chocoMe Magazin 8TH ISSUE MARCH 2015
WITH THE EASTER RAFFINÉE!
INTRODUCING the VOILÉ PRODUCTS OUR DISTRIBUTOR IN ENGLAND The GERE wine-hotel in VILLÁNY CHOCOME's DESIGNER
THIS YEAR'S LIMITED EDITION EASTER chocoMe RaffinĂŠe CREATION
chocoMe would like to surprise it's customers with a very Easter themed creation this year, based on the RaffinĂŠe product family. Mostly children recieve presents at Easter, so we came up with a completely new taste for the limited edition product. We covered the freshly toasted almond pieces in soft and creamy milk chocolate with 40% cocoa content, then rolled them in finely ground cocoa powder, to create these egg-shaped delicacies.
INTRODUCING OUR Voilé PRODUCTS At chocoMe we don’t limit our experiments to new flavours, we are also interested in aesthetics. In 2010 we introduced our chocolate bars with an unconventional product size and ratio, and we started rolling in 2013 as we introduced the Raffinée product line. In 2014 we returned to angular shapes, and created the palm-sized Carré brand. 2015 brings a completely different form to the chocoMe selection, the curved and prismatic creations we call the VOILÉ family (pronounced: voálé)
Products in the VOILÉ family: Candied Spanish orange peel coated with dark chocolate and spiced with cinnamon and clove (VL101) The orange peel arrives from Spain, and we slice every piece with the utmost care between the walls of chocoMe, to provide not just an unforgettable taste, but an appearance to match as well. We spice the orange peels with a dash of clove and cinnamon to make them even more memorable. Net weight: 120g/4,23oz
Candied Spanish lemon peel coated with dark chocolate (VL102) Our characteristic 70% dark chocolate with it's intense cocoa flavour perfectly compliments the taste of the Spanish-grown lemon, without dominating it even the slightest bit. Net weight: 120g/4,23oz
Candied ginger coated with dark chocolate (VL103) The raw cocoa flavour of the Ecuadorian Arriba and African Forastero blend almost yearns after the characteristic, long lasting, but at once sharp, bitter, sweet, refreshing savoure of ginger. An unusual relish, specially made for gourmands. Net weight: 120g/4,23oz
SWEET INDULGENCE IN NEW FORM: chocoMe VOILÉ
VOILÉ, where we use a thin veil of 70% dark chocolate to envelop our three special ingredients: the orange peel arc, straight lemon slices and prismatic pieces of ginger. Completely new product, completely new technology, new machines, and for the development of this brand new product we use new base ingredients as well. After a long time of experimenting and adventuring we choose the French Cacao Barry company’s dark choclate with 70% cocoa content, which has a characteristically intensive cocoa flavour.
introducing the chocoMe Cao 70% chocolate - the unique ingredient of VoilĂŠ products The French Cacao Barry's dark choclate with 70% cocoa content has a characteristically intensive cocoa flavour. The hand picked cocoa beans that serve as the base of the chocolate has a uniquely rich aroma, due to the plantation's rich soil and perfect weather conditions. The chocolate made with these beans carry light flowery and sour tones along with the strong cocoa flavour.
The Cacao Barry has been an unquestionable expert on high-quality chocolates for 170 years - a symbol of French gastronomy - the choice of famous French chefs, experts, innovative chocolate makers and master confectioners. Their cocoa plantations are famous for their rich soil and perfect weather conditions, and the companyâ€™s collaboration with local farmers guarantees that the hand picked and manually harvested cocoa beans have a uniquely rich aroma.
OUR ENGLISH DISTRIBUTOR, Rosehill Marketing we talked with Kelemen Szabolcs managing director
Szabolcs, please introduce yourselves: when did the cooperation start, how did you meet, how many people are you working with? I met Gรกbor back at Heineken where we were working together on trade marketing projects. I served as a marketing communication specialist with the CreativePartners advertising agency were I am also one of the owners. We were on good terms afterwards, so when the time came we started working together yet again on the forming chocoMe brand. Me and the agency were mostly involved in the logo and package design processes. What did you do before chocoMe, do you have any sideprojects? 1-1,5 years after the launch of the manufactory I saw chocoMe's incredible success on the market, and I started wondering how could we help in the distribution abroad: at the time we were looking for opportunities with my coowner to make the agency stand on multiple legs, or at least have alternative sources of income. Marketing such a unique product seemed to be a good fit for us, as art and creativity is our main profile. How hard was the introduction? Did the customers accept the brand quickly? Introduction was a little bit difficult. We tried to gather as much information on the UK market as possible, building connections on the way, that's why we brought on board Kata Magyar (who happen to be a friend of our family) as she already had an extensive network of contacts. She was thrilled by the opportunity to start a foreign trade company with us, which eventually became the Rosehill Marketing Ltd. It quickly became apparent that Kata's contacts will not be enough by themselves though, and we don't stand a chance without a permanent personal presence in London. I remember it was in August, 2012 when we sent our first partner to start a market research with our products. Our main goal was to make our way into the Christmas Market and to obtain some distributors and profits on the way, if possible. At the Christmas Chocolate Festival we were a great success, we sold 2 000 bars in 2 days. Strictly speaking that was our debut moment that assured us this was a good idea.
What makes the UK marker special? Which are the most popular products? The most important aspect of the UK is that the premium confectionary market operates with lot lower prices than any other in Western Europe. This became crystal clear for us, when at an industry related conference several speakers of respectable French and Italian chocolate makers mentioned that they themselves can only market their creations for almost half the price that of their native markets. In our original business plan a classic 100g chocoMe bar would have cost a consumer price of 8-9 GBP, but the market showed us we cannot sell our products above 5 GBP even though they can be easily marketed in Switzerland or Slovakia for 9-11 EUR. To make things even more difficult, in England the VAT on chocolate products is 20% and the retailers work with a 60-80% margin. On another note in England our bestseller is the Raspberry RaffinĂŠe and the wine related and red fruit bars. The introduction of the no-sugar creations turned out to be also a good idea as we broke ground with them on a niche market, and they have an intensive following ever since. We launched the VoilĂŠs a couple of weeks ago, they already show great promise. How many employees do you have, and who else is helping you in your work? In 2013 an English gentleman, Sam took over our previous agent's responsibilities. After the IFE food industry expo we had smaller successes, but the following Specialty Food Expo in the Autumn brought incredible popularity and fame, along with lot's of retailers who are all managed by Sam presently. At the time we concentrated on delis, smaller shops in our business plan, we had warehouses on location and the webshop was operating also. The problem with this model was that it worked with a low sales volume and it was an ineffective system. Even as we sold 50-60 products regularly through each retailer, with Sam's expenses and the logistics, our costs were still not covered.
What do you focus on right now? It is very good news that in the first two month our products are much more popular than they were a year ago, we made a lot of progress in an annual perspective. The company became completely self-supporting, which strengthened our resolve and gave a huge boost in moral. The many awards - primarily the Great Taste Award - had a big influence on the trust and interest in the chocoMe products amongst our customers and retailers alike. The recognitions brought a growing interest on the wholesalers side as well, and allowed us to raise the recommended gross consumer prices to around 6 GBP. To make our operation even more effective last year we had to restructure our trading channels with Kata, and focus primarily on the wholesalers, who we supply without a local warehouse, directly from Budapest. This how Amazon came in the picture, who sell our whole portfolio under their GTA winner category. All in all I think the chocoMe came to be considered a trustworthy, high quality brand in the british trading community - thanks to our joint efforts with the manufactory. I think this is a pretty good result on the English market which is very demanding, but still price-sensitive and full of super-premium brands.
Introducing the Gere winehotel in Villány we talked with Pauli Zoltán How did you came in contact with chocoMe? How did this cooperation start? We know it's a pretty unique relationship as chocoMe makes chocolate bars and Raffinée products specially for you, with ingredients used in no other creation. It was a good long time ago when I first tasted Gábor's chocolates at a wine-themed event. At the time we already had plans for the GERE grape seed chocolates, as the cocoa bean and the ground grape seed is very similar in taste. That gave the idea to pair it with chocolate which we are still successfully doing to this day in the Mandula restaurant. The freeze-dried fruits and the other creative creations make excellent combinations with red wine. Gábor's flexibility and our shared enthusiasm brought us to the co-branded GERE-CHOCOME grape seed chocolate specialities. Would you speak a bit about the enterprise? Along winery you are also in the hospitality business. Where did the chocoMe creations show up first? Attila GERE's Winery grew to be a really complex family business by now. Standing on several legs we strive to provide the highest quality services and goods in hospitality, winery and grape production, and grape seed processing. The family credo of "Complex Gere Wine Experience" sums up a lot of things: special quality wines, the CROCUS Gere Wine Hotel & Resort premium hotel and grape and wine based vinotherapeutic services as well as the Mandula Restaurant and Wine-Bar's gourmet gasztronomic experiences. The chocoMe products raise the quality experience at the wine-bar since it opened. Who helps your work, how many people are in your team? At the hotel we work with 38 young enthusiastic colleagues. It is our special pleasure that we received the TRIPADVISOR TRAVELLERS’ CHOICE award in best service category in 2015! In the winery and at the wineyard we have another 40 people. When does the season start for you? Seems like a pretty complex job: when do you sell the most chocolates? Basically from February till December, with the Christmas holiday and the harvest as specially important periods every year. Which are the most popular chocoMe creations?
Our first creation the violet-pistachio-grape seed bar, and the grape seed-strawberry Raffinée are the most popular since the very beginning. Which are your personal chocoMe and Gere chocoMe creations? We had a couple of prototypes I really fell for. Like the grape seed-peach stone Raffinée and the almond Raffinée promises great success as that is also the restaurant's name ('mandula' meaning 'almond' in Hungarian). Let us know a little bit about you? Family, hobbies? I'm interested in a lot of things. My heart beats for the idea to bring wines, gastronomy and culture closer to our guests. Along with the GERE family business I take part in a lot of wine-gastro. You could say my profession is also my hobby, one strengthens the other, so I'm never bored. When I find the time, I like to be with my puppy. I like fast things, cars. I do speed motor racing on an amateur level.
Who was there at the birth of CHOCOME
Interview with Gyula Ebedli, chocoMe's designer Gyula, please introduce yourself in a couple of sentences - we couldn't hear a lot about you, the only times your name is mentioned are the ones where chocoMe wons an award. What do you do when not designing for us? By my education I am a enviromental and industrial designer, but this by definition foreshadows the ability to be able to tackle multiple problems in a wider spectrum, not just some profession specific ones in the world. Enviromental can mean cityscapes, public spaces, street furniture, buildings, furnitures and cars - or as the case may be packaging and graphic design. But I am currently working as a freelance interior designer. My credo is to meet the functional expectations, but to make the solutions creative and stimulating - be it package design, cars, buildings, or the back of a chocolate bar. Every artifact should be new, innovative and creative. How did you get in contact with chocoMe? We met with Gรกbor through an acquaintance and it can be linked to cars - cars as the leading force behind contemporary design are a good example how important visuality is right now. As we were traveling to a car show Gรกbor mentioned that he would like to start a handmade chocolate manufactory, and asked for my help with the packaging and presentation of the product - as design is a passion for us both no matter if it's a house, a car, a box or corporate identity. What are the greatest challenges for you regarding the brand? Compared to interior design is your job easier or harder? Interior design is a bit more complex than package design, but it also have varying challenges. We have to design packages that are functional, can be easily produced, follows the visual trends, and meets our current or some new corporate identity. What are your philosophies when starting a new project? My approach is primarily from the function side, I pay special attention when sizing up the requirements the package has to meet in an innovative way. What are your plans for the future? Can you tell us any chocoMe secrets?
We continously swap ideas, plan and design in the background so we can surprise the chocoMe fans with more and more innovation. We introduce the Easter special edition presently, but we have a lot of ideas and are already working on a new product family. Could you tell a bit more about yourself? Hobbies, family? Photography is my hobby, along with getting to know new lines of architecture, visiting car shows, designing chassis.
Virágok és virágos INTRODUCING csokoládék forgatagában
Csontos Judit who got to work at CHOCOME by fate How did you got into the chocoMe team? How long have you been working with the company? We moved to Budapest with my partner in October, 2013. After I finished unboxing our new home I took a stroll around the block to get to know our new neighbourhood. I was on my way home when I saw the showroom a couple of hundred meters from our appartment and went in. I asked if they are hiring and they did, I started the very next day. Fate and fortune. What did you do before? I tried several things before, I was a pedagogy assitant, secretary at a council, telemarketing operator, and kindergarden teacher. That's a whole array of experiences, but non of them needed as much dexterity as my current job. What is you position at chocoMe? I am a chocolate maker and a packager, which is a beautiful and creative job. I need to have great precision as well as we are making 2-4 thousand chocolates on most days, and we have to be quick, but the product has to look nice and aesthetically pleasing. Which was the most interesting creation you ever saw? For me the most interesting is the seasalt creation with red wine. It has a taste unlike any other, or anything I ever tried. Which creation is your personal favourite? My favourite is hands-down our coffee creation with cinnamon and sugar coated almonds. I could eat tons of it. Could you tell a bit more about yourself? Hobbies, family? I like attending concerts and festivals, if I find the time I read and draw.
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