Note: It's time for another edition of Street Food Profiles. This week we scoot across the pond to meet a mobile chocolate bar in London. —The Mgmt.
Name: Choc Star
Vendor: Petra Barran
What's on the menu? Chocolate in many forms: hot chocolate, milkshakes, ice cream, sundaes, truffles, frozen chocolate-dipped bananas, iced chocolate martini shots, brownies, and of course chocolate bars.
Location and hours? We move around London and beyond. Also look for us once a month at the Slow Food Market on the Southbank and at the Venn Street Market in Clapham. We also hang out at festivals, weddings, parties, and film sets. Our hours are usually from sun-down to sun-up.
How long have you been street fooding? Four years.
How has it affected business? It's been good to us, especially since it allows such instant feedback.
Why a mobile business over brick-and-mortar? Because brick-and-mortar can't go all over the country and see hundreds of sites and loads of different events. Keep it moving!
Who are your typical customers? Such a mix! All ages, all sizes, all nationalities and from all parts of town—all united by chocolate.
Describe a typical day from start to finish.
- Pack the van in the morning with cakes, milk (for hot chocolate), sauces, ice cream, and so on.
- Drive to our venue—sometimes takes a few minutes, sometimes a few hours.
- Park up, get signs ready, get the flags out, turn the lights (and music!) on.
- Time to start serving up the good stuff. We'll go on until 8 p.m. (much later if we're at a festival), then get packed down and head home to Choc Star Headquarters.
What were you doing before this? Working on super yachts as a stewardess.
What makes your food so special? Choc Star is the only mobile chocolate bar in Britain, so there's nothing else like it in London or beyond. What's so special? The fun factor and personal touches. We like to say it's chocolate served with character.
How would you define "street food"? Food served in the open air at street level by an independent vendor—and getting to watch your food prepared up close and personal.
The best street food city and why. New York for its variety. Though I want to visit the West Coast and see its amazing progress too. London is on the right pat but we've got to whip up a bit more of a storm.
Your comfort food after a long day? Neal's Yard cheese and oatcakes with a cold glass of sherry.
Advice for an aspiring vendor? Keep your sense of humor—you'll need it when the rain comes down!