Ballarat chocolatier Jade Davidson knows good chocolate.
The mother-of-two has studied the sweet stuff in Melbourne, the United Kingdom, Switzerland and Costa Rica.
Jade has travelled the world visiting chocolate shops and factories across Europe, America and New Zealand plus plantations in Vietnam and Hawaii.
This year, she launched her own venture, Lucky and James
, through which she handmakes and sells good, simple, delicious, quality chocolate.
“It is such a delight to share my love of chocolate with people and it brings me immeasurable happiness to hear that they enjoy it," Jade said.
What's the story behind Lucky and James?
"I've been working in chocolate for over 12 years, during which I've worked for a variety of chocolate companies in Melbourne (Cacao Fine Chocolates, Koko Black and Monsieur Truffe) and I've always secretly had the plan to start something of my own in the back of my mind.
My husband Lachie, first baby and I moved to Ballarat from Melbourne two-and-a-half years ago and I quickly noticed how kind and incredibly supportive Ballarat was to local businesses. I knew I had to move quickly if I wanted to be the first chocolatier in Ballarat and after the slight delay of a second baby, here we are!
And why the name Lucky and James? When Lachie and I were in New York once, we ordered coffees and they took our names. They then started yelling out 'Lucky and James?' and, after quite a while, we realised they meant us and I thought 'hey, that could be a strong name one day!'. I wrote it down in my phone and when I decided to go into business, I knew that was the name."
Take us through the chocolate-making process process...
"Chocolate-making involves melting down couverture chocolate, adding inclusions, tempering and molding into bars.
I use chocolate from Felchlin, a premium couverture from Switzerland. For the inclusions, all are sourced locally but come from both Australia and overseas, the exceptions being the honeycomb and cookies which I make myself."
And your product range?
"I tried to keep things simple and delicious, with old favourites made using quality ingredients. Four of the varieties are available in both milk and dark – fruit & nut, honeycomb, rocky road, and cinnamon pecan crunch. The extra bar is the classic white chocolate cookies & cream."
Has there been a crowd-favourite so far?
"It's definitely a tie between rocky road and cookies & cream!"
What are your short-term and long-term goals for the business?
"My short-term goals are to have a successful Christmas and have as many Lucky and James bars given as gifts as possible!
My long-term goals would have to be to join Ballarat's long register of incredible local businesses. I've been so lucky to receive so much support and mentorship from the community and I'm incredibly grateful for it. We are so lucky to live in a town with so much creativity, skill and passion for local endeavours."
Where can people purchase Lucky and James chocolate?
"Chocolate lovers can head to luckyandjames.com.au
and orders will either be express posted or local pickup is available if you live in Ballarat."
Images: Her Golden Point Photography