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Scottish shop’s sweets head to Oscars




In a storyline improbable enough for Hollywood, a vegan chocolatier in a remote Scottish port town has made the confectionery to be given to silver screen icons at next month’s Oscars.

Fiona McArthur’s luxury chocolates will be handed out to Bradley Cooper, Emma Stone and other VIPs at cinema’s biggest annual night, with each nominee in the main categories to be treated to a box.

McArthur, 37, only opened her small chocolate shop in Campbeltown, western Scotland, in 2019 but it soon caught the eye of the company responsible for assembling Academy Awards goody bags. At first she thought it was a hoax.

But after verifying the firm online, she realized the offer to help fill the gift packs worth tens of thousands of dollars for the March 10 ceremony was genuine.

“It’s mind blowing! I can’t believe it still,” she told AFP from “Fetcha”, her self-owned and run shop.

“The best director, best actor, actress, supporting actor and supporting actress – they all get one of my boxes. I’m really excited… it’s amazing!” she added.

McArthur, a film buff, saw most of the nominated films at her local art-deco cinema, opened in 1913, with notebook in hand to jot down ideas for the tailor-made boxes to come.

She ended up designing six different vegan chocolates inspired by this award year’s biggest films.

The “Oppenheimer” chocolate, inspired by the 13-Oscars nominated drama about the father of the atomic bomb, resembles a ball of fire.

The yellow and orange truffle has a hard shell with popping candy “so when you bite through, it kind of explodes in your mouth” with a chilli after-burn that “heats up your tongue,” she explained.

The chocolate for dark comedy “Poor Things,” a female “Frankenstein” story up for 11 awards, was based on Portuguese “pastel de nata” egg tarts, which lead character Bella Baxter gorges on.

The inside of the chocolate is custard flavored, with cinnamon on top to give it a baked look.

“Barbie” is represented by a heart-shaped pink chocolate flavored with strawberry and rose.

But the hearts are “kind of rough… like her journey through Barbieland into the real world is not a smooth journey, it’s full of angles,” McArthur noted.

For “Maestro,” about the legendary U.S. composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein, she created depictions of musical note bars from cocoa butter.

She delicately imprinted them on the chocolates, which also contain a salt and pepper filling to represent Bernstein and his wife Felicia’s “separate… but together” lives.

Martin Scorsese’s “Killers of the Flower Moon” is honored using dark chocolate and caramel ganache with flecks of lilac, yellow and green.

Lastly, “The Holdovers” is reimagined as a dark chocolate shell with cherry and ice cream interior.

‘Going to Hollywood’

Before sealing each of her boxes and shipping them by post to Los Angeles, McArthur slipped in a booklet explaining the inspirations behind her sweet creations.

It is a long way to Tinseltown from her mother’s humble Campbeltown kitchen, where she honed her skills.

Part of McArthur’s Hollywood appeal may be that she runs the “luxury micro-business” with environmentalism and health consciousness front and centre.

The chocolatier herself is vegan, and noted several nominees are too, including Emma Stone and Paul Giamatti.

She does not use plastic and pledges to plant trees with every order.

Meanwhile her vegan, gluten-free chocolates are made with organic and fair-trade ingredients “as far as possible,” and her Oscars creations are alcohol-free.

“The chocolate is made with rice milk powder,” McArthur explained. “And then a lot of the chocolates that I make have ganache on the inside and so I use a water ganache.”

Her Oscars role has led to celebrity status in Campbeltown, with people stopping her in the street to offer congratulations.

So much so that her shop, where her mother helps out, is no longer able to meet local demand for the Oscars assortment.

“We are sorry, the Awards collection is out of stock,” reads a placard in the window.

Also displayed in the window is a small red carpet and a sign stating: “Fetcha is going to Hollywood.”


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