CROWDS gathered in anticipation for the opening of Pembrokeshire’s new chocolate factory on Saturday morning.

The Wickedly Welsh Chocolate Company threw open its doors with a loud cheer at 10am, with local MP Stephen Crabb doing the tape cutting honours.

Chocolate lovers Mark Owen and his wife Karen are behind the new business on Withybush Road, having moved to the area with their children from Gloucester last summer.

Mark said: “My interest in chocolate came from Karen, who is originally from Llanboidy. She worked at Pemberton’s chocolate factory 20 years ago, getting involved in pretty much everything from making, to marketing, to distribution.

“We wanted to take on Pemberton’s as a business, and despite that not working out, we didn't lost out passion for the idea.”

Mark and Karen and their team of 11 full and part time staff have been working tirelessly bringing the idea to life over the past six weeks, achieving their target of opening in time for Easter.

Mark said they coped with the pressure well.

“There was a train leaving the station on the 12th and we had to be on it.

“We had a huge turnout. We had a lot of the people here from Pembrokeshire Action to Combat Hardship (PATCH), music playing in the car park, we had three bands on stage, and Radio Pembrokeshire were live on air here for three hours.”

Stephen Crabb said: “The Wickedly Welsh Chocolate Company is a fantastic addition to Pembrokeshire’s tourism offer. Mark and Karen have done a great job in creating a place which is vibrant, full of life and colour, with great tasting chocolate. I’m sure it will be a huge hit with visitors and locals alike.”

The opening event also saw the winners announced for the ‘Taste of Pembrokeshire Bar’ competition, which was part of a five week build up to the opening.

Mark said: “We invited the Pembrokeshire public to invent their own chocolate flavours that would represent Pembrokeshire, and we had over 125 suggestions. There were two that were so good, that we couldn’t decide between them.”

The winners were Rhiannon Codd’s ‘Smugglers Spice’ and Gemma Warlow’s ‘Pembrokeshire Cwtch.’

Wickedly Welsh is also giving back to the community having chosen PATCH as its charity of the year, with a contribution being made to PATCH from every ‘Taste of Pembrokeshire’ bar sold.

Mark said: “We want to be seen as adding value to the community, so working with local charities is something we want to do. “

The couple's objective for the business is to establish stability, become a tourist destination, as well as a nice place to visit for locals.

Mark said: “The plan is for us to be able to trade as much as possible from here, but build up a community of retailers who will stock our product.

“We want to get our chocolate out to Pembrokeshire, across the rest of Wales, then hopefully into the UK and maybe a bit of Ireland.”