Top London Chocolatier Paul A Young has set his sights for expansion on Manchester as cacao prices rise to their highest in 40 years. 

British Baker reported in November that Young plans to expand his four-strong business to span from Scotland to the south of England. It seems the first target is Manchester.

Young said: “Manchester has the biggest food buzz in the UK at the moment. Hawksmoor is there, Simon Rogan is there... and it is less than two hours from London.

“We are looking for sites in Manchester. It is on the wish list this year and we want to make it happen.”

Meanwhile, cacao prices are high and Young urges buys to go direct to the growers, rather than using "a middle man", in order to help prices drop. The price of cacao depends on the quality bought, but Young says buying at the top end is costly.

He said: “We have always spent significantly more to buy quality. If everyone buys poor quality chocolate, prices will go up.

“Buying direct means cutting out the middle man and giving the money back to the growers - that will keep prices down. Paying a bit more for good chocolate isn’t a bad thing. People should buy one good bar instead of 10 poor quality bars. We are spending wrongly.

“There is a lot of work to be done to protect cacao - it is a long haul process.”

While Young has absorbed some of the rising cost - prices of his truffles haven’t risen in three years - he is forced to pass some onto the customer.

Young currently runs sites in Soho, where he is mainly based, Bank, Islington and within Heal’s on Tottenham Court Road.