It was a long time coming, but Schoc Chocolates owner and co-founder Murray Langham had a dream, and it involved, chocolate (of course), counselling, psychology and well-being. His dream turned into reality in November 1998 with the publication of his book ‘Chocoalte Therapy – Dare to Discover Your Inner Centre’ which is now published in six languages and distributed around the world. This has led to the creation of Schoc Chocolates as it is known today. Christine from Schoc Chocolates spoke to the team to tell us more about the chocolate dream and the future it holds.
How did Schoc Chocolates come about?
“As the book’s popularity grew, so too did Murray Langham’s reputation for his knowledge and passion for Chocolate, the notion began to bring the shapes and flavours described in his book to the public but not with chocolate as New Zealanders had experienced before. He wanted to push the boundaries and create unique blends of gourmet chocolate, hand in hand with self-exploration.
In December 2002, Schoc Chocolates was born. Located in Greytown in a tiny turn-of-the-century cottage on the main street, the doors opened to allow the public to fall in love with sumptuous chocolates.
In 2006, with the size of retail space in the Greytown store proving a challenge to best present the incredible selection and variety of chocolates, a significant renovation occurred which included installing a library of chocolate, using a similar theme to what can be seen at Capital Schoc. To facilitate this change, the premises were extended, and the chocolate production was moved into the new rear extension, allowing more space to supply the increased demand for Schoc Chocolate and create a separate office for Murray Langham to use.
In 2007, Murray Langham travelled to Italy to research chocolate tempering machines, to satisfy the increased demand for the products and to enable more efficient production. With much pride, the new state of the art Selmi machine arrived in Greytown, to much fanfare.
In 2010, the business had grown substantially, more and more people were asking for Schoc Chocolates to be sent to them, as they couldn’t get to Greytown. The online shop was established allowing people from far and wide to purchase their very own slice of chocolate heaven.
Schoc Chocolates was one of 85 international Chocolatier’s featured in the book “Chocolate Unwrapped”, released in 2011. Murray Langham is justifiably proud to be able to be the sole New Zealand representative in this international book.
In October 2014, Schoc Chocolates came to New Zealand’s capital, with the opening of Capital Schoc on the ground floor of “Central on Midland Park” at 31 Waring Taylor Street in the heart of the Golden Mile. You’ve never seen a more beautiful shop, amazing presentation with the unique library wall of chocolate (la bibliothèque du chocolat) with 80+ different chocolate tablets and state of the art air conditioning to keep the chocolate at the perfect temperature all year round. It’s been the perfect place to come during the hot summer days, to cool down and treat yourself to delectable chocolate delights.
Murray Langham runs workshops and seminars around the world on Chocology, the understanding of your chocolate choices on a journey of self-exploration. In Perugia, Italy at a chocolate event, the organisers built a little hospital for him to work in and explain about chocolate personalities. Murray Langham was invited to close the New York Chocolate Show and was voted “online” as the best chocolate at the show. This was achieved without Schoc Chocolates even having a stand at the show, with the public appreciation and votes coming solely based on the tastings and teachings Murray Langham gave about chocolate appreciation and his closing presentation.
With a keen interest in his teachings on chocolate, Murray Langham produced a CD about how to taste and appreciate chocolate in the right way and remove “Guilt” from the experience. The CD is available for purchase on Schoc Chocolates website.
Always the innovator and another revenue stream for the business, Murray Langham enlisted the services of a smartphone (iPhone & Android) application development business based in India, to develop the “Chocology” app to help you choose your chocolate of the day or learn about your chocolate personality. The app was launched in August 2013 on the Apple Store and GooglePlay.”
What is the current product range and variants and how do these products stand out in the market?
“Schoc Chocolate chocolate beans are sourced from Tanzania, Java, Papua New Guinea, Cuba, Ecuador, Grenada, Dominican Republic, Ghana, Trinidad, Madagascar and Sao Thome.
Chocolate from these gourmet beans contains a minimum amount of sugar added for flavour enhancement.
Ethical trading is key to the business. Importantly, all the growers are treated fairly and respectfully. Schoc believe in sustainability, improving farmer livelihoods and doing business responsibly; they would not have it any other way.
The flavourings are organic (wherever possible) and sourced locally. No extra sugar (apart from caramels) or any preservatives are added and only whole and real flavours used. The base chocolate is hand-crafted using classic techniques.
Murray Langham and his chocolatiers are true artists with the diversity and array of chocolates available to suit every occasion:
- For those just wanting the taste sensation, you can choose from the array of individually packaged tablets, boxed chocolates & truffles or purchase individual chocolates & truffles
- For those with a love of shoes and chocolate, this is the place to merge those two passions with the most beautifully made and painted shoes available
- Bagged chocolate choices such as dipped apricots, lemon slices or for the true New Zealander the delicious Pineapple bites, pineapple lumps will never be enjoyed as much once you’ve tried those bite sensations
- For special times of the year like Valentines Day, Easter, Mother’s day and Christmas there is a wide choice of beautiful themed options to choose
- For lovers of drinking chocolate, there is a great selection of Schoc Chef Schocolate for purchase, that can be used to make your very own Hot Schocolate taste sensation or used in cooking to enhance the flavours of your food. As well as Schoc Stirrers, a range of 7 flavours of individual hot chocolate serves.
With so much choice of chocolate, we needed to find an innovative way to display and categorise the tablet selections, to allow the public to more easily choose their favourite chocolate style. After much research and planning “La Bibliothèque du Chocolat” or library of chocolate was born, with over 80 different flavours to try and have “The Schoc Experience”. Selections are categorised by spiced, herbal, floral, citrus, percentages of darkness, a variety of chocolates and more.
For Murray Langham, the chocolate experience has never been just about eating or selling quality chocolate. For him, there is a much greater experience available; he has travelled New Zealand and the world, educating the public on how to better enjoy the taste sensations, rather like you do with a better understanding of a great wine. Then there is the journey of self-discovery that he has taken myriads of people on over the years by helping people understand what your chocolate taste preferences say about you and how they change over time.”
What’s new with Schoc Chocolates?
“We are excited about our new tasting tile box, featuring 6 of our popular tablet flavours, which is a great sharing box, gift or take home sampler for overseas and domestic travellers.
And our Taste Wellington Tablet is to die for. This is the one we will enter into the food awards. Murray was asked to put the taste of Wellington in a tablet. So, thinking caps on, what does Wellington Taste like, it’s a real coffee culture in Windy Wellington, so along with the sea breeze (hurricane) we combined coffee, sea salt and caramel in milk chocolate. OMG, it is delicious. According to Murray Caramel lovers are list makers, so with Parliament in the capital typical list makers the Perfect Taste of Wellington in one bite. Packaged in a hand-drawn pouch with Iconic Wellington landmarks, in yellow and black.
We have had an exciting change in the production team, with a young up and coming experienced chocolatier who loves the science of chocolate making and a six-month visit from a Brazilian Chocolatier.”
What’s in Schoc Chocolates future plans?
“We are currently looking at the Chinese market and working with an enthusiastic local team to introduce a small range with the outlook of expanding once this is established.”
Where are the products currently stocked, and are you wanting to expand?
“We produce and sell in our Greytown Premises along with our Capital Store in Waring Taylor St, Wellington.
Stockist throughout the country, from Keri Keri to Invercargill. And a very successful online store, sending product up and down the country as well as Australia and all over the world.
We handcraft gourmet chocolate which suits gourmet deli’s, high-end stores. We would love to hear from potential stockists.”