I’ve started 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 focused on Josefin and Kiril from the Mork in Melbourne, Australia. To read my recent review of the hot chocolates at Mork click here.
Who are you
Josefin Zernell / Kiril Shaginov Founders Mörk Chocolate and fellow chocolate makers
What kind of person are you: white, milk or dark?
We are both incredibly devoted to dark chocolate, in fact our name – Mörk – means ‘dark’ in Josefin’s native language, Swedish.
Introduce us to your business
We are a specialty hot chocolate maker based in Melbourne, Australia. We make and supply our hot chocolate blends in small batches to the specialty coffee industry around Australia and recently UK. Our aim is to make quality dark drinking chocolate an appreciated and respected beverage, over sugar dominated commercial chocolate.
Josefin is a chocolatier of 14 years, growing up in Sweden and passionate about chocolate since childhood. Kiril was a specialty coffee barista when we met, and we bonded over the excitement of both these passions. Our lives were always going to be dominated by chocolate, one way or another.
Why did you start your business?
We saw a real need for a dark drinking chocolate in the cafe culture in Melbourne and with focus on traceability, single origin beans and pure dark chocolate flavours. The drinking chocolate at the time was predominantly made with sugar and it was hard to tell any quality flavours of cacao through all that sweetness. We saw an opportunity to use our experience and creativity to make the chocolate we ourselves were missing.
What do you recommend we order if we come to visit?
I think the Campfire Hot Chocolate is the ultimate winter treat at Mörk. It is our 70% dark blend served with beechwood smoke and a house made toasted marshmallow. The subtle smoke that is released when pouring your chocolate into it, takes you out of the moment a little and often draws people back to memories spent by the fireplace or in the outdoors, almost primitive feelings and emotions from times spent around family and friends…I think it is a special moment when we can escape from a hectic day or environment through a memory evoked by our senses. This is what the campfire hot chocolate is all about, looking back at our most special moments of winter and family times. Not everyone is going to have this sensation, or share these memories, but we find that many people do. And it makes us happy.
What would be your ultimate hot chocolate?
I drink my chocolate according to mood. In the morning I enjoy a hot chocolate, always made with pure dark chocolate, a little coconut sugar or honey for sweetening and sometimes made with coconut milk or just really good quality full fat milk. Our local dairy companies are extraordinary in Melbourne for milk. In the evening I can go a little more intense, preparing a hot chocolate just dissolved in hot water for those pure intense flavours that bring out the essence of the origin cacao. But often a small cup of pure dark chocolate for me, maybe a little dollop of pure fresh cream on top.
Any tips for people wanting to make their own hot chocolate at home?
Find a really good quality drinking chocolate blend or bar of dark chocolate and make your hot chocolate strong by using a really good amount of chocolate in it to bring out all the goodness of the chocolate. Use the highest fat cow’s milk you can find, or for alternative milks, find one that doesn’t dominate the flavour of the chocolate.
What kind of chocolate do you use?
We source pure 100% cacao liquor from Venezuela, Peruvian cacao powder and coconut blossom sugar from West Java for our chocolate blends. We take traceability seriously – knowing at every step of the way what is happening to the ingredients that we are using and the people and practices involved with them. We know exactly what farmers are growing our cocoa and organic and fair practices are honoured.
We have just introduced Mörk Chocolate in London, which is exciting. We feel that there is a great culture for specialty beverages there and are just so thrilled to be part of an industry so passionate about it.
What places in your city/town do you recommend a visitor visit before/after visiting your business?
When in Melbourne, go to Ascot Vale Food Store for a breakfast you will never forget, so worth the short trek out to Ascot Vale. Lûmé is our top pick for dinner and a unique food experience, and Patricia Coffee Brewers for some skillfully made coffees right in the centre of our city. Our North Melbourne neighbour Beatrix makes the best cakes and sandwiches around, and are only 5 minutes down the road from our Mörk Chocolate Brew House.