A chocolate-based Bombay Sapphire cocktail sounds like a sure-fire winner – and judges at an international competition agreed, after recognising the creation by New Forest chocolatier Kerry Witt.

Known as Miss Witt in business, Kerry is based at Hordle near New Milton in the New Forest, and has scooped a clutch of prestigious awards for her work.

Her latest accolade saw her take on 47 countries at the Academy of Chocolate Awards in London 2019, when she received a bronze award for her Passion Fruit Chocolate, which was a collaboration with Susanna Cárdenas of Manabí, Ecuador.

She also received highly commended for the signature cocktail, The Lavderstoke, made with Bombay Sapphire, Martini, ginger ale and elderflower cordial.

Miss Witt says the secret of her success access is all about the ingredients and using quality chocolate.

“I have known Susanna Cárdenas for a few years now and know the care of every step that goes into making her chocolate from finding rare cacao beans, to working closely with the farmers, to the final stage of turning the beans into chocolate.”

One thing which makes Kerry unique is that, despite her pastry chef roots, she shuns traditional cream in favour of mineral water when it comes to her recipes.

“I often found that when I used cream with different types of chocolate, it masked the true flavour,” she explains, “I wanted more of a clean and pure flavour.

“I’m also really passionate about the chocolate I use. I know exactly where the chocolate comes from.”

Keith Hurdemen of Felchlin Chocolate Switzerland said: “Kerry has consistently proved herself to be one of the leading chocolatiers in the UK.

“Her many years of awards are a testament to her excellent skills, as a result, she passes on her fantastic knowledge to students of all ages.”

Miss Witt has worked at Le Poussin in Brockenhurst as well as at Splinters in Christchurch and Carey’s Manor, also in Brockenhurst. She also spent time at the Bluebird in Chelsea, working alongside Masterchef judge John Torode, and at one of Marco Pierre White’s restaurants in London.

As well as producing her own chocolate, she runs workshops for both children and adults in her New Milton kitchen.