A Lifetime Affair with Chocolates 倾注一生的 巧克力爱恋

Ross James Harvey

Founder of Chokolait


EZOZ8-5.jpg“We’ve seen many average cafes and restaurants being opened in Melbourne, more chains and franchise on the high street pumping stuff out without any care, passion or love. We thought that if we want to be in the F&B business, we have to own and manage our own business.”

What happens when you have perfected an all-time favourite ingredient? Over centuries, one of life’s most delightful desserts – chocolates – are adored by many, used as natural remedy for pain and shock and even as gifts to showcase love and adoration for another Homo sapien. Chokolait founded by Ross James Harvey is a name originally known as Chokolait Hub. Essenze interviews Harvey on his lifetime passion perfecting the science of delectable cocoa making.

Opened since 2007, Ross James Harvey with his wife Mariana have fostered their pursuit towards perfection through their love for chocolate-making. Their simple philosophy in this family-owned business is to make and serve extraordinary chocolates using only the best ingredients and paying the finest attention towards a full chocolate experience.

Using only genuine Belgian courverture chocolate, the art of chocolate making, is in the hands of a truly experienced culinary professional who had years perfecting his skill and taste bud. Harvey has not only gone through professional culinary training, but also years working in the F&B industries taking up technical roles in marketing and business development and also cooking for Asia’s strictest critics. His journeys have covered Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore and Indonesia.

“Because I was exposed to so much [of Asian cuisine], Asia became a part of me. There’s just so much to admire coupled with new adventures and excitingly new tastes,” said Harvey.

The Mandarin Ducks: It was when he moved to the Philippines in 1980 to head and expand the Asian headquarter of a company that he was working for that he met his current wife – without knowing that, years later, they will eventually start Chokolait together in Melbourne, Australia. Now Mariana Harvey is the sole Truffle Maker for both of their shops in Melbourne.

“Rolling the truffles is an art and she [Mariana] does that better than anyone that I’ve [ever] known.”

Known as Melbourne’s Best Belgian Chocolate retailer, the Harveys pride themselves in providing exceptional chocolate experience no matter how lengthy or brief a visit is at their store and make a point to place the quality and product development of its chocolate making alongside customer’s feedback.

“The most satisfying thing for us is when we put our products on the shelves and people who comes in want to buy them immediately. We take pleasure in their visual feast before they actually taste our product.”

“We’ve seen many average cafes and restaurants being opened in Melbourne, more chains and franchise on the high street pumping stuff out without any care, passion or love. We thought that if we want to be in the F&B business, we have to own and manage our own business.”

The famous Pavlova: The chocolate pavlovas, one of Chokolait’s signature dessert, are made fresh from the oven every morning. They are made from the finest Belgian chocolate infused with double cream and served with seasonal strawberries specially picked from the market by Ross. This special recipe has been thoroughly perfected through customer’s feedback consisted of 50% Asian clientele who prefer a softer and less sugary concoction.

The Competition in the Chocolate Business: Harvey touched on the challenges of running a dessert store and how to treat his staff more than just their employees, as well as the principal to achieving perfection. With more chains and franchises popping up every day on the high street, it is only obvious that Chokolait will need to step up their game in this competitive retail and F&B industry. Despite the demand to maintain quality sweets, their venture allow freedom for creativity, an advantage almost non-existent in franchise businesses.

“The most satisfying thing for us is when we put our products on the shelves and people who comes in want to buy them immediately. We take pleasure in their visual feast before they actually taste our product.”

即使跨越数个世纪,巧克力依旧是被世人热捧的甜品之一,除了作为疼痛与打击的自然疗法辅助品,甚至可当做礼物表达对于一个人的爱意和恋慕。由Ross James Harvey创办的“Chokolait” (最初被称为 Chokolait Hub),至于将最喜爱的原料发挥得尽善尽美是什么境界?Essenze透过采访Harvey叙述他倾注终生激情,制作完美愉悦可可的理论。

Ross James Harvey和妻子Mariana自2007年开始,在制作巧克力的热情驱使下,力求传递手工巧克力的醇香甜美。这个家族企业的简单哲理是使用最好原材料造就精致巧克力,并在过程中投注了无限心力,反复琢磨和精益求精。

坚持沿用纯正比利时原料制作而成的巧克力艺术,也掌控在Harvey这名具备实际烹饪经验的专业人士手中,他同时聚集强大技能和味蕾。他不仅历经专业的烹饪培训,也在餐饮领域就业多年,担任营销和业务发展技术工作,并曾为亚洲最严苛的评论家呈上美食。他的旅程足迹遍布日本、马来西亚、菲律宾、香港、台湾,新加坡和印尼。

“由于不断接触各式亚洲菜肴,亚洲也成为我的一部分。除了令人艳羡特色风味,还有不断加入令人兴奋的创新口味。”

鸳鸯伴侣:1980年他在菲律宾领导和扩大一家公司在亚洲的总部,并且姻缘巧合遇到了现任妻子 – 几年后,他们最终一起在澳大利亚墨尔本开创Chokolait。现在Mariana Harvey是负责他们墨尔本店面独一无二的松露巧克力制作。

“揉合带层次的松露巧克力是种艺术,Mariana的制作手艺应该是目前我认知当中最好的一个。”

而他们被誉为墨尔本最出色的比利时巧克力零售商的同时,Harveys自豪献上最好的巧克力口味体验给予常连或者短暂停留的顾客,并透过客户的反馈不断改善巧克力的质量和开发产品。

“在墨尔本,漫山遍野的咖啡馆和餐厅在大街上林立,以连锁店与特许经营商业化方式占多数,但却欠缺心血,激情或爱意。因此我们决定如果欲开展餐饮业务,必须是自主拥有并管理的独创事业。”

著名的Pavlova: Pavlova巧克力是Chokolait的招牌甜点之一,坚持每天早上新鲜出炉,在精选的比利时巧克力注入浓鲜奶油,然后加入他们在市场上精心挑选的当季草莓。这个独特食谱已通过客户意见回馈彻底完善改良,其中约50%亚洲客户偏爱柔和少糖的调制口感。

巧克力行业竞争:对于经营甜点店的各项挑战,还有不仅是主雇关系,需更优化员工管理策略,以及实现完美主义。随着更多连锁和特许经营店在大街上涌现,Chokolait必须在交锋激烈的零售和餐饮领域的游戏中增强他们的作战装备。尽管需要保持高质量的巧克力产品,但他们拥有自主业务的自由创作力,这是有别于特许经营方式的最大优势。

“最觉得心满意足的是当我们把产品放在货架上,进来的人们会想要立刻购买。在真正品尝产品之前,我们乐于感受他们的视觉盛宴。”


by Monica Tong

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