Chocolatier Gabriella Cugno stepped into a world of pure imagination when she was asked to work on Wonka, the new prequel to Roald Dahl’s classic Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

The film, which hit cinemas this weekend, features the backstory of everyone’s favourite eccentric character Willy Wonka, played by Timothée Chalamet, and of course, lots of sweet treats.

Gabriella, 29, was thrilled to be approached back in Easter 2021, but originally assumed she would be catering for the cast and crew. So when she later found out she’d actually be making the chocolates for the hit movie, it was a golden ticket opportunity.

"My time on Wonka started in Summer 2021 and I was on set for about a year, firstly working with the prop team throughout the design process and then continuing to make chocolates for the scenes and handing them out," she exclusively told OK!.

When I was designing the chocolates, I thought a lot about the emotions connected to them and what the scene was, and I knew that if the characters were evil, I'd be using colours like blacks, reds and dark blues.

For just the small chocolates that you saw on screen, which were eaten by the actors and actresses, I ordered about 150kg of chocolate. It was a lot.”

She added: “Lots of the set was not chocolate, but everything you see them eat was. Obviously if it’s a really big part of the scene you couldn't make the entire tree for example, so a section was made of chocolate."

Gabriella had weekly chocolate tastings with the film's director, Paul King, and soon started to get an idea of his vision.

While it was a very time-consuming process, it was one that Gabriella loved.

There wasn't an average time to make the chocolates, but it did take three weeks to make 80 of one of them,” she said. “The delicate hover chocs, which I made 900 of, took a month or six weeks to make.”

The hover chocs – which are designed to look like hoverflies – feature in a scene where Wonka, explains that they give you the power to fly.

Timothy Chalamet is joined by a star-studded cast including Olivia Colman, Matt Lucas, Rowan Atkinson and Jim Carter.

Opening up about what it was like working behind-the-scenes with such big names, Gabriella continued: "It's quite unusual having a chocolatier on a film set and I wanted to enhance the sensory experience because the directors and producers were looking at the chocolates and eating them.

"It was really fun to be in and talking to everyone. Everyone loves chocolate and it was really nice. I was really protective of the chocolates because they were so fragile.

"If anyone touched them, the gold on the hover choc might smudge, or there would be fingerprints on there that you'd see on screen.”

She added: "Everyone knew that and respected it, but I don't think they knew and understood at the time how long they take to make.”

Gabriella feels very lucky to have been involved with creating such an incredible cinema experience, and looks back at her time on set with fond memories.

"It was magical and I feel so proud and grateful to have been able to work on such an amazing project,” she said.

When I watched the film it was really emotional and exciting seeing my creations on screen."

WONKA is in cinemas from 8th December

Check out Gabriella Cugno here:

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