A CHOCOLATIER in the far north of Scotland has been designing tasty treats in the shape of an Iron Age roundhouse to boost the Caithness Broch Project aimed at building a world heritage broch site and visitor centre.

Caithness Chocolates owner Ruth Falconer has created brocholates – sweets that look like brochs made of high-quality tempered chocolate and cocoa butter which have been disappearing off the shelves like snow off a dyke.

The National is backing the project as media partner and is helping to promote all the great events happening next year to celebrate 2017 Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology.

Kenneth McElroy, chairman of the Caithness Broch Project, said: “Ruth’s enthusiasm for Caithness has really shone through with her ‘brocholates’ invention. The brocholates are a really good marketing tool to help us get our name out there and they’ve been a feature of our events, from county shows to the opening of the Year of History Heritage and Archaeology earlier this year. They’ve been a real hit with our fans so we’re really grateful for Ruth’s involvement with the Caithness Broch Project – she’s a real sweetie!”

Ruth got involved with the project after tweeting that she would like to do something to help and within minutes she was contacted by Kenneth to ask if she could create chocolates shaped like brochs to promote the work of the project.

Ruth jumped at the chance and has since made “hundreds and hundreds and hundreds” of the brocholates to give to lifetime members as a thank you and to sell locally for all the profits to go to the fund.

She said creating chocolate brochs is so different to her normal work of making truffles and hand-made filled chocolates but admitted it was an exciting challenge.

Ruth said: “I just think the Caithness Broch Project is such a great idea. I am Caithness born and bred and it is great to see such an enthusiastic group of people who are so passionate about trying to promote the heritage.

“I feel in Caithness, Scotland has been quite lax in promoting our fantastic heritage. We have a lot here to offer.

“I would normally make truffles and hand-made filled chocolates and bars. It is a great job and my waistline has been expanding gradually. I have to taste them to make sure they are OK. After a while you do teach yourself some restraint but it’s not easy.”

For the first time the brocholates are being sold locally in JA Mackay’s grocer shop and they were so popular they vanished within minutes and Ruth had to make another batch.

In 2017 the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology, Ruth plans to make more brocholates to be sold to boost the profits of the project which needs in the region of £1 million to construct a broch, with building work estimated to take three years, and a tourist centre.

Ruth added: “I have made hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of brocholates. Initially it was a one-off kind of thing to give away to promote the project but they have been so popular I have made more brochs than there ever were in Caithness!

“They are very time consuming to make. It took me a wee while to get it right because it is quite a funny shape. Eventually I came up with a moulded stone bit at the bottom and then the top is modelling chocolate. The grey colour is a mix of black and white cocoa butter. Obviously there isn’t a lot of call for grey chocolate so it took a bit of mixing.

“I painted a wee door on it and a roof with the modelling chocolate which is just made with liquid glucose and chocolate. All the money goes to the broch project.”

The National is offering new and existing members of the Caithness Broch Project an exclusive discounted deal of 10 per cent off 12-month digital subscriptions as part of our commitment as media partner. What’s more, members who sign up for a year’s subscription will get a free 12-month Open Fairways golf card. To claim your discounted subscription, call us on 0141 302 7733, making sure you quote the Caithness Broch Project. Becoming a member of the Caithness Broch Project couldn’t be easier. Just go to www.thebrochproject.co.uk.