In a rainbow of colours, Isabelle Smith’s bon bons are so shiny and jewel-like they’d catch a magpie’s eye. 

From tiny, intricately detailed oranges and lemons to miniature geometric ‘crystal domes’ flavoured with coconut, cardamom and lime, and pyramids filled with whipped whisky and honey, they’re Instagrammable, edible works of art. 

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Isabelle, who lives near Harleston, founded Twenty Nine Degrees Chocolatiers during the pandemic, as a project to keep her busy when she was made redundant from her job as an estate agent. 

As she explains, making chocolates as presents at Christmas had been a tradition since she was little – and she decided to take things to the next level and teach herself how to make the brightly-coloured creations she had seen a Belgian chocolatier post pictures of online. 

“From about the age of four I used to make truffles with my mum, a really easy ganache rolled in cocoa powder, and fudge and then I’d bag it up and send it to friends,” she says.  

“And then when I moved out after uni, I decided that was going to be my tradition that I would carry on – and if I have kids then I’ll do it with my kids.  

“I was made redundant in lockdown, so was just stuck in the house in winter for three months with nothing to do. Then I saw a photo of a woman in Belgium making chocolates with all the colours. I’ve got photos of the first ones I ever did and I remember being so proud of them when I did them, but looking back at them now, they’re awful,” she laughs 

Once she had perfected her bon bons, Isabelle started selling them, naming her business Twenty Nine Degrees Chocolatiers after the magic temperature that the chocolate is tempered at.  

But getting the process right was a labour of love, as she explains.  

“It’s so technical,” she says. “I hadn’t done any form of science since GCSE, and reading up on this was like A level chemistry. The tempering of the chocolate is all about getting the molecules right and small things can completely ruin it. When I was practising in the kitchen it could be three degrees too warm and it would go wrong. Even getting used to my airbrush gun took maybe four or five months.” 

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But that dedication paid off and Isabelle now has 18 delicious flavours in her repertoire, including rum and raisin, white chocolate and vanilla, salted caramel, almond and amaretto and white chocolate and raspberry.  

She also makes vegan varieties including coffee, rhubarb, dark chocolate, mango, raspberry and fresh mint. 

Her chocolates are sold online via her website, at markets and at a growing number of local delis. 

Isabelle uses Callebaut Belgian chocolate, which, through the Cocoa Horizons Foundation, ensures that producers get a fair deal.  

And she sources ingredients locally and from small producers where she can.  

The rum in her rum and raisin variety comes from AB Gold, Yorkshire-based producers she met at a market. 

And the mint for her vegan mint bon bons couldn't have fewer food miles - it grows right outside her door.  

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The making process starts with coloured cocoa butter, which Isabelle melts down.  

She then uses an airbrush to spray it into a mould to form the shell ready for filling. 

“I do a lot of my tempering by hand,” she says. “I don’t have a massive tempering machine, it’s literally just me and a bowl of chocolate and a scraper and doing it on the surface, proper old school,” she says.  

Some bon bons, like the salted caramel, are quite straightforward, while others have more stages. 

“The salted caramel is quite easy to make - I spray the cocoa butter, do the shell, leave that to set, put the salted caramel in, put the bottoms on and then flip them out,” she says.  

“And then some of them, like the coconut cardamon and lime, has got two ganaches and a biscuit filling as well, so you’ve got to wait for one filling to set then do one layer and then another layer, so there’s quite a lot of waiting.  

“It’s like on Bake Off on bread week when they’re sat by the oven waiting for things to prove or cool down.” 

Isabelle moved to a village near Harleston in the summer – during the height of the heatwave. She is originally from Northumberland and had been living in Hertfordshire before she and her boyfriend moved to Norfolk, where her dad went to school. 

She loves rural life and is already feeling right at home here – especially now she’s got her own mini chocolate factory in her back garden. 

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And after the Christmas rush, she’s looking forward to perhaps experimenting with making different products.  

“I haven’t done Easter eggs actually, which I might do this year, which would be fun because my chocolates are quite small, whereas with an Easter egg you’ve got a big canvas to play with, so you can be more creative with what’s actually on it.”  

With 18 varieties of chocolates to choose from, can Isabelle pick a favourite? 

“I think the white chocolate and raspberry is my favourite, it’s got a pate de fruits, kind of like a jam in it, which is made with fresh raspberries.  

“And I absolutely love salted caramel – when I make a bulk batch of salted caramel, I have to stop myself from eating it with a spoon,” she laughs.  

Isabelle will be at Bungay Christmas Street Market on December 4. For more information visit or follow on Instagram @twentyninedegreeschocolatiers.