TOKYO, Amsterdam and Lima – Alastair Gower is clocking up the air miles, all in the pursuit of chocolate perfection!

The entrepreneur, who runs award-winning craft chocolate makers Chocolate Tree alongside his wife Friederike, will have travelled more than 12,000 miles within the space of just a few short weeks.

The business, which is based at the former Knowes Farm Shop, near East Linton, has been branching out to Japan and the Netherlands, with Alasdair getting ready to head to Peru to look at where the core ingredient of his products come from.

He said: “I love an adventure and love travelling and this is an opportunity to do that.

“When I was young, I wanted to travel but have a purpose. I wanted to be seeing the world but having a purpose.”

Alastair said it was about making the world “a little bit more equal”.

Chocolate Tree currently has shops in Haddington, where its factory was previously based, as well as in Edinburgh.

Alastair and Friederike spent a week in Japan alongside Salon du Chocolat, a chocolate festival, which saw Chocolate Tree in Osaka and Tokyo.

Alastair, who spoke to the Courier as he was travelling to Amsterdam, said: “They hold these events in department stores.

“It is a really dense city environment and these department stores are absolutely massive.

“We were on the ninth floor and the entire floor is like a massive festival.

“It is so, so big and the buildings are huge – it is bigger than Jenners [in Edinburgh], it is massive.”

The trip to Japan was a first for Alastair, who discovered that there was a genuine love of high-end chocolate in the country.

He said: “There is a real demand for high-end patisserie and high-end chocolate there. We fit right in and also at the high end they are looking for really premium products and are very excited about them.

“The products sell for about the equivalent of £12 a bar.”

Now attention turns to a trip to South and Central America.

Alastair intends to meet some of those who are involved at the beginning of the Chocolate Tree’s chocolate-making process.

He said that making the trip would allow him to “bring the story” back to the customers and add further transparency to the business.

He said: “We know for sure who we are dealing with, what they are getting paid, what the quality is like and building a closer relationship with them.”

Chocolate Tree opened a chocolaterie in Edinburgh in 2009 and has gone on to pick up a number of awards for its products.

Items range from artisan chocolates to organic bars and from hot chocolate to its bean to bar range.

The organic range features a number of unusual combinations, including bramble and cardamom, strawberry and pepper, and even haggis spice.

Alastair and Friederike have travelled to various parts of the world, ranging from Peru and Colombia to Madagascar, to source cacao for their range of chocolate products.