Chateau Bleu Brownie Bakery - The Independent Tees Collective

24 Apr 2021

If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times, I'm a total sweet-toothed fiend. I'm the type of person that always has room for pudding, and would most likely choose a sweet snack over savoury. Thankfully, we've got absolutely tons of sweet treat businesses, especially in the brownie department, so I absolutely had to get one of my favourite brownie businesses into my Indie Tees Collective series.

Chateau Bleu Brownie Bakery are a Darlo-based biz, and as the name might suggest, they specialise in gourmet brownies, as well as a range of other delicious goodies. I'm talking about cupcakes, tiffin, loaf slices, biscuits... the list just goes on! It's also owned by the loveliest couple and together, they're taking the Teesside baking game by storm, so have a read of this post and find out more about this local gem!

Hello! Let's start with a bit of an introduction. Who are you and what is your business all about?

My name is Grace, and I’m the founder and head baker of Chateau Bleu Brownie Bakery. Our business model is based on creating a luxury brownie brand at an affordable price.

Where did the inspiration for Chateau Bleu come from? What made you want to kickstart it?

The inspiration for Chateau Bleu came from years of working in bakeries, and even running my own high street café and patisserie in Yarm, where I realised the joy and happiness truly gooey brownies bring to people on a daily basis.

The inspiration for Chateau Bleu as an entire brand came from the fact that we’ve based the business out of our home kitchen, where our house is a shade of baby blue. It seemed like a great place to start a brand, by creating the name around our roots and capturing what we are trying to offer, which is away from the convention polished factory designed desserts but that homemade personal touch. We love the idea that a customer could buy our products, take them out the box and steal the show as if they’d made them themselves!

I think until the lockdown of 2020, home baking had lost its spark, with many of us choosing to buy commercial and pre-packaged, pre-made goods containing a lot of preservatives. The dream back in 2018 was to re-ignite that passion for great tasting desserts, that were fresh and bespoke, something that I learned a lot about in my years working for an artisan bakery.

Which is your favourite brownie to make? Or which brownie is the crowd favourite?

Salted caramel - it was the brownie that first inspired me to try and build a dessert business. We use a very similar recipe to the one used for these salted caramel brownies - at a time where my own personal dietary requirements resulted in me being gluten free, these gluten free brownies were my favourite dessert ever. I have to say though, our customer favourites now are the Cadbury's boxes. We do a whole range of Cadbury's favourites and it outsells everything else.

What do you enjoy most about running Chateau Bleu?

Designing new concepts, brownie flavours and gift options. I love that we can spread joy and excitement about desserts again. You see a lot of people ordering fondant birthday cakes for special occasions, and yet you hear so many people say they don’t like cake! I get a huge amount of enjoyment from a bespoke order, a returning customer and just the value that I feel our brownies are offering to our customers, whether it be for themselves or as gifts.

What has been Chateau Bleu's biggest achievement so far?

So far for myself and my partner, who is also a chef and now works full time in the business, our biggest achievement was successfully switching from our events business model of 2018-2020 to home delivery services and postal service during 2020. Now, not only do we deliver across Teesside, North Yorkshire and North East areas, but we post brownies UK-wide and have delivered as far as Glasgow, Essex and Wales.

What do you love about the Teesside independent scene?

I think Teeside has such an incredible variety of independent businesses for so many sectors, and I truly think we are rival now to the bigger players, such as Newcastle and Manchester on how many independent brands we boast. I think the more that we buy locally and support, the more jobs we create for the people in our area.

What's next for Chateau Bleu? What do you hope for the future?

In the future, we are hoping to expand not only our kitchen, but our team, with the expansion into Chateau Bleu Chocolatier, as well as Chateau Bleu Brownies.

We have a lot of wholesale business starting to return from prior to lockdown, and we’d love to be able to intertwine our new model with our original events model. We are already working with another local start up to be able to showcase dessert set ups at weddings and special occasions for the first time, and we have been taking bookings for weddings from late spring 2021, in line with when the lockdowns ease.

And finally, recommend one other Teesside independent to us!

It’s so hard to recommend one, so here’s some of my favourites - Ezee Teepee, holding lockdown birthdays and tee-pee parties for children, and Beneath the Bark, who are designing interactive children’s play areas for your own home. Both of these business have spotted a great gap in the market to really bring value to customers and their little ones.

Does anyone else feel really hungry for a tray bake or two after reading that? Seriously, writing these foodie posts gets my stomach growling! Hungry tummies aside, how great are Chateau Bleu Brownie Bakery? It's been so lovely to find out more about the people behind the biz and what the next chapter might look like, so if you want to support them, make sure you check our their website, Facebook or Instagram.

Make sure you check back next week for another incredible Teesside independent!

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