For this chocolate-themed day on Image Interiors & Living, we caught up with Bernard, one half of the Broderick Brothers, to ask him about their chocolate business. Barry and Bernard, otherwise known as ‘The Cake Crusaders”, started their baking careers bashing biscuits at the kitchen table for their mother Ina’s famous cheesecakes. The brothers joined the business in 1994 and the rest is history.
Bernard, tell us what you most love about your company and how you decided to get into the chocolate business. I followed my parents into the food business and there’s just so much I love about it: seeing people taste our products and fall in love with them, the amazing variety of the job, especially with the growth in the exports sales – there are now Broderick’s trucks in Kuwait and bus stops with Broderick’s branding in Greece.
I suppose I get a buzz out of it! From the very beginning we knew that were doing the right thing. Even when it was costing more than it was making, we were confident that once people tasted the products it would be a success. Over the four years since we’ve started the brand, we’ve learned a huge amount, especially about adapting to the tastes of our different markets. In Ireland and the UK Rocky Road is our biggest seller, but abroad it’s our Chocolate Brownie.
Is this a family business? Tell us about your mammy – she sounds amazing! The company was founded in 1983 by my mum Ina, who started out making cheesecakes at home and selling them to local cafes. Of her four sons, two are officially involved in the business – myself and my assistant, Barry. But, in reality, everyone throws in an opinion and helps out when they can. Ina is a very impressive woman and still very much involved in the business as is our father Bernie Sr. Neither would be afraid to tell us what’s what.
We love your site and the whole Broderick’s online experience, including the mini-meltdown series. How did you come up with the concept and who helped you put it together? When we started Broderick’s we wanted it to be about us and our story. That meant the brand had to be fun, too – after all, it’s a reflection of two big eejits who own a chocolate factory!
There were plenty of dull bakeries out there who were actually managing to make cakes sound boring so we gave ours tongue-twisting names like Tiff Toff in the Tuffen, which is our Tiffin bar, and Carammental, our Belgian chocolate caramel shortbread slice. We have a fleet of brightly branded vehicles to match; passing the Sticky Wicky Licky Lorry never fails to put a smile on people’s faces. Our brand ambassadors are cartoon versions of myself and Barry called the Cake Crusaders. We worked with the same UK design company as Nike to give them a suitably madcap website. It’s high time that the boys moved out of home, though, so you’ll be able to see their fantasy factory online soon. It’s a feast for the eyes!
Which one of your products is your absolute favourite and why? I love the Gooey Ooozy Chocolatey Solid Brick, or Chocolate Brownie as it’s better known. We worked on it every day for six months until we got the recipe just right. I used to come in every morning to taste a big batch of tester brownies fresh from the oven.
Do you have a secret to share with us? Like a secret ingredient from one of your recipes? A secret method? Just a secret?If I told you what goes into our secret recipe caramel I’d have to kill you (or Barry would kill me!) but I’ll let you in on a one little tip. We put an extra layer of chocolate between the shortbread and the caramel in our Caramel Slice which pushes the taste from yummy to heavenly.
Don’t forget it’s FOOD Week on IMAGE.ie, so stay tuned for more delicious treats coming up.