I’m starting a new series called Meet the Maker. Here I will interview some of the owners/creators/makers of my favourite hot chocolates around the world to learn more about who they are, what they do, and why they do it! Today I’m starting with Madelaine from the wonderful Xocolatl in Melbourne, Australia. To read my recent review of the hot chocolates at Xocolatl click here.
Who are you?
My name is Madelaine Partsioglou I am the director, part owner, marketing manager, accounts manager, wholesale manager, retail manager, human resource manager, customer service manager and barista. Jack of all trades, master of none!
What kind of person are you: white, milk or dark?
This is tricky question and not straight forward to answer! Usually when I crave chocolate it is the creamy sweetness that I am after therefore it will be a high percentage milk chocolate. If it is for dessert then a dark chocolate from Madagascar is always my first pick of origins as it has subtle flavours of red berries and so there is a sweet tartness that is very pleasant.
Why not chocolate?! As one of the most desirable foods, chocolate offers many different flavours and sweetness depending on whether it is dark, milk or white chocolate. There are also the options of percentages of chocolate and off course then there is origins which will affect the flavours of the chocolates. The additional ingredients in chocolate such as the type of sugar and the type of milk (if it is a milk chocolate) which each company use that makes every block of chocolate so different! Just like coffee and wine, there is so much depth and complexity with this product – it’s always exciting and intriguing.
Tell us about Xocolatl
Our passion for chocolate was realised in 2005 when our first Xocolatl store was opened on Maling Road, Canterbury. As a family, since the very beginning, our philosophy has been to create the most superior and electic couverture products. We are a business that is dedicated in producing all sorts of chocolate products and also a café.
When creating our couverture products what excited us and keeps our passion alive is experimenting with ingredients. Whilst we are inspired by and respect tradition, we are driven by innovation. To produce unique flavour experiences for our customers, Xocolatl explores both the exotic and savoury, developing combinations that surprise the palate and generate a new perspective on what chocolate can be. Equally important is to respect the integrity of our ingredients so we use only what is fresh and of the highest quality available.
Our boutique stores are where we can share our passion for chocolate. Our store locations are currently in Kew East, Canterbury and a new location in Hawksburn.
Why did you start your business?
Dad is a brilliant artist as well as being a savvy business owner for 40 years. He had run his own business in manufacturing but then his industry went overseas in the early’00’s and resulted in him making a decision.
Either retirement (his choice) or opening another business (mum’s choice). Guess who won there!
Dad took his art skills and applied them to his second love, chocolate. Comparatively to his previous work, chocolate allowed him to be free and creative. Not only in flavour combinations but also in the details and finishes. Our work is definitely a labour of love.
What do you recommend we order if we come to visit?
If you to come in as a first time customer my recommendation would definitely be to order a hot chocolate and some chocolates to have in store. A few more chocolates to take away and a block or bar to enjoy is also a good idea for after dinner!
What would be your ultimate hot chocolate?
The ultimate hot chocolate for me depends on many things, the weather being one! For a rainy cold day one of our chilli hot chocolates is the best. The chilli hot chocolate is made with our own house made blend of chillies from Mexico. It has a warming sensation down the back of the throat instead of a burning on the lips from Asian chillies. Another pick would be the hazelnut hot chocolate, made with pure hazelnut paste is a liquidy delicious chocolate, hazelnut blend.
If I was to make one at home I would make a dark hot chocolate and spike it with Baileys!
Any tips for people wanting to make their own hot chocolate at home?
I would always recommend using a high percentage dark chocolate. I personally do not enjoy using milk or white chocolate for hot chocolates, I think it becomes too sweet. If you have a coffee machine, using a steam wand is always the best option!
What places in your city/town do you recommend a visitor visit before/after visiting your business?
Melbourne is an amazing city. Not only is the CBD a great place to get lost in shopping, culture and food. But the outer city suburbs also provide an amazing experience whether you travel 10mins out of the CBD or even an hour out of the city. I would highly recommend a trip to our wineries in the Yarra Valley where you can have wine tasting but also to sit and enjoy lunch over a beautiful view.
What is the most amount of chocolate you have eaten in a day?
Haha! Ummm this is a problem. When you are working with chocolate all the time you loose track of how much you are eating. It is ok though, I call it quality control!
There is always something brewing in the headquarters of Xocolatl! At the moment we are working very hard at our new store in Hawksburn. Very exciting!
Thanks Madelaine! To read a review of Xocolatl’s beautiful hot chocolate click here.