Carole Armitage – Chocolate Creator, Adventurer & Mental Health Advocator
Why the move into Chocolate?
From the age of 8, I have loved hot chocolate - it was, and still is, my happy place. I vowed from a very early age that I would make my own hot chocolate recipe without the bitty-ness of powdered chocolate, nor the granules or taste of sugar. As much as I need sugar, I didn't need to be overloaded with it and I found the taste unpalatable.
When I was travelling a lot, it grated on me that hotels only ever served packets of powdered chocolate; household names that everyone knew and loved and therefore regardless of the quality, people would drink it. It was as though no real thought had gone in to servicing people with quality in the hot chocolate arena. Where the tea and coffee selections were a bountiful feast of quality, it felt like hot chocolate was the last choice in the raffle. I see it as my path in life to serve everyone with great quality hot chocolate and raise the quality to the same level of tea and coffee, if not above and beyond!
Why the name 80Noir Ultra?
I wanted a name that would be synonymous with what my brand was trying to achieve.
The very fabric of the brand is about changing societal norms around the current perspective of dark chocolate and pushing our limits to the extreme, not to mention incorporating the various elements of fitness training from endurance, ultra and extreme adventures. Calling it Ultra was, therefore, ultimately an effortless conclusion. "Noir Ultra” never felt complete.
The addition of 80 balances the name whilst also giving insight to our goal of the quality percentage of the chocolate. Additionally I have just found out that having the number at the front puts me top of the pack when lists comes out, like it did in the yellow pages, which can only be a great thing, an unconscious one but a great one nonetheless.
What was the major turning point in your career?
I soft launched 80Noir Ultra in Jan 2019 and it only became my full-time focus in October 2020, so it is still in its infancy. However, the biggest point was submitting my chocolate to the Great Taste Awards and the Women's Product Awards and coming back with great wins.
I always knew that my chocolate was great, and to have it independently verified lifted me from 'wishing' to 'acknowledging' that I have something to be proud of - something that will change people's minds and prove to myself as much as others that the years of research and development have given me an excellent stand point to stand toe to toe with everyone else.
What have you learnt about the importance of wellbeing and self care?
I have always been sporty and the higher the cardio the better, however as I have gotten older, I have really had to take a second look at my body and what it needs. In 2018 I was in running mode, running every day, mainly to help my mental health following a break up. However, it quickly became addictive and when it was time to race the Man V Mountain, unbeknownst to me my body was exhausted and falling apart. It was largely due to this that on the sprint down from Snowdon, I snapped my ATFL. Not knowing this, I continued to finish the race.
Share with us a few things you do for your wellbeing nowadays?
I have my phone on silent, and try not to look at social media first or last thing in the day. I have regular routines for sleep and waking. I meditate every day and have a morning hot chocolate routine to wake me up and bring me to my senses with clarity and focus. I exercise and/or stretch when my body wants to, whether that's walking, running, gym, adventures, stretching, yoga or Tai Chi and I allow myself to relax (not as often as I would like but it's a process). I eat a mainly vegan/vegetarian diet, and avoid eating late.
Lastly, I have 80Noir Ultra every single day, and more often than not, twice a day!