Do you love chocolate?
Well, today on Industry Friends, we are so excited to be featuring CHOCOLATE MASTER, Heather Oliveira, owner and chocolatier at Cocoa & Honey. I had a lot of fun shooting with Heather and her chocolates, and ate A LOT of chocolate in the process. Seriously THE BEST chocolates I have ever tasted, and they are made locally, which makes them even better on so many levels!
If you need chocolates for your bridal shower, thank you gifts, WEDDING FAVOURS, or a stash for a snuggly night in watching the Notebook, you need to get in touch with Heather, she is incredible!
Scroll through Heather’s portraits, and delicious chocolate photos below to read all about Cocoa & Honey, and most importantly, how to get your hands on her delicious handmade gems!
Click HERE to make your way to Cocoa & Honey’s yummy ETSY Shop to see what amazing treats she can make for you, and click these social media links to follow Cocoa & Honey on FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAM, TWITTER & PINTEREST.
Give us a little history Cocoa & Honey? Do you have a store front?
Cocoa and Honey started in June 2011. Initially with a few listings in my etsy shop followed by my first Halifax Crafter’s show. I now sell regularly at the Historic Farmer’s Market in Brewery Square and sell to retail stores in Halifax. Special events like the Halifax Crafter’s Shows, and at the One of a Kind show in Toronto. Cocoa and Honey is also available online through my Etsy shop.
What made you decide to pursue a career in chocolate making?
While attending Pastry school in Vancouver we had 3 weeks dedicated to chocolate making. I was hooked. The process of making chocolate is simple, but there are many steps and stages that need care and attention. Chocolate is so versatile, it can be used in sweet or savoury applications and pairs well with so many flavours. There is something special about chocolate, when you buy special chocolates you savour them. One of the driving forces behind making chocolate is the expression on the faces of my customers. They light up and get excited. When they taste the chocolate there is often a little moment of bliss, they close there eyes and take a little moment for themselves.
How did you get your name out there, find clients, and hone your craft?
The first real exhibition of my wares was at the Halifax Crafter’s Society Winter Show. I was still working full time and took a few days off to buy supplies, make chocolate and sell at the show. The first day I sold out 2 hours before closing. That was incredible, and that night I didn’t get any sleep, I just made as much chocolate as I could for the next day.
Word of mouth was the only advertising I did for the first year. Once I started on social media things really started to pick up, so much so that I was able to leave my full time job and pursue Cocoa and Honey as my full time career.
Honing my craft is something I am still doing on a daily basis. The world of food is such an exciting place to be right now, there are so many innovative professionals out there and the community is becoming an open place where sharing techniques and skills is the norm. Everyone is coming together to create better food that comes from healthy sustainable sources and practices. I do a lot of research to keep up to date with trends in chocolate, new techniques and smarter ways to work. Some of that research includes buying lots of chocolate and tasting it, hard work!
Where do you draw your inspiration from when making your creations?
My inspiration comes from many places, nostalgic memories from my childhood, the bounty we have here in Nova Scotia, traditional French and Swiss flavours, and wandering through specialty shops and wondering if I can use this or that in chocolate. Nova Scotia is my favourite inspiration though, I try to source as many ingredients as possible from our province and really love the connections and relationships I have been able to form with the farmer’s at the market.
How can chocolates be incorporated into a couple’s wedding?
One of my favourite brides ordered a heart shapped box full of her favourite chocolates for herself and her new husband to share on their wedding night. I don’t think he got many of chose chocolates!
Weding favours are the most popular way of incorporating some chocolate into their wedding. I have worked with couples to create custom designed boxes and flavours so that they can have something special to offer their guests. Chocolate tables are also a very special way to incorporate chocolates into a wedding. Think of what a show stopper a table filled with truffles, cookies, candy bars and chocolate sculptures would be!
What do you love most about making chocolate?
My favourite part of making chocolate is the amazing versatility of chocolate. Every week I can make something new and exciting incorporating new flavours or techniques.
Do you ship your products to other parts of the Canada and the US for weddings?
Through my etsy shop I can ship all across Canada and the United States.
What are your favourite wedding trends, colours and themes for the upcoming 2015 season?
I’m in love with the more natural, whimsical approach to weddings, with an emphasis on simple well designed features like lovely flowers, soft lighting and beautiful natural colours. The burgundy and plums that have been popping up are my favourite, especially when paired with soft whites, creams and a little natural woods.
Flower crown hand made by the adorable OH DINA!