The Kako Chocolate company started from scratch in 2012 and was created to bring a new style of modern artisan chocolate onto the market. Founder Stu Jordan chatted with the team about continuing to evolve, launching a food service range and their new chocolate school App.

What is your company background, how did you start the business?

“We launched a chocolate school to teach the latest chocolate making techniques to those who have an interest in this area, and to date have had nearly 2000 people through our classes. Starting from scratch has been a real eye opener and a steep learning curve, which we are still on.”

What are the current product range and variants and how do these products stand out in the market?

“Our products are well known for their big flavours and shiny colours. Traditionally, the approach with gourmet chocolate has been enhancing the flavour notes in the chocolate with other flavours. What we do differently is use chocolate as a vehicle to carry other flavours, the opposite of the traditional approach. Our passionfruit heart, which was supplied to Wills and Kate, is a great example of this; while this is made with white chocolate, it is not all sweet. The white chocolate is simply there to provide contrast and balance to the tart passionfruit filling. As they say, chocolate is our canvas, and flavour is our art. We strive to make every individual chocolate something very special. Each flavour is built from scratch and is designed to tell a particular story. For example, our Lemon Curd has been built to express a flavour note from my own childhood, my Grandmother’s famous lemon tarts. When I taste this product, I am transported back in time, and it brings back a lot of happy memories.

All of our products are gluten-free and made only with natural ingredients. If the chocolate is called passionfruit, our customers know this contains only real passionfruit, nothing artificial. Even the colour we use on our product is new; AZO-free colours are the solution to the traditional food colouring issue. And most importantly, all our chocolate is made from ethically and fairly traded cocoa, a cause dear to our hearts.”

Has there been any recent company news?

“Kako Chocolate continues to evolve from the artisan chocolate manufacturer that it started out as. A big portion of our business nowadays is in corporate bespoke. We make one-off products for large corporates who care deeply about the quality of the gifts they give out. We work with them to create wonderful, unique products and bespoke packaging to really boost the event with funky and vibrant chocolate products. In terms of our general product range, we are just in the process of launching our food service range; foundations and finishings. This will give those in the hospitality industry access to high quality tempered chocolate discs, hollow half-spheres, cups, and a variety of cool chocolate based decorations, so pastry and dessert work can be made a little easier. This was well received at the recent Fine Food NZ show and fully launches in September.”

What are the plans for the business moving forward, is there any expansion on the horizon?

“We are very close to launching our chocolate school App, so people all over the world can learn the modern way of making artisan chocolate from their smart device. This is very exciting, as the use of this technology allows us to skip borders and put our product and brand in front of people globally without the need for exporting anything physical. In terms of our production, we are working on a new product range that we hope to launch at the Spring Gift Fair, which will be something very unique, and have a much wider reach than current artisan products.”

Where are your products currently available to buy, and are you looking at or wanting to expand your availability? If so, where would you like to see the product situated?

“We are always looking for new clients. Our focus is currently on Christmas 2016, and we have two beautiful new boxes with a fully customisable chocolate card in the middle, surrounded by six or 12 of our shiny chocolates. What is most exciting about this product is the ability for our clients to brand the card with their logo, message, or even photograph. Allowing our clients to personalise the chocolate gifts they give at Christmas is something that has not been done before. Gone are the days where personalised chocolate means those cheap little logo chocolates in compound. We use the best couvertures, and the personalised card is surrounded by our most popular filled chocolate and packaged in beautiful new boxes.”