Chocolate lovers across Ryedale may have heard of Birdgate Chocolatiers in Pickering.

The treat shop was first established more than 20 years ago in 2001, originally trading from Smiddy Hill.

Now, they sell a range of handmade chocolate gifts from Birdgate and renamed their business after their new address in 2010.

The business currently employs five staff including Ian Peacock, a former chef, who was looking for a new direction in his career.

He said: “I was previously a chef and wanted a change. Having always liked chocolate, it seemed like a good thing to try.”

He also said that the staff work very hard making new things as well as traditional sweets that people always like such as their rose and violet creams and various caramels.

The ambition of the chocolatiers is growing with the team in the process of opening an ice cream parlour next door to their chocolate emporium.

Ian said: “Having a business like this gives us the opportunity to make things we would like and also the satisfaction of creating unusual and unique products, which are always appreciated by our customers.”

Customer satisfaction didn’t fade when the business was closed during lockdown.

The Birdgate team also ran an online shop, which they set up to keep themselves afloat.

“We were very lucky through the pandemic,” says Ian.

“Although we had to close, we had an online shop up and running so it gave us a good boost and we were very well supported by local people with deliveries.”

It appears there is a lot of enjoyment in the work Ian and the team do as he doesn’t think there is a downside to the business, though he says being self-employed can be difficult at times.

“The work every self-employed person has takes up more time than you would prefer to spend and it would be nicer to put that into creating new things.”

Ian is from Pickering himself and he is happy that he has made a mark on his local town and he is appreciative of the support Birdgate has received as one of its local businesses.

“I am very pleased to have been able to open a small business offering local people something a little different,” he said.

“Although we aren’t an essential type of shop, we are lucky we get lots of good comments from local people expressing how pleased they are that we are here for them to buy gifts for their friends and family especially at Christmas and Easter.

“Hopefully they read this and know we appreciate them and their support.”


Are you a Ryedale business? Do you want to feature in a forthcoming Trader of the Week feature?

Email us with some background to your business and your contact details at