Mother and daughter from Potton launch tasty truffle business after Multiple Sclerosis diagnosis

Jyoti and Alicia are looking for help with affording tools, a tempering machine, marketing, and stall fees.

Monday, 24th May 2021, 2:35 pm
Updated Monday, 24th May 2021, 2:36 pm

A Potton mother and daughter have teamed up to start a new baking business and prove that a life-changing medical diagnosis shouldn't stop you achieving your dreams.

Jyoti Hart 47, along with her daughter Alicia Soni, 14, have launched Truffle Bombs from their kitchen, and are now fundraising for tools and a tempering machine.

In 2015, Jyoti was given the devastating news that she had Multiple Sclerosis, and now the mother-of-four wants to inspire others to make the most of life and not hold back.

Jyoti and Alicia; their delicious truffles.

Jyoti told the Chronicle: "The children take it in their stride - they know I'm not going to let this beat me!

"I love the time baking that Alicia and I have, trying different combinations, and I love the end result.

"We're giggling and laughing, it's quality time together. Our little space of heaven."

Talking about her condition, she added: "Yes, it's scary, but you have to carry on and look after your health. Listen to your body and all the things you dream you can do. There are ways around it!"

Truffle Bombs.

Before her diagnosis, Jyoti was working as a school receptionist when she began to have slurred speech and stumble on occasions.

Doctors told her that there was "nothing wrong" and that she just "needed to eat better" - but when Jyoti had a numb patch on her torso in August 2015, the alarm bells rang.

After an appointment with a locum doctor she was referred to the Western Eye Hospital Hospital, London, for tests and an MRI scan, and told not to drive anymore.

"It was panic inducing," said Jyoti. "I thought, 'But the problem is my torso, not my head?'"

Finally, after several months of more tests and MRI scans, in December 2015 Jyoti was given the news that she had Multiple Sclerosis.

She remembered: "We recorded the conservation [with the doctor] because I probably wasn't going to take everything in.

"When I first started having problems, I thought I'd got a trapped nerve - I didn't even know what MS was.

"Imagine you have a wire to an appliance; so the 'wire' or coating around your nerves - the myelin sheath - has become frayed and you can see the wires inside it."

Determined to carry on as normal, Jyoti worked as a receptionist for as long as she could, before the job became too demanding.

She also discovered that the brain was brilliantly clever at "reprogramming", finding that some activities - such as creating hair plaits - would initially seem difficult, but the brain would eventually figure out how to do the activity again.

Then, lockdown created an opportunity.

Jyoti said: "This lockdown, we were constantly baking cakes, trying new things, and then we made these truffles.

"The feedback we had was absolutely amazing and we decided to launch Truffle Bombs as a real business.

"We need funding for tools that help my hands, and to buy chocolate. We also need to buy boxes and help fund fees for upcoming markets and marketing, to fully get our name out there."

The mother and daughter have tried delicious flavours, including Oreo and salted caramel, Aero bubbles, and popping candy. Jyoti's husband, of course, is "quality control"!

As the world opens up, the ladies have their sights set on holding pop up shops and attending markets, as well as planning potential events such as truffle and wine evenings.

Paying tribute to Alicia, Jyoti said: "When my daughter was just nine, and was my carer a lot of the time, she would help by pressing down on my hands as the inflammation was just too unbearable - or run around countless times to help make things easier for me.

"She helps with rolling the truffles as my hands don't work so well any more.

"It goes without saying for Alicia, she's very very intuitive."

Now, the mother and daughter are looking to the future, and hope the community in Chronicle country can support their new venture.

Meanwhile, Alicia is working hard and enjoys studying Food Tech at Stratton Upper School, while Jyoti is also on Cloud Nine as she recently married her husband in Cyprus during October.