Easter means two things: celebrating a guy who escaped from a tomb and eating tons of chocolate. That seems like a recipe for success for chocolate magnates, but British chocolatiers had a hellish Easter season this year—and it’s all because of Brexit.
The New York Times explains the debacle thusly: Britain struck a trade deal with the European Union last year, which spared the Brits from a significant number of otherwise paralyzing tariffs. But British chocolate exporters are still stuck in a bureaucratic mess involving never-ending paperwork, chocolate accidentally delivered to the wrong countries, and steep customs duties. This is bad news, especially since chocolate is the UK’s second-largest food and drink export, the Times reports.
Who’s this affecting? When you think of British chocolate, you might think of Cadbury—but Britain is also the home to a variety of artisanal “bean-to-bar” chocolate makers who’ve suffered under Brexit. The Times cites chocolatier Alastair Gower, who’s successfully sent just one batch of product to Europe since Brexit. The Times writes:
“The shipment of about $8,000 worth of chocolate sat in limbo for weeks on its way to Holland. Once it finally arrived, his customer was asked to pay the equivalent of about $5,000 in duties because Mr. Gower had not filled out the import statement correctly.”
Other small British chocolate markers are struggling to import raw ingredients from Europe. “It’s to the point where I’m thinking of borrowing a Renault van and just driving to the Netherlands myself,” one struggling chocolatier told the Times, citing issues importing from his preferred cacao supplier. “It’s a 10-hour drive each way. But I’m not sure I have another choice.” Chocolate road trip. I’d watch that movie.