A FORMER top cop has opened up a new business, The Chocolate Lounge in Southsea.
Entrepreneur Mick Collins’ affinity for sweets began at a young age. He said: ‘I was so desperate to join the navy I forged my dad’s signature to sign up.
‘On ship I was surrounded by men covered in tattoos, chewing tobacco. I made some truffles using the famous Pusser’s Rum and they loved them! So it kept them sweet.’
After leaving the navy, Mick worked for the CID on cases including the miners’ strikes and the London bombings. But in 2010, he decided he needed a change.
Mick said: ‘I moved to Cyprus to teach English, but making chocolates was always in the back of my mind, I decided to move to Portsmouth and turn something I love into a viable career.’
After completing training to become a master chocolatier, Mick opened a small cafe in Copnor. The chocolates flew off the shelves.
This year, he opened The Chocolate Lounge in Clarendon Road, an extension of his online store Chockablock Limited.
Rolls-Royce then approached Mick and asked him to be its supplier. Mick said: ‘I’ve really tapped into a market.
‘In France, chocolatiers are 10 a penny.
‘But in the UK, it’s just not the same. I make 150 chocolates a day and start at 6am. It takes hours.’
Flavours range from dark chilli and ginger to lemon and lime.
Mick said: ‘It’s an exciting time to be in business in Portsmouth.’