ENGLAND Going to Manchester? Got a sweet tooth?
Jump in a bus or subway and head directly to SLATTERY, a shop located
in the suburban town of Whitefield, about nine miles north of downtown
Here you will find, in a glittering three-story building that once housed
a 100-year-old pub, a family business devoted to one of the worlds
best-loved foods: chocolate.
The universal language of indulgence, is how John Slattery,
a second-generation confectioner, describes the human races craving
for chocolate, one which dates back to 1502 when Christopher Columbus
landed on a Honduran island and was given a gift of cocoa beans.
Slattery and the eighty-six artisans who work for him spend all of their
time figuring out how to satisfy the cravings of even the most desperate
of chocoholics. On offer are such hand-crafted delicacies as chocolate
mousses, hoops, cakes, cream roulades, Gateauxes, muffins, pops, spoons,
baubles and pyramids.
Slattery and company will also build chocolate castles, cars, trucks,
handbags and shoes for you. Or if edible statues are your thing, theyll
sculpt one to meet your specifications; on exhibit in the shop is a six-foot-high
bride made entirely out of white chocolate!
We can make just about anything people want, said John Slattery.
It might take us a week, but we can do the impossible, such as the
full-sized bed and headboard we made for a local hotel celebrating a 50th
The largest and most difficult challenge Slattery ever faced was when
the city of Manchester ordered a 15 ½ foot-high, 4-tiered cake
(with a 6 square foot bottom) for a St Patricks Day celebration.
It took us a long time to figure out how to engineer such a mammoth
edifice; it was mostly cake but parts of it had to be fabricated. The
result was quite fantastic; the story made all the local papers.
Slatterys is a patisserie as well as a chocolatier. Thus you will
find on sale various kinds of breads, rolls, tarts, pies, flans, biscuits
and sandwiches. There is also a dining room on the second floor which
serves breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea. Here you will also find The
Slattery Chocolate Challenge. For about $2500 you will be offered
a large portion of our American style chocolate fudge cake served
warm, with a portion of homemade chocolate ice cream, a portion of fresh
cream and two chocolate pots filled with liquid chocolate sauce. Add a
glass of any of our delicious hot chocolate drinks and the challenge begins!
If you manage to eat all of this (without the help of your friends) you
will be rewarded with a chocolate medal and a 100 gram box of handmade
chocolatesin case you have not had enough chocolate! Warning...only
serious chocoholics should attempt this challenge!
The Slattery story dates back to 1967, when Bernard and Margaret Slattery
opened a bakery in the town of Crumpsall. Bernard had started his working
life as a page boy in the Mayfield Cinema, Whitefield. Military service
in WW II followed; when a battlefield injury damaged his hearing, he was
assigned to the cookhouse and bakery. After the war he went to work for
the shipping company, Manchester Liners, baking bread and cakes while
sailing between the UK and Canada.
He then took courses at Salford Technical College and became an accredited
confectioneer and chocolatier. The success of the Crumpsall shop enabled
Bernard and Margaret (who handled the business side of things) to expand
the operation. Their two children, John and Ann, eventually joined forces
with them, and their children and spouses after them.
Today, twelve members of the Slattery family work in the Whitefield shop.
It will always remain a family business, John said. Were
content to keep it that way, if only because it means we can ensure personal
service and effort. It also allows us to grow and change with the times.
For example, if a customer comes to us and requests a cake or pie that
they might have sampled on their travels, we can fulfill that request
almost immediately. Its important for us to embrace change and be
responsive, especially in an age of ferocious competition from the supermarket
The Slattery business plan also includes a cooking school. Twelve students
at a time can sign up for intensive classes in baking and dessert-making;
most of the students are professional chefs or enthusiastic amateurs looking
to learn new skills.
The company is also partnered with the Richemont Club, a cookery school
in Switzerland; and it is a member as well of the British Confectioners
Association and the National Association of Master Bakers. John Slattery
has also won multiple awards from these groups over the years, including
one for being the Confectioner and Chocolatier of the Year.
He is also the author of two books, Creative Chocolate and
Chocolate Cakes for Weddings and Celebrations.
Ive been working in the family business for 46 years now,
six days a week, ringing up 65-70 hours a week. I still love my work,
but I wouldnt mind slowing down a bit in the future, especially
now that my two sons, aged 36 and 34, are capable of taking over from
me, John said. That doesnt mean that my love for chocolate
will ever wane. Its such a delicious and healthy food, especially
when taken in moderation. A life without chocolate isnt worth living.
(197 Bury New Road, Whitefield, Manchester M45 6GE, slattery.co.uk,