The Leader is continuing to put the spotlight on local independent traders, producers and high street heroes across Wrexham and Flintshire.

If you know of or are a business that goes above and beyond, or has a great story to tell, we want to hear from you, and celebrate our local traders and producers. You can let us know via our Q&A or email for more details.


They say 'choose a job you love, and you never have to work a day in your life'.

If that's true, effectively Jo Edwards hasn't worked for 15 years.

The 47-year-old is somewhat of a real life Willy Wonka, spending her days creating and selling that most sweet of treats, chocolate.

It's a far cry from where she initially started out. Having gained a degree in English Language and worked as a publicity officer, Jo quickly realised office jobs weren't for her - "I couldn't keep still".

During a stint in various retail roles, she started making chocolates for family and friends to give as gifts. From there people started requesting boxes of the delicious goodies.

It was then a 'now or never' decision that Jo's never looked back from. And Aballu Artisan Chocolatier began.

The chocolatier goes into more detail about the business: "We make a wide range of handcrafted chocolate products, some using local ingredients, such as gins, liqueurs and coffee.

"Award-winning truffles, handpoured chocolate bars, chocolate pizzas, and hot chocolate pastes are just some of our own ranges, all created using traditional techniques married with modern finishes and flavours.

"We also enjoy collaborating with other great local food and drink producers to make bespoke chocolates that let their products shine (including Angel Feathers real fruit spirits).

"Using an edible printing system, one of our favourite jobs is making chocolate 'postcards' from artwork and photographs.

"Being able to have fun with flavours and products is amazing, and we've become known for doing something a little different (chocolate 'jam on toast', chocolate pizzas in a CD case, are just two of these) but always with quality being at the forefront of our mind.

"We also create bespoke products for other businesses, including chauffeurs, perfumiers, and financial organisations."

Chocolate-based goodies from Aballu Artisan Chocolatier.

Chocolate-based goodies from Aballu Artisan Chocolatier.

As regular readers of this feature will know, I love an origins story behind a business name, and Aballu is no different.

Jo explains: "I wanted a Welsh name, and the word 'aballu' kept popping up.

"I grew to love it, and it works even if you don't know it's Welsh.

"It basically means 'and such things', and very much a North Walian word."

As if days filled with chocolate aren't already amazing, Jo has some great moments in business.

She said: "My most memorable has to be my official Guinness World Record attempt to celebrate 10 years in the chocolate industry.

"I had to hand roll more than 47 chocolate truffles in two minutes, which I did at Llangollen Food Festival in 2016. My official World Record is 49 - phew!

"My proudest moment is very different. My family sold artwork that my Nanan, Pat Rayfield, had painted whilst living with dementia.

"I turned some of these pieces of art into edible postcards, and sold them at fairs and events, donating some of the profits to Dementia Friendly Wrexham to continue to support the Memory Loss Art Group that the sale of the artwork itself had established.

"It feels like it's part of Nanan's legacy."

People can be very particular or specific about their chocolate-based tastes. Any strange requests or stories from customers?

"Garlic chocolate!" exclaims Jo. "We were asked whether we could create some chocolates using real garlic.

"I'm always up for a challenge, so set about working on this.

"The only problem is that I hate garlic. It won't be a flavour that will make it into any of our boxes of truffles, that's for sure!"

Chocolate-based goodies from Aballu Artisan Chocolatier.

Chocolate-based goodies from Aballu Artisan Chocolatier.

Talking with Jo, it's clear she not only enjoys what she does but she takes her role in the food and drink community seriously.

She said: "Running Aballu has given me opportunities that I may never have had if I'd continued doing 'proper' jobs.

"Being one of the Role Models for Big Ideas Wales is one of my favourites.

"I get to meet so many young people who inspire me as much as I hope I do them.

"I am also part of the Llangollen Food Festival Committee, and the Llangollen & Dee Valley Food & Drink Group.

"Being part of the food and drink community in North East Wales is amazing!

"Everyone is so supportive of each other, even when they might be considered a rival. It's a very special group of people."

Aballu Artisan Chocolatier

The Cocoa Rooms,

Station Road,


Wrexham, LL12 0HE

07918 882585 (new website on the way)