Read more about Fabric Chocolates and their products here and here.
1. What’s your favourite family tradition during this period of the year? I love cooking together with my husband. My task is the fish soup, but I forget every year how it’s made. 😀 (traditional Hungarian recipe, part of the Christmas Eve menu – LBC)
2. The Xmas song that puts you in the mood for the holiday season? We are always listening to Phil Collins.
3. What does the Xmas period mean to your chocolate business? Luckily many people find us to get their presents. It can get stressful to get ready with everything, but it is still the best period of the year.
1. What’s your favourite family tradition during this period of the year? These questions are a bit hard for me. Since we are working with chocolate it got a bit harder to get into the Christmas spirit because we are so busy. And as Zoli used to work in pyrotechnology we still sell fireworks for New Years Eve, so it changes everything during Christmas-time too.
2. The Xmas song that puts you in the mood for the holiday season? Jingle Bells and Last Christmas, but really only for a few moments, and then we go on.
3. What does the Xmas period mean to your chocolate business? As many of our products are designed to be gifted, of course we are selling lots of those and we are happy that people choose our handmade chocolates for their Christmas presents.
1. What’s your favourite family tradition during this period of the year? Long dinners with everybody gathered around the table – the young ones more focused on the sweets and then off to play again, while the olders enjoy just sitting there and taking in the atmosphere of community.
2. The Xmas song that puts you in the mood for the holiday season? All the classics, from Bing Crosby’s White Christmas to Wham’s Last Christmas.
3. What does the Xmas period mean to your chocolate business? Xmas is of course the main season for any chocolate factory and we sell twice as much chocolate during Xmas as we do the rest of the year.
1. What’s your favourite family tradition during this period of the year? We have a little tradition that everyone finds ONE favourite sock.. to hang up on Christmas Eve and that is their Christmas stocking.
2. The Xmas song that puts you in the mood for the holiday season? Favourite Christmas song… well that’s a tie between Fairy tale of New York or White Christmas from the Home Alone soundtrack. It’s our fav Christmas movie.
3. What does the Xmas period mean to your chocolate business? Christmas means round the clock chocolate because it’s the most wonderful time of the year! 😉
Read my previous blog posts about Harrer here and here.
1. What’s your favourite family tradition during this period of the year? For many years now, on 24 December Karl gets up very early in the morning to go back to his hometown Mattersburg in Austria. Christmas starts there for him with breakfast on the main square among family. And more importantly, he brings back home the lights of Betlehem.
2. The Xmas song that puts you in the mood for the holiday season? I cannot start decorating the Christmas tree without listening to Bojtorján band’s song “A mai nap” (This day) and of course Christmas Eve is not complete without “Stille Nacht” (Silent Night).
3. What does the Xmas period mean to your chocolate business? The period before Christmas is probably the busiest for a pastry shop, but also full of love because we can watch the children joyfully eating their chocolate Santas and the happiness in the eyes of those who got our products as gifts for Christmas. Christmas Eve and Christmas Day is spent among family, these are the only days in the year when we are closed for business.
1. What’s your favourite family tradition during this period of the year? We unintentionally have accumulated a few family traditions around this time of year, from picking out and cutting down a fresh Christmas tree together, to dads own creation special cocktail on Christmas morning. However my favourite tradition is our newest one of making and decorating gingerbread people. To be honest though, we tend to hugely over decorate them to a point where they are almost inedible but for that hour or two on Christmas eve all 5 of us come together as a family, huddled round a table to mess about and have fun. – (I have attached a photo of our obscene creations)
2. The Xmas song that puts you in the mood for the holiday season? A difficult choice, it is a close call between Shakin Stevens and Paul McCartney, but I think it is Paul McCartney’s ‘Wonderful Christmas Time’ that wins out. My brother used this song in one of his very early short films he made He filmed people ‘de-stress’ during Christmas by getting them to smash up toys with a hammer. It was funny to watch, and amazingly did actually make people much happier. Always reminds me of Christmas.
3. What does the Xmas period mean to your chocolate business? Early mornings and late nights with the daily grind 🙂 But it also means a time for me to express a more creative side developing Christmas products such as hand decorated santas, snowmen, filled chocolates and limited edition flavours. Plus it means Christmas markets and I enjoy decorating our chocolate market stand with lights and trees making it very festive and stand out.
You can read more about James’ zero waste chocolate business and lifestlye here.
Wow, we’ve made it! It’s the 1st December and we can finally reveal the first chocolate maker featured within the Taste. Better. Chocolate. Advent Calendar. Each day, I will give you a little more details about the maker of the day including a quick 3-questions mini interview related to Christmas.
Josef Zotter is a well-known figure among craft chocolate makers as he started his business over 30 years ago in Austria. Visiting his factory really makes you feel like you are in a Willy Wonka movie. Transparency, ethical and environment-friendly approach to chocolate making, creative, bold and unusual flavour combinations.
Still, I choose this 65% dark blend to show you that behind all that crazy flavour rollercoaster that Zotter provides through their product range, they are mastering the basics just as well.
What’s your favourite family tradition during this period of the year?
Baking small biscuits together with my family, as we only do it for christmas and therefore it is really special to me.
The Xmas song that puts you in the mood for the holiday season?
To be honest, I don’t really like christmas songs, because they are everywhere during this time of the year and they get annoying quickly. However, if I’d have to choose one, I’d say it is „Little Drummer Boy“ in the version of Pentatonix (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qJ_MGWio-vc)
What does the Xmas period mean to your chocolate business?
Christmas is the most busiest time for us, which of course makes me very happy.
When I was thinking about the design elements of the advent calendar, I wanted something natural and minimalist. It was a true lightbulb moment when snowflakes came into my mind and I remembered that there aren’t any identical snowflakes, every single snowflake is different. ❄
I thought that this helps me show that craft chocolates are unique too, you can’t find identical bars even made by the same maker or from the same beans. There are so many variables along the way and that’s all the beauty of it. I like to embrace the diversity of flavours and textures and only expect consistency from makers in terms of quality of ingredients used, quality of processing but not a consistent flavour. . I particularly like how the screen-printing and white digital printing appear on the kraft paper and the cardboard lid. The touch of red from the ribbon gives it the festive feel and a pop of colour.
Here I wanted to create a sort of blank (neutral and natural) canvas for the wonderfully diverse (and colourful) chocolates to shine through. So from the outside you have a minimalist, natural look, and as you open it, you’ll get a confetti of colours, flavours and textures.
I knew all that folding, hole-punching, cutting, ribboning, filling, packing will be so so worth it! I can safely say that I touched every single sachet, in every single box. I had a very limited starting budget, but more importantly I wanted the design to reflect the chocolates inside. Craft chocolates, handmade, small batch chocolates. It was so natural to create a handmade box for them. Wish I was as quick as on these videos (4*faster). 😄
Day 2 of #meetthemakerweek is about inspiration for the product. I’ve always loved having an advent calendar. First, of course there were the cheap supermarket ones with tiny milk chocolate shapes, this was the standard for many many years. ✨
Then, especially since I was in a relationship, we created custom-made calendars for each other with my (now) husband. I remember one year, I got a calendar with origami folded pockets, each with a short quote from the Game of Thrones books and a chocolate from Thornton’s. ✨
Later I had one with only Niederegger marzipan squares. I also created calendars for him, sometimes with chocolate, sometimes with fun activities. ✨ This red-white-green crochet calendar was also handmade by me in 2014. I wanted something that we can keep and refill each year with whatever we come up with. ✨
And in 2015, I quite frankly fell down the craft chocolate rabbit-hole 😄. Starting in Belgium, where we spent 9 months, then coming back to the UK and attending as many chocolate fairs as possible, plus a short trip to Switzerland, and my stash just got to an unmanageable size (still happening 🙄). And it was just so natural to dig into it and fill up the calendar with some of those bars. I loved it! Every evening we sat down, opened the little foiled pieces and tried to guess what they were. I posted them here on IG and many people loved the idea, some started their own versions too. And since then, I just kept doing this each year. ✨
I was browsing to see if any bigger company had done something like this, but I couldn’t find any. So after launching my little retail business I took a big step by starting to work on this dream project in January 2018.