Lady Macbeth orange dark chocolate bar

Please tell us about your Cake Kitchen.
Over the years I’ve amassed so much cake paraphernalia and baking equipment that I now find it hard to put my hands on any ‘normal’ kitchen items – so our kitchen is now the Cake Kitchen. It’s where everything gets done – baking, research, writing – and testing, of course.

What do you think the main trend will be for chocolate-based treats for 2015?  
I think cupcakes are here to stay. They are very resilient! I’d like to see a Rocky Road resurgence in 2015.

You recently Tweeted: ‘Getting super excited about 2015 and the ideas are flowing.’ What have you got planned for next year?
I have two Twitter accounts: @sallywood for personal tweets and theatre work, and @sweettheatre for chocolate updates. The next thing in the pipeline is a big fundraising gala at the Roundhouse Theatre, which I’m chairing in March.

Are you planning a Sweet Theatre recipe book?
I’ve been thinking about a book since I was at school! Sweet Theatre would certainly be a good angle; this interview will get me thinking, I’m sure. 

Why do you think homemade sweets and chocolates make such lovely Christmas gifts?
They really show effort and time. We move in a very fast world, and anything personal just slows it all down and reminds people of what’s important. Plus, my parents always ask for ‘consumables’ at Christmas! 

Do you have any favourite anecdotes about Sweet Theatre chocolates?
Someone on Twitter asked if they could get some for a friend, and the friend turned out to be Dame Judi Dench! She wrote me a note to say how much she liked my chocolates and I nearly passed out – she’s a theatrical legend, especially when it comes to Shakespeare.

What’s on your wish list this Christmas?
I’d like a fountain pen with pink ink, please – I still love writing to people by hand.

Is chocolate an important element of your family Christmas?
Absolutely. Maybe a Sweet Theatre advent calendar is the next thing I need to work on!

You’ve mentioned that Harper’s Bazaar is your favourite magazine in the past, why?
The photography is stunning – and of course the articles on fashion, food and people can’t be beaten.

Find out more about Sally Wood and Sweet Theatre:
Twitter: @sallywood @sweettheatre
Sweet Theatre:
Harvey Nichols:

Click here for Sally Wood and Lawrence Otterburn's festive Sweet Theatre Shakespearean recipes

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