The woman who eats chocolate for breakfast

Barry Neild and Deborah Rivers, CNNUpdated 28th October 2015
(CNN) — We all know chocolate isn't the answer, no matter how many times our taste buds try to convince us otherwise.
Not so for British former lawyer Helen Pattinson.
On a 1990s trip to South America, Pattinson stumbled upon a place that would change her life forever: an entire town dedicated to chocolate.
San Carlos de Bariloche is a beautiful lakeside town on the slopes of the Andes, where gorgeous alpine scenery has long attracted German and Swiss settlers.
Pattinson and her future husband Simon arrived in the Argentine town more than a decade ago while touring South America during a career break.
They'd sold their house and left behind their jobs as high-flying financial lawyers in London to hunt for inspiration and a way out of the rat race.
Their trip took them through Argentina, Chile and Venezuela.

Eureka moment

Meet Helen Pattinson, a former City lawyer who left her job to travel the world and follow her passion for chocolate.
The mission appeared to falter when Simon was struck with food poisoning as they arrived in Bariloche.
But Pattinson says this soon turned out to be their "eureka moment."
"Simon was actually laid up with an upset stomach for about three days, so we booked ourselves into a hotel," she recalls.
"While he was in there I didn't want to drift too far, so I spent three days walking around this little town, only to discover it had 10 chocolate shops.
"I was in heaven. I've always loved chocolate."
A spark ignited in Bariloche -- known as the City of Chocolate -- was kindled by other events on their journey.
"We ended up in Venezuela and at one point our whole journey was thwarted by cocoa farmers," Pattinson says.
"They were drying cocoa beans completely across the road, because the road is the hottest thing that they can access."
Stranded, they decided to pitch camp in a nearby cocoa plantation for a few days.

'World domination'

In honor of its origins, the Pattinson's chocolate is named after Aztec emperor Montezuma.
"By this time we were completely enthralled by the whole subject of chocolate," says Pattinson.
"Fortunately, South America had so much to offer in terms of its history and the geography and botany of it and we sure weren't short of information about chocolate.
"So we started talking about how we could set up a business around chocolate -- it dominated our thoughts."
Those thoughts didn't fade when the couple eventually returned to the UK.
In August 2000 they founded Montezuma's Chocolates in Chichester, a seaside town south of London.
From a small operation equipped with a "kitchen sink-sized machine" the luxury chocolate company has grown into a serious operation with an annual revenue of more than $11 million.
Having been inspired by their journey to create chocolate, the Pattinsons are now sending their chocolate on its own journey.
With production at 250,000 metric tons of chocolate annually -- roughly equivalent to 25 million bars -- Montezuma is expanding into markets in the United States, China, the Middle East and continental Europe.
"We can't stop creating, we can't stop growing ... so really world domination with chocolate is the key," Pattinson says.
"I am really lucky. I've created a business out of a product that I am passionate about.
"I get to eat chocolate for breakfast every day."
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